The 2023-24 NBA regular season is over and we have turned the page to the NBA Playoffs. Throughout the postseason, Jonathan Von Tobel will continue to provide you with his exceptional coverage of the greatest league in the world. Just click here for all of his content. However, all of my picks will be featured in this daily column, which will combine my NBA best bets and NBA player props. So, keep reading to find out how I’m playing the playoff games on Tuesday, May 21st. Also, check out our NBA Playoffs Betting Hub for all of our series previews and additional postseason content.

We also put together an NBA Playoffs Betting Primer with in-depth analysis for everything you’ll see the next couple of weeks.

 

MORE: Check out our Pro Picks page for everything our experts have on May 21

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NBA Best Bets Today – May 21

Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics – 8:00 pm ET

There’s always going to be concern about how a team will look after a Game 7, and that’s why a lot of people will bet on the Celtics to cover against the Pacers. But I’m more interested in playing the Over. I think that Indiana’s tired legs will be more likely to impact the team on the defensive end, where the group was just 23rd in the league in adjusted defensive rating during the regular season.

The Celtics might take a little time to get hot after having had so much time to rest after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they’ll be tough to stop once they get going. Jayson Tatum will especially be looking forward to this series. He torched the Pacers during the regular season. But realistically, everybody will have chances to get going against this Pacers team in Game 1. But I also like Indiana to do its part in helping Over bettors here.

The Celtics are just going to be in trouble guarding the Pacers frontcourt without Kristaps Porzingis. Pascal Siakam and Myles Turner will be tough covers for Al Horford or Luke Kornet, and one of the two Pacers will have a big size advantage over one of the Celtics wings. On top of that, Tyrese Haliburton looked completely healthy against the New York Knicks, returning to the form that made him one of the best guards in the NBA in the first half of the regular season.

Of course, Boston’s backcourt is tremendous defensively, but the Pacers will try to play with pace to get Haliburton attacking a defense that isn’t set. They’ll also spam high pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop plays to try to get Haliburton a sliver of space. Rick Carlisle is one of the brightest offensive minds in the league. So, I’m not that worried about Indiana finding a way to generate looks.

All in all, I just think the Pacers will be able to make this a high-scoring series, as they were second in the league in adjusted offensive rating in the regular season and they tend to dictate play. Just look at the last series they played. Indiana sucked New York into four games that went Over the total. And the Knicks had every reason to try to slow that series down and turn it into a grindfest.

Bet: Over 220.5 (-112)

NBA Player Props Today – May 21

Indiana Pacers at Boston Celtics – 8:00 pm ET

Myles Turner was hit or miss against the Celtics during the regular season. But I’m rolling with him to make at least two 3s in Game 1. It’s just hard to overlook the fact that Turner made at least two triples in five of the seven games that Indiana played against New York last round. Turner also made at least two 3s in four of the six games in the series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The crazy thing about the series against the Knicks is that Turner’s volume really wasn’t even there. He’s just in a nice rhythm shooting the basketball and he’s unbothered by these wild road atmospheres. With that in mind, I trust him to stay hot against a Boston team that will be without Porzingis. And that should be a pretty important matchup as far as the Pacers pick-and-pop game goes. Horford isn’t quite as quick or long as Porzingis on close outs. So, if Turner is ready to let shots fly then he should be happy with the quality of looks.

Bet: Turner Over 1.5 Made 3s (-130)

Pacers vs. Celtics Series Pick

I didn’t end up doing a series preview for the conference finals, but I do have a pick here. I like the Pacers +2.5 games (+128). As mentioned earlier, I think Indiana’s offense will have some success against Boston in this series. And we should see a game or two in which the Celtics struggle to shoot or just lose focus defensively. That has been a trend with Boston, with the team throwing away Game 2 in back-to-back series. Well, the Pacers are good enough to steal more than just one game, especially when playing in Indiana. It’s also just hard to ignore the loss of Porzingis. His ability to space the floor and block shots is huge for Boston. But the reality is that this Pacers team is a little underrated, and the team was impressive against the Knicks. Meanwhile, the Celtics play with their food a little too much.

Bet: Pacers +2.5 Games (+128 – 1.5 units)

2023-24 Record: 376-405-3 (+16.72 units)