NBA Best Bets for Tuesday, May 14th

Welcome to my daily column of NBA best bets! Here at VSiN we have a ton of NBA content daily, so make sure to keep tabs on Zach Cohen who is doing an excellent job handicapping the league on a daily basis.

NBA Best Bets

At this point my read on the NBA is non-existent. In both games tonight I’ve got both futures and series prices at stake, so I’ll be sitting back and rooting for the best outcome on those.


Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks (-3, 217)

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New York is clearly taxed at this point of the series, but they did get some much needed rest over the weekend in the blowout loss in Indiana. Jalen Brunson played only 31 minutes, Josh Hart logged 24 minutes and no other starter played more than 32 minutes. Couple that with a day off and this team is coming off the most rest it has seen in weeks.

Still, the market isn’t buying into that angle. This number has steadily gone in one direction, and that is toward the Pacers. Perhaps there will be some buyback at -1 but at the time of this publication it has not happened yet. 

The total has not seen a real move either. The consensus number is 217 which would be the lowest total of the series since Game 1 which closed 217.5 consensus.

Home teams have a +4.7 net rating at home in non-garbage time in the postseason.  New York is 4-1 SU at Madison Square Garden in this postseason, but it is only 1-4 ATS with a +2.6 net rating. This is obviously the lowest number the Knicks have laid to this point of the postseason, so bettors will have to decide whether that adjustment is accurate or too much.

Fascinating player prop angles for this contest revolve around both Pascal Siakam and Josh Hart.

Siakam was the main target for OG Anunoby’s defense when he was healthy, but Anunoby is obviously done for the foreseeable future. In the first game Anunoby missed, Siakam’s usage spiked to 29.5% and he scored 26 points, surpassing his point total prop. In Game 4 he scored only 14 points, but that contest got out of hand quickly and he played only 22 minutes. Siakam’s point total tonight is 20.5 shaded to the under, but in a tighter affair he could be a candidate to go over.

As far as Hart is concerned, his work load is going to be fascinating. He averaged 46.4 minutes per game in the first nine contests of the postseason. Hart’s insane workload has not really been accounted for by the market. He’s gone over both points and rebounds in seven contests. 

After some extended rest we could see Hart spring right back to playing over 40 minutes, but even he admitted some fatigue after the loss to Indiana on Saturday. 

Hart generally sat at the end of the first quarter and rested into the second quarter when he was starting at the tailend of the regular season. Look for those patterns today to give you an idea of what his minutes will look like, and attack some in-game props accordingly.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets (-3.5, 206.5)

It would seem the market is at odds with how to handle this pivotal Game 5 in the Western Conference. The initial move was toward Denver here, and we saw the number peak at -4.5 consensus. That number sat there for some time, but we have started to see the buyback on Minnesota.

The Nuggets were incredible in the two games on the road. It was pure ‘heart of a champion’ type stuff. But, is it sustainable?

Denver did its thing from the least efficient area of the floor: mid-range. In the two games in Minnesota, the Nuggets went a combined 34-of-61 (55.7%) on mid-range attempts. The defending champions made tough shot after tough shot, and eventually tied the series. Denver was the fourth-most efficient mid-range shooting team in the regular season (47.2%) but the rate at which they knocking those shots down is not generally sustainable.

Minnesota must also figure out what to do defensively. 

(Those who believe Rudy Gobert is at fault for the Timberwolves’ woes in this series might want to stop reading)

Gobert needs to see a minutes increase tonight, and he should probably match Jokic’s rotations. The Timberwolves’ center was a team-best +9 in the loss to the Nuggets on Sunday. With him on the floor in this series Minnesota has a +3.4 net rating and a 114.0 defensive rating.

The oft-desired Naz Reid sports a -17.5 net rating in his time on the floor in this series, and the Timberwolves allow 115.8 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor. He has the second-worst plus-minus in this series for Minnesota (-32), surpassed only by Nickeil Alexander-Walker (-49). It seemed that Chris Finch made note of Reid’s struggles on Sunday, as he did not see the floor for a minute in the fourth quarter. 

As someone who has supported Minnesota frequently, I believe Finch can make the proper adjustments and get the Timberwolves back on track. I agree with the market’s support of Minnesota here, but given my prior investments and current inaccuracies when evaluating these contests, I’ll be rooting on from the sidelines.

Record: 122-128-3 | Units: -16.18