NBA Playoffs: Daily best bets, odds and predictions for Saturday, May 6th

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Welcome to your source of daily analysis of the NBA Playoffs! Here we will break down each game, discuss betting angles, give predictions and more. For more discussion make sure to check out our daily NBA betting podcast: Hardwood Handicappers.

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New York Knicks at Miami Heat (-3, 208)

Game 3: Series tied 1-1

It’s nearly impossible to act on anything here until the status of Jimmy Butler is known. Butler reportedly worked out with the team on Friday, but the details of that workout are unknown. Head coach Erik Spoelstra told the media of that reported workout, “Jimmy, he’s working. We’ll see.”

There’s hardly enough information to feel comfortable betting either way here, because Butler’s injury shapes almost everything. The point spread will shift based on his status, as will player props for Miami players. It’s a boring answer, but the way to attack this is to wait for information.

Despite the unknowns, there are some constants to watch as we head into this game today. The first, is the Heat’s dominance in the restricted area. Through two games Miami is 31-of-42 (73.8%) at the rim and has drawn nine shooting fouls. The Heat have done a great job using Bam Adebayo along the perimeter, forcing Mitchell Robinson to guard away from the rim. It has opened up the floor through two games, and if Butler is back the Heat can exploit that in a big way.

New York has also struggled to generate turnovers on defense. The Knicks finished 25th in defensive turnover rate (12.9%) in the regular season, and that limited the transition opportunities this team had. That has been magnified in this series, as the Heat have turned the ball over on only 8.7% of their offensive possessions. As a result, New York is averaging just 110.0 points per 100 plays in transition overall and 1.2 per play off steals, both of which are the lowest transition marks of the four Miami opponents in the postseason.

If Butler plays this number will close where it is now, and if Butler is not available this will be a near pick line. The market is clearly expecting Butler to play, and if he does I believe Miami has enough advantages here to not only take a series lead, but cover the number.

Lean: Heat (-4)

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers (-2, 228.5)

Game 3: Series tied 1-1

Golden State might have stumbled onto something when it started JaMychal Green on Thursday night. Green is a career 36.8% 3-point shooter, and his presence at power forward completely spread out Los Angeles’ defense. That, combined with Stephen Curry running the offense opened up the offense for the Warriors. Curry totaled 12 assists while constantly dealing with double-teams, and that led to 18 wide-open 3-point attempts for Golden State, on which they shot 44.4%, according to the NBA tracking data. Now, the onus is on Los Angeles to adjust, and I am not sure what their adjustment exactly is.

The Lakers have hit just 28.8% of their 3-point attempts from beyond the arc, and an abysmal 33.3% of their corner 3-pointers. Los Angeles could try to adjust its starting lineup, but there is no real adjustment to make. Rui Hachimura would be the candidate to add shooting to their main group, but he is not replacing Anthony Davis or LeBron James, he cannot replace Jarred Vanderbilt and both D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves are their two most consistent shooters. That just leaves the classic adjustment of playing better, which Davis certainly can do.

Davis took only 11 attempts in the loss on Thursday, and was non-existent in multiple facets. It follows a troubling trend of inconsistent performances for the Lakers’ best player. It could certainly be as easy as that, but Los Angeles is up against it in multiple categories here.

The Lakers have also struggled to defend in transition through two games of this series, allowing the Warriors to average 145.0 points per 100 plays in transition off live rebounds and 144.4 overall. Shooting and transition offense are going to be there consistently for Golden State throughout the series.

This line has been slowly moving in Los Angeles’ direction since opening, which is likely the market playing the zig-zag now that this series is back in SoCal and the Lakers are off a loss. However, I think the Warriors have figured out how to handle the size problem their opponent provides.

Best Bet: Warriors ML (+135)