NBA Playoff Picks for Friday, April 21, 2023

By Betmaker Team

Don’t fix what isn’t broken. That’s one of the most important maxims you can follow in life, and it works in gambling too. If you are betting something that is making money, it’s rather silly to suddenly go the other way unless you have a good reason to change it up. That’s why I’m going to continue to ride the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets even though they are on the road for the next two games.


Along those lines, I again won money by backing the Denver Nuggets, as they covered the NBA betting line by a half-point in Game 2. That made Wednesday a 2-0 day as I also backed the Memphis Grizzlies at home against the Los Angeles Lakers as an underdog by the basketball betting odds. Although LeBron James played well in that game, his teammates largely struggled.


NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook


Boston Celtics -5 at Atlanta Hawks


This series has the most potential to be a 4-0 sweep. Boston has been dominant, as the Celtics are clearly a much better team than the Atlanta Hawks, and this is a terrible matchup for Atlanta. Trae Young is averaging 20.0 PPG and 7.0 APG, but he has ben even less effective than he was during the regular season. Young is making just 35% of his field goals and 23.1% of his threes. He is unable to get some of the same calls he did during the regular season too.


We’ve seen De’Andre Hunter and John Collins disappear for long stretches too. Hunter is also making just 23.1% of his threes, while Collins is shooting under 39% from the floor. That’s something the Hawks can’t afford since they don’t have a lot of talent on the bench.


Dejounte Muray and Bogdan Bogdanovic are the only two players for Atlanta that are keeping the Hawks in this series. Murray is averaging 26.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, and 6.0 APG while leading the team in steals, and he is shooting a decent clip from the floor. Meanwhile, Bogdanovic is hitting 42.9% of his threes.



Boston has a ton of depth and matches up very well with Atlanta. The Celtics can take advantage of the Hawks lack of size and their dependence on their backcourt in ways that other teams are unable to when they square off. Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon are both excellent perimeter defenders, and that has limited what the Hawks can do on offense.


The Celtics are thriving on the offensive end too. Everyone is making at least 45.5% of their field goals save Brogdon, and Boston is knocking down 42.4% of its threes through two games. Jayson Tatum is averaging a double-double with 27.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG, while Derrick White has been extremely efficient as the second leading scorer. As long as that continues, Boston should roll despite playing in Atlanta for Game 3.


Denver Nuggets -2.5 at Minnesota Timberwolves


Jamal Murray has made his presence felt after missing out on the postseason last year. Murray exploded for 40 points in Game 2 to lead the Denver Nuggets past the Minnesota Timberwolves. Minnesota had no real answer for Denver’s superstar guard, and it won’t be easy for the T-Wolves to slow him down even with the series shifting to the Twin Cities.


Two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic hasn’t even been at his best in this series. Jokic is averaging just 20.0 PPG, 11.5 RPG, and 7.5 APG, and he hasn’t been much of a perimeter threat. That’s a scary proposition because if Jokic can turn it on, the Nuggets should cruise the rest of the way.


Minnesota’s top scorer has been the young Anthony Edwards, and he is playing great. Edwards is averaging 29.5 PPG while making 52.6% of field goals and 50% of his threes. He doesn’t do much else yet, but he doesn’t need to as long as he keeps shooting that well.


Meanwhile, the combination of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns continues to underwhelm on both offense and defense. Towns has actually been better without Gobert on the court, and the negative synergy between the two should lead to an early exit for the T-Wolves.