NBA Playoff Picks for Friday, April 28, 2023

By Betmaker Team

There are only three active first round series in the NBA Playoffs after Wednesday’s crowded slate. The New York Knicks are through to the second round for just the second time in the last two decades after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 106-95 in Game 5. They will be taking on the Miami Heat in the second round starting on Sunday after they pulled off one of the biggest first-round upsets in the modern era. Miami knocked off the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks in five games on the strength of two extraordinary performances from Jimmy Butler. He had 56 points in Game 4 and 42 points in Game 5, and that has some people who are holding Heat tickets to win the NBA title at over 200-1 by the NBA futures odds over the moon.


New York and Miami are joining Philadelphia, Denver, and Phoenix as series winners. However, the Knicks and Heat were both underdogs to win their series by the NBA betting odds, while the Sixers, Nuggets, and Suns were all favored.


That means there are three remaining first-round series in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The Boston Celtics are still enormous favorites over the Atlanta Hawks and are expected to close out their opponents in Game 6 on Thursday night. We are likely to see two more “upsets” though as the Golden State Warriors are up 3-2 on the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers are up 3-2 on the Memphis Grizzlies.


NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook


Golden State Warriors (-7) vs. Sacramento Kings


If you’ve been following this column daily, you know that I’ve been backing the Sacramento Kings since the start of this series. Sacramento got off to a great start after taking a 2-0 lead, but the Kings have since lost three straight and it looks like they are done at this point. De’Aaron Fox has been their best player, but he broke his finger prior to Game 5, and that significantly hampered his shooting. Fox made just 36% of his field goals and 30% of his threes on Wednesday night, but he still led the Kings with 24 points.


It's unfortunate that no one else has stepped up for the most exciting team Sacramento has fielded in two decades. Kevin Huerter has disappeared for long stretches, and Malik Monk has gone cold after starting off strong in the first two games against Golden State. Despite averaging a double-double in this series, big man Domantas Sabonis has been pretty disappointing too. He has yet to make a three, depriving the Kings of his ability to stretch the floor, and his assists have dropped from 7.3 APG to 4.4 APG while his turnovers have risen from 2.9 TO to 4.0 TO.


Golden State is set to put this series to bed. The Warriors have taken Sacramento’s best punch, and they have rallied to win three straight games. Their Game 5 victory on the road was a dagger, especially considering Fox’s injury, and the Kings will be somewhat flat in Game 6 on Friday night.


Bet-Rivers-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-53-PM-4Memphis Grizzlies (+4.5) at Los Angeles Lakers


I’m going to continue rolling with the Memphis Grizzlies in this series even though they are down 3-2. Memphis has been a tough matchup for LA even with a banged-up Ja Morant, and LeBron James has needed to reach deep into his bag of tricks to lead the Lakers to wins. James was not at his best in Game 5 with just 15 points and five turnovers, and the Lakers’ bench performed poorly.


Meanwhile Morant exploded for 31 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists in a 17-point win. Desmond Bane was awesome too with 33 points, and the only player who had a letdown game was Dillon Brooks with just eight points on 3 of 15 shooting from the floor.


A lot of bettors will jump on the Lakers as a moderate favorite by the basketball betting line on Friday night at home, but the Grizzlies are a good enough team to force a Game 7. Morant has dug deep and is playing at a high level, while the Lakers are largely faltering outside of LBJ.