NBA Playoff Picks for Sunday, April 16, 2023

By Betmaker Team

Currently, we only know two of the games on Sunday as we await the results of Friday’s games to determine the No. 8 seeds in the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. However, there is an angle I like in both the known matchups as the Los Angeles Lakers are seriously overrated heading into their series with the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Phoenix Suns should be primed to steamroll the Los Angeles Clippers starting with Game 1 on Sunday.


NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook


Memphis Grizzlies (-3.5) vs. Los Angeles Lakers


The Memphis Grizzlies are definitely a bit unfortunate to have to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Memphis finished as the second-best team in the Western Conference in the regular season, but the Grizz will have to face a formidable tandem in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. We saw James and Davis turn it on at the end of the year, and that has led to plenty of people hopping aboard the Lakers’ bandwagon.


This is a flawed Lakers’ team though. There isn’t a real third option behind James and Davis as D’Angelo Russell has shown he doesn’t have what it takes to step up when it matters. Additionally, we have not seen James play good defense this year. That nearly cost the team in the Play-In Tournament against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he might finally be feeling his age. James is in his 19th season in the NBA and will turn 39 in December, and he routinely takes plays off on defense.


Meanwhile, this Memphis team is hungry and plays great defense. Jaren Jackson Jr. is the favorite by the NBA player futures odds to be named NBA Defensive Player of the Year as his shot blocking and shot diversion numbers are incredible. JJJ is averaging 3.0 BPG despite playing just 28.4 MPG, and he has the size and length to deter both James and Davis.


The Grizzlies’ guards should have a field day against the Lakers’ backcourt too. Ja Morant and Desmond Bane have been great this season, and they will be able to get past the Lakers’ guards and get to the rim with consistency. This line should be five or even higher, and I will jump at the chance to take the undervalued Grizzlies at a great number per the NBA betting line.


Bet-Rivers-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-53-PM-4Phoenix Suns (-7) vs. Los Angeles Clippers


When will we learn that super teams by and large don’t work out in the NBA? The Los Angeles Clippers were supposed to be a serious contender for several years once they added Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but the franchise is still looking to win its first conference championship despite being a team for over five decades. George is currently dealing with a knee injury and will miss at least the first few games of this first-round series, putting a lot of pressure on Leonard to beat Phoenix.


Leonard is finally playing at an elite level again after suffering a major injury last season. The two-time NBA Finals MVP is averaging 23.8 PPG and 6.5 RPG while making over 51% of his field goals, and he can still lock down the other team’s best player. However, the Clips only have one Leonard, while the Suns might have the most talented team in the league.


Adding Kevin Durant may have put Phoenix over the top in the Western Conference. New owner Mat Ishbia didn’t waste any time when he had the opportunity to acquire Durant, dealing three players and four unprotected first-round picks to the Brooklyn Nets in order to acquire him on the first day of his ownership. That gives the Suns four incredible scoring options with Chris Paul dishing to Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.


There is real concern over how these players will come together in a short stretch, but Durant is one of the best superstars on this front. He is mindful of his place, and he will slot into whatever role he needs to in order for Phoenix to succeed. For the Clippers to have any chance in this series, George needs to return ASAP and Russell Westbrook needs to rediscover his old form.