Let's have a look at the latest NBA Playoffs picks. With the Conference Finals starting next week, can the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns close out their series with the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks, respectively? At least one they will this Thursday. For our money, we like the NBA odds on the two underdogs.
We are this close to the Conference Finals as the NBA Playoffs' Conference Semi-Finals draws to a close. Two games this Thursday could see two teams move on: the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns, both up 3-2 over the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks, respectively. However, we're banking on only one of them to win as underdogs could win both matchups tonight per the NBA online betting odds.
NBA 2022 Playoff Picks: Underdogs Roar
The act of picking underdogs to win is usually not that bold, especially when the remaining eight NBA teams are all elite. But combining both the Heat-Sixers and Suns-Mavericks series, underdogs have gone 1-9 straight-up and 2-8 against the spread (ATS). So why is Game 6 any different? We nailed most of our NBA playoff picks from last week, so we're confident with our contrarian picks here.
|Away Team||Home Team|
|Boston Celtics +2.5||-110||-110||Milwaukee Bucks -2.5|
|Boston Celtics ML||+117||-142||Milwaukee Bucks ML|
|Away Team||Home Team|
|Memphis Grizzlies -2||-110||-110||Miami Heat +2|
|Memphis Grizzlies ML||-132||+109||Miami Heat ML|
Heat Cook The Sixers For Good
The Miami Heat got cooked by James Harden in Game 4. The former MVP had a vintage performance as he lit up Miami for 31 points and nine assists while hitting 6-of-10 3s. In Game 5, the Heat were the ones burning Harden and the Sixers. Joel Embiid also looked and played hurt as the team could not keep up with Miami.
Even in their return to the safe confines of the Wells Fargo Center, the Sixers have run out of gas. The Heat will continue to grind down the Sixers and beat them. Jimmy Butler, who scored 40 points in the Game 4 loss, has been averaging 26.6 points, 7.4 boards, and 5.8 assists with a 57.4 effective field goal rate.
The Heat may only be 1-5 in their last six trips to Philadelphia. But given the body language of Embiid and Harden, this is a team that is ready to fold. We don't expect any heroics from the duo, as Miami should be able to contain them long enough to win as underdogs and return to the Conference Finals.
Heat and Sixers Put the "Off" in Playoff Basketball
The total has gone back-and-forth between going under and over. However, we expect a more grueling Game 6 here as Miami looks to close Philadelphia aggressively while a hobbled Embiid and a fractured Harden struggled to put points on the board. The Sixers will not bend over easily, though, and will also play defense. This team allows the sixth-fewest points at home.
In three of the five games in this series, at least one team has failed to hit the century mark in scoring. It's also not a coincidence that the total has gone under seven times in these teams' last 10 matchups. All signs point to a Game 6 that will be tough to watch as a fan.
Mavericks Have A Secret Weapon Against The Suns
And his name is... Scott Foster. The much-maligned NBA referee has conspicuously officiated 14 straight losses for Phoenix Suns' All-Star guard Chris Paul. It has become quite a phenomenon that every time Foster is in, it's a guaranteed loss for Paul's team. But could Phoenix overcome the Foster-Paul rivalry and edge the Dallas Mavericks as the betting odds indicate?
The NBA if Chris Paul talks about the refs in the press conference pic.twitter.com/3frN35UmhJ
— Kofie (@Kofie) May 8, 2022
Phoenix is 12-2 against Dallas in its last 14 games. In fact, the two wins from the Mavericks in this series represent the first time Luka Doncic has beaten Chris Paul with the Suns. Overall, Paul is 10-3 against Doncic. The Suns are also 26-7 as a road favorite this season, which is the third-best record among playoff teams.
However, Doncic has balled out against Phoenix. The Slovenian superstar has put up 32 points, 9.6 boards, and 7.4 assists while shooting 46.4 percent from the field. In Dallas's Game 4 victory, the Mavericks were able to throw the Suns out of their game. Dallas has allowed the fewest points at home, and with Paul distracted by his beef with Foster, the Mavericks will cause another upset.
Suns and Mavericks Stay Defensive
For three straight games, the total has gone under the total, which makes it six of the last eight games the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks have faced each other. It's not a surprise as the methodical and possession-driven style of play from both teams can lead to a slower pace.
On the Mavericks' side, this team has been notorious for glacial-paced games hence why 61.5 percent of its games (35-56-2) have gone under, which leads the NBA. This is even more pronounced when Dallas is a home underdog as 10 of their 13 games have cashed the "under" bet. With their season on the line, expect Dallas to ramp up the defensive intensity with the total continuing to stay under.
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