2022 NBA playoffs — Betting tips for Wednesday’s first-round matchups

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Jump ahead: Game of the night | Picks and props | Analytics edge

All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.


What you need to know for Wednesday’s playoff games

Rousing Rivalry: Can Kevin Durant surpass his point prop of 29.5 against a stingy Celtics defense? After all, he has topped this number just once in three meetings with Boston during the regular season. Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart could be a smart bet for two turnovers created after producing at least two stocks in four of five meetings with Brooklyn this season. The Celtics are 24-14 against the spread when playing a team with a winning record this season, including Sunday’s thrilling last-second win. The Nets, meanwhile, are 14-6 ATS when seeking to avenge a loss to an opponent on the road.

Slick Nic: While Game 1 of the Nets-Celtics series was an instant classic with star players making play after play, Nic Claxton was also a solid contributor. Nothing he does is flashy, but on his 23rd birthday, he converted 6 of 8 shots and pulled down a team-best eight rebounds in 31 minutes. Claxton’s minutes count is encouraging against a Celtics defense without Robert Williams III. Efficiency is something we can count on for Claxton as he has made 51 of 65 shots (78.5%) over the past month. It’s not exciting, but Claxton is a live DFS play and worth a look in the various prop markets in this spot.

Bank On Boucher: With Scottie Barnes currently questionable, Chris Boucher should see an increase in usage. He put up 17 points and 8 rebounds (with a pair of blocks) in 30 minutes Monday, and a similar stat line is expected Wednesday night. He played 30 minutes 14 times during the regular season and averaged 17.2 PPG with 10.6 RPG over that span. His double-double prop is worth a look once Barnes’ status is official. Boucher’s expanded role also looks good for those playing the three-game DFS slate as well.

Collaborative Creation: With Lonzo Ball out for the season, the Bulls still don’t have a traditional creator in their rotation. Distribution duties tend to shift between several key Chicago contributors. In Game 1 against the Bucks, the Bulls saw four players post at least 10 potential assists. DeMar DeRozan led the pack with 14 potential assists in Sunday’s loss to Milwaukee. DeRozan’s assist prop currently sits at 5.5, evidence there is untapped upside in his betting prop market.

— Jim McCormick and Kyle Soppe


Game of the night

Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics
7 p.m. ET, Barclays Center, Brooklyn


Line: Celtics (-3.5)
Money line: Celtics (-160), Nets (+140)
Total: 226 points
BPI Projected Total: 219.4 points
BPI Win%: Celtics (87.4%)

Key players ruled out: Ben Simmons

Best bet: Nets ML (+140). Kevin Durant is better than how he played Sunday, and the Nets still scored 114 points on the best defense in the league, despite his struggles. However, Brooklyn’s supporting cast must step up after Seth Curry, Patty Mills and Bruce Brown were relatively ineffective in Game 1. Kyrie Irving feeds off the Boston crowd and without Robert Williams III on the court, he will continue to stay hot. The Nets’ defense has improved over the past month, holding the C’s to just 19 points in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. It is not comparable to the Celtics? Absolutely not, but I still like Brooklyn to win Game 2 outright. — Erin Dolan

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Doug Kezirian looks at the best bet for the first quarter of Game 3 of the 76ers-Raptors series on Wednesday.

Best bet: Durant over 29.5 points. Durant had one of his worst scoring games of the season in Game 1, requiring 24 field goal attempts to score 23 points and losing six turnovers. While the Celtics have an excellent defense, Durant was visibly out of rhythm, missing a lot of shots that he normally makes. He shot 50% or better from the floor in his two games against the Celtics during the regular season, and dropped 37 points on 21 shots in his last regular-season outing. I fully expect a huge bounce-back game from Durant, who knows the Nets need this game to have a chance to win the series. — AndrĂ© Snellings

Best bet: Durant over 29.5 points. Durant has averaged nearly 39 points in his first game following a loss. The only exception was an 11-point performance in 2019 when he ruptured an Achilles. All of the pressure is on Durant tonight. He knows that he must play better in Game 2 if the Nets want to win the series. — Eric Moody


Breaking down the rest of the slate

Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks
9:30 p.m. ET, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee


Line: Bucks (-10)
Money line: Bucks (-550), Bulls (+400)
Total: 225 points
BPI Projected Total: 221.2 points
BPI Win%: Bucks (88.5%)

Key players ruled out: none

Best bet: Bucks (-10). The Bucks are 5-0 against the Bulls this season and won their last two regular-season matchups by a combined 49 points, and dominated the early part of Game 1 before the Bulls were able to fight their way back in the second half. The Bucks scored 34 points in the first quarter of Game 1, then managed only 59 points over the next three quarters, which is extremely out of character for a Bucks team that was third in the NBA with 115.5 points scored per game. Look for them to revert to their norm and put a big number on the board Wednesday. — Snellings

Best bet: Bulls (+10). The Bulls’ shooting woes were well documented in Game 1. It’s easy to assume Chicago had problems with Milwaukee’s defense, but it’s also worth noting that the Bucks’ defensive philosophy is to take away the inside and force opponents to shoot jumpers. The Bulls should shoot better and cover the spread in Game 2. — Moody

Best bet: DeMar DeRozan over 27.5 points. DeRozan made only six out of 25 shots from the field Sunday due to the Bucks’ wings harassing him. Milwaukee prefers opponents to shoot jumpers, and after the game DeRozan vowed he would never have a shooting night like that again. I believe him. During the regular season, DeRozan averaged 28 PPG and shot 50.2% from the field, so it’s safe to expect a bounce-back performance.


Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors
8 p.m. ET, Scotiabank Arena, Toronto


Line: 76ers (-1.5)
Money line: 76ers (-125), Raptors (+105)
Total: 216.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 218.9 points
BPI Win%: Raptors (60.2%)

Key players ruled out: Matisse Thybulle

Questionable: Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes

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0:28

Doug Kezirian looks at the best bet for the first quarter of Game 3 of the 76ers-Raptors series on Wednesday.

Best bet: 76ers -1.5. The Raptors have shown they have no way of stopping Joel Embiid. This trend should continue for the 76ers on the road as well. The 76ers were a stronger team on the road than at home all season, finishing with a 27-14 road record and 24-17 home record. The spread for this game is too small, especially with Philadelphia on a roll. — Moody


Analytics edge

BPI highest projected totals

1. Milwaukee Bucks (117.7 points)
2. Boston Celtics (116.0 points)
3. Toronto Raptors (111.2 points)

BPI lowest projected totals

1. Brooklyn Nets (103.3 points)
2. Chicago Bulls (104.3 points)
3. Philadelphia 76ers (108.0 points)

BPI top probability to win (straight up)

1. Milwaukee Bucks (88.2%)
2. Boston Celtics (87.4%)
3. Toronto Raptors (61.2%)



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