All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
What you need to know for Wednesday’s playoff games
Backing off Brunson: The Mavs ranked fifth in percentage of points from beyond the arc during the regular season, something that they should look to embrace against the top-seeded Suns. But while Dallas has largely built a roster to embrace this style, Jalen Brunson might be the odd man out. Just one of Brunson’s 16 shots in Game 1 came from distance, and that isn’t an accident given he has shot 23.8% from 3-point range over the past two weeks. Brunson is not spreading the floor and with Luka Doncic back in the lineup, he is no longer required to be a playmaker. The Mavs are clearly running their offense through Doncic and that means Brunson will continue to draw tough matchups. He might play better tonight than he did in Game 1, but be careful in assuming he will bounce back and hit his scoring prop of 18.5 points against Phoenix’s strong defenders.
Go-to option: The Heat identified James Harden as the leader of the 76ers’ offense without Joel Embiid on the court Monday night, and that opened the door for Tobias Harris to produce. Harris had 27 points, 23 field goals + free throw attempts and four assists + turnovers. He led the team in minutes and shots while accounting for 5.6% of Philadelphia’s assists. With Embiid’s status still uncertain, Harris should be in a good spot to hit his scoring props in Game 2.
Tyler the creator: Tyler Herro has become quite the creator in the playoffs with Kyle Lowry out. His assist percentage leaps from 19% to 24.7% when Lowry is not on the floor, and he is likely to play around 30 minutes with a robust usage rate. Herro’s assist prop of 3.5 might be worth considering tonight.
Exploiting Jordan: The 76ers have been committed to starting DeAndre Jordan in Embiid’s absence and Bam Adebayo has dominated the soft matchup. The 76ers were minus-12 in Jordan’s first four minutes on the floor in Game 1 and minus-22 in his 17 total minutes on Monday night. Adebayo’s scoring and rebounding props stand out tonight as he continues to face one of the weakest defensive centers in the NBA.
DFS in DFS: Dorian Finney-Smith has averaged 12.4 rebounding chances per game during the playoffs, ranking second on the Mavericks behind Doncic. Dallas has relied on a smaller lineup recently, making Finney-Smith a viable building block in DFS competition given his ability to stretch the floor and clean the glass. He has averaged 28 combined points, assists and rebounds over the team’s past two playoff games, and his PAR prop of 19.5 appears achievable.
— Jim McCormick & Kyle Soppe
Breaking down today’s games
Line: Heat (-8)
Money line: Heat (-440), 76ers (+340)
Total: 207.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 209.4 points
BPI Win%: Heat (80.3%)
Notable: Six straight Heat games have gone under the point total, and that’s with Vegas dropping its projection in three straight games (four straight if tonight’s line closes under 208.5).
Best bet: Bam Adebayo over 29.5 points + rebounds. Philadelphia allowed 51 points on 32 defensive possessions during DeAndre Jordan‘s 17:17 on the floor. Doc Rivers said Jordan will start again in Game 2, meaning Adebayo should have a big night. — Eric Moody
Best bet: James Harden under 40.5 points + assists + rebounds. I’m going to keep hammering this until the market adjusts it to the mid 30s. Harden is clearly not the player he once was in terms of athleticism and explosion. Without that part of his offensive package, his overall efficiency has dipped precipitously. Add in the absence of Embiid — allowing the Heat defense to further focus on limiting Harden — and it’s a recipe for poor production from The Beard. Harden mustered up just 16 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in Game 1 and came under this threshold in five of the 76ers’ seven postseason games. — Tyler Fulghum
Best bet: Tyler Herro over 18.5 points. The 76ers did not have an answer for Herro in Game 1. He became the first Heat player to record at least 25 points and five assists off the bench in a playoff game. Herro’s production should continue tonight with Lowry still out — Moody
Best bet: 76ers under 99.5 total points. The Heat have the second-best defensive rating in the playoffs thus far, allowing only 101.9 points per 100 possessions. In addition, both the Heat (94.7 possessions/game) and the 76ers (91.4 possessions/game) have played at a much slower pace in the postseason. Miami has been particularly stingy on defense at home, with their opponents averaging only 95.5 PPG and under 99.5 points in three of the past four home games. — Andre Snellings
Line: Suns (-6)
Money line: Suns (-260), Mavericks (+210)
Total: 216 points
BPI Projected Total: 213.2 points
BPI Win%: Suns (71.1%)
Notable: Five of Phoenix’s past six games have gone over the total, with three of those games going over by at least 10 points.
Best bet: Chris Paul over 9.5 assists. Game 1 between the Suns and Mavericks wasn’t as close as the score suggested. Paul dished out only three assists, and I doubt that will be the case in Game 2. He has averaged 9.0 APG in the playoffs over the past two seasons. — Moody
Best bet: Luka Doncic over 51.5 points + assists + rebounds. While it’s reasonable to expect some regression from his 45 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists in Game 1, we’re still talking about Luka Doncic here. He played 44 minutes in Game 1, took 30 shots and got to the free throw line 14 times. Unless the Suns are blowing the Mavs out of the water, it’s reasonable to expect similar usage in Game 2, even if his minutes drop a tick or two. Doncic has averaged 33.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists in 17 career playoff games. This dude is just a big game hunter … and this is a pretty big game. — Fulghum
Best bet: Deandre Ayton over 29.5 points + rebounds. Dallas will have a hard time slowing Ayton down with Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber. Ayton dominated the paint Monday night, going 9-for-15 while shooting over the Mavericks’ smaller defenders. I expect more of the same in Game 2. — Moody
Best bet: Devin Booker over 35.5 points + assists + rebounds. Booker played 38 minutes in Game 1 and looked much closer to his usual self than in the final game of the first round. Aside from the game in which Booker was injured and his first game back, he has averaged over 35.5 PAR in nine of 10 games. — Snellings