NBA Game 5 Betting Previews

NBA Game 5 Betting Previews

In the NBA Playoffs conference semifinals, all four series have now completed four games, and three of the series have turned into playoff classics.

Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks (-2.5)

Series tied 2-2

Oh, what might have been for the Indiana Pacers, if not for the admitted mistakes by the officials in the two games in New York to open the series. The Knicks won both of the games at Madison Square Garden, with help from the officiating. A critical kicked ball that was a clear mistake helped New York escape in Game 1, and a reversed double dribble helped them win in Game 2.

Indiana has since won two games at home, including a demolition of the Knicks on Sunday, 121-89. They could easily be up 3-1 in the series, or even closed it out if not for how the series began. But referees influenced by a raucous Garden crowd notwithstanding, they find themselves in good position.

Indiana is a 2.5-point underdog in this one, but they have all of the momentum. They twice played well on the road in this series, and the Tuesday night moneyline bet of +120 on Indiana appears to have good value.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets (-4)

Series tied 2-2

While the series in New York feels like it could go either way, this one feels like it’s taken a big swing back in favor of the Denver Nuggets. The Minnesota Timberwolves won the first two games in Denver, and they went home with a golden opportunity to put the defending champion Nuggets on ice. Instead, Denver found its legs, and it reclaimed the home court advantage that was lost the first two games.

The Minnesota defense was suffocating, limiting the Nuggets to 99 and 80 points. Then it wasn’t, and the Denver offensive machine exploded. In Friday’s Game 3 win, Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Nikola Jokić scored over 20 points. In Game 4, Jokić scored 35, Aaron Gordon added 27, and five players finished in double figures.

Anthony Edwards has continued to star for the Timberwolves, with 44 points in Sunday’s loss. But the reason Minnesota jumped out to a two-game lead was its defense. If the version of the Minnesota defense that we saw in Denver to begin the series doesn’t return, it won’t matter how many points Edwards scores. Denver will win the series.

The Nuggets are favored in Tuesday’s Game 5 by 4 points, and they are paying -175 on the moneyline. Both are solid bets for the team with the second-best record at home this season.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics (-15.5)

Boston leads series 3-1

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t play poorly in their Game 4 loss on Monday night. They led late, and showed the same life that led to their Game 2 upset. It just simply wasn’t enough against a team like the Boston Celtics and against players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. The two Celtics stars combined for 60 points and 19 rebounds, and were always there, ready to make a play when it was needed.

A 15.5-point spread for Game 5 feels rather disrespectful. The Cavs did win one of the two games in Boston, and even without Donovan Mitchell in Game 4 (he had an injured calf), they kept it close. But there is a strong belief in this Celtics team. With a chance to close out this series at home and move on to the Conference Finals, they will get it done.

Keep an eye out for Mitchell news. He’s a possibility for Game 5, but the Cavs won’t make any decisions on that until Wednesday. If he plays, the point spread will drop. If he’s still out, look for Boston to roll and return to the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight year.

Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder (-4.5)

Series tied 2-2

The second of the Game 5s to be played on Wednesday has the Oklahoma City Thunder – back in the series after a big win on Monday night — hosting the Dallas Mavericks.

Dallas was oh-so-close to taking a commanding 3-1 lead. Luka Dončić was at the free throw line with a chance to tie the game with 10 seconds left on the clock, and he failed. The entire night for the Mavericks was a failure from the free throw line – they shot just 52% – and they let a win at home slip through their fingers.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was his usual brilliant self with 34 points. But as a team, OKC struggled shooting the ball. They were just 38% from the floor, and Jalen Williams and Lu Dort were a combined 9-for-33. But the Thunder escaped, and now they return home, where they are 4.5-point favorites for Game 5.

Dončić was clearly hobbled by his ongoing knee injury, and that might be enough to sink Dallas’s chances.

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