NBA Tips – 15th April

The Playoffs have arrived and there is one word to describe the Wolf’s emotions… PUMPED! We are in store for the best playoff series in well over a decade with some mouth watering opening round matchups. The Cavs path to the finals is the hardest it has ever been while the Warriors will be without Steph Curry for at least the opening round. Strap in for two incredible months of basketball!

NBA Feature Previews

1. San Antonio Golden State (Sun 5:05am)
They say a week is a long time in sport… well how about a year! A little less than 12 months ago they met in the Western Conference Finals and in the opening game San Antonio led by as many as 25. That was of course until Zaza put his leg in Kawhi Leonard’s landing space. Little did we know at the time that it would more than just derail the Spurs playoff aspirations. ‘The Claw’ hasn’t been the same since! He played just 9 games this season and now there are talks that he could be leaving San Antonio all together. Without him they simply cannot complete with the Warriors. Golden State had claimed 8 in a row until the Spurs won their most recent meeting – a match in which Curry, Durant and Klay all failed to participate in. Furthermore, the Spurs have been terrible in two spots all season long – on the road and against teams with a winning record. They are 0-7 both straight up and ATS in their last 7 road games and their 14-27 road record this season is the worst of any team to make the playoffs. Just to get a gauge, the Lakers and Hornets had better road records. Everyone has been quick to write off the Warriors, but not The Wolf. Don’t be fooled by the 40 point loss to the Jazz or anything they have done over the last two months. They have simply learned from the mistake they made when they chased the season wins record. Durant will go berserk in this series and throughout the entire playoffs! San Antonio will be lucky to avoid a sweep.
Best: Golden State -8 ($1.92)
Prop: Durant 30+ points ($1.85)

2. Washington @ Toronto (Sun 7:35am)
Toronto claimed top spot in the East and their 59 wins was second behind only the Rockets for the best record in the NBA. The 59 wins also represent the most in franchise history and Dwayne Casey deserves a lot of the credit. He has completely transformed how his side plays in order to adapt with the demands of the modern day NBA. What does that mean… It means improving their production from beyond the arc. Last season they ranked 23rd in points from 3-pointers and have improved dramatically to be 4th in that category this season. DeRozan has added the 3-ball to his game and the Raptors bench is arguably one of the best in the league. Poeltl, VanVleet, CJ Miles and Siakam have been outstanding. They split the season series with the Wizards but it is hard to see Washington making any impression in the playoffs – even with the return of John Wall. They have lost 5 of their last 6 and have historically come up short when it counts. They are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road games and rank outside in the top 10 for a substantial amount of categories including offensive efficiency and floor percentage. Consequently, The Wolf believes this will be a low scoring series. The Under is 12-2 in the last 14 meetings in Toronto and 8-3 in the Wizards last 11 when facing teams with a winning record. The Wiz will not be winning in Canada so you can rub them out of playoff contention. There is also some value around the player props with Gortat grabbing double/doubles in 2 of the last 4 meetings. 
Tip: Under 211 points ($1.91)
Prop: Marcin Gortat Double/Double ($3.75)

3. Miami @ Philadelphia (Sun 10:35am)
Say hello to the hottest team in the NBA!!! No, it is not the Rockets or the Jazz. It is the Philadelphia 76ers and The Wolf says they are legit. Anyone who follows his tips on a daily basis will be fully aware why he thinks they are special, and it goes beyond the duo of Simmons and Embiid. What makes them contenders is their bench – thanks to some thoughtful mid-season acquisitions. Belinelli and Ilyasova have given them the addition 3-point shooting required to tip tale them to the next level. They are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 against East teams and 6-0 ATS in their last 6 when on 2 days rest. Embiid will return at some point this series and the absence of back to backs is another plus for the 76ers. Home court has dominated this series with the host winning the last 9 meetings. Miami have been renowned for their defence in recent seasons but there will be no stopping this Philly offence. They have averaged 119ppg in their last 10 and Miami to not have the firepower to go with them. With a bench as deep as it is, The Wolf says that the 76ers should push the pace for 48 minutes. Simmons to add to his 12 triple/doubles as a rookie!
Tip: Philadelphia -7 ($1.92)
Value: Philadelphia -10.5 & Over 219.5 ($6.75)
Prop: Ben Simmons Triple/Double ($2.75)

4. New Orleans @ Portland (Sun 12:35pm)
This shapes as one of the closest matchups of the opening round. what makes it even more intriguing is that the respective leaders have a lot to prove. Anthony Davis has always been applauded for his talent but criticised for his inability to lead a team into the playoffs. This year he must be given credit for what he has accomplished – especially after Boogie Cousins went down injured. He finished the regulars season 2nd in points per game, 5th in rebounds and 2nd in blocks. He dropped 36 points in each of his last two against the Blazers and is in for a HUGE series. That same word can be used for Damian Lillard who has been spectacular in leading the Blazers to the most unlikely of outcomes – a 3rd seed finish in the West. We have seen him put the Blazers on his back in the past but he now has help. McCollum and Nurkic have been stalwarts but it is the work of Harkless, Napier and Aminu which goes unnoticed. The Wolf says home court will determine the winner of this series and he cannot find himself betting against the Blazers at home. They are 20-6-1 ATS in their last 27 games at Moda Center and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 when on 2 days rest. They are also an incredible 14-3 ATS in their last 17  when facing teams with a winning record. Davis will put up the numbers but will not get the help required to get the Pelicans over the line. We’ll be going 7 games in this one.
Tip: Portland -5.5 ($1.92)
Prop: Anthony Davis 30+ points ($1.90)

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