Tuesday, May 17, 2022

NBA playoffs picks, best bets: Why the banged-up Raptors don’t stand much of a chance vs. 76ers

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With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now in the books, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers

Latest Odds: Philadelphia 76ers -7.5

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I’ll admit, I was all in on a Raptors upset before this series began. The injuries are just becoming too great here. Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes and Thaddeus Young are all doubtful as of this writing. Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby are dealing with injuries as well, and while the Raptors have talent on their bench, this isn’t a team that’s used to using it. Nick Nurse plays his starters more minutes than almost any other coach in the NBA, so asking him to change up his rotations for a playoff series is likely going to be a tall order. Philadelphia probably won’t make half of its 3s again in Game 2, but the margin for error with all of these Raptors injuries is just so big that they should win this game comfortably before the series shifts to Canada. The pick: 76ers -7

Utah Jazz at Dallas Mavericks

Latest Odds: Utah Jazz -5

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Utah’s offense got thrown for a loop in Game 1. A group that usually relies on taking 40 3-pointers per game was limited to just 22 against Dallas. Some of that was defense, but some of that was just nerves after a slow start. Utah should be able to adjust and get something closer to its typical shot diet for Game 2. Dallas, on the other hand, doesn’t really have any adjustments to make. With Luka Doncic injured, there’s just not much more Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie can do to attack Rudy Gobert. The Jazz covered the Game 1 spread and have more room to grow than the Mavericks do. The pick: Jazz -5.5

Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors

Latest Odds: Golden State Warriors -7

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Yes, yes, I know, it’s lame to pick all of the favorites on a given day. They just happen to be the right picks today. I went with the over in Game 1 due to Denver’s horrific recent defense. It hit, but Denver’s underwhelming offense nearly botched it. The Nuggets got 49 combined points out of Nikola Jokic and Will Barton. Otherwise, only Bones Hyland hit double-figures. That’s what a playoff defense like Golden State can do to a one-man offense. But the reverse? The Warriors scored 123 points and Stephen Curry only played 22 minutes. Even if he doesn’t score a single point himself, getting the 10 or so extra minutes out of him we should probably expect in Game 2 will create significantly more spacing for his teammates against a defense ill-equipped to handle it. This is just a mismatch, plain and simple. The pick: Warriors -7

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