Preview and picks for the opening round of the NBA Playoffs
Friday night's final NBA Play-in games will lead us to Saturday's Opening Round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. The No. 1 vs. No. 8 seeds series lines will be posted by top online sportsbooks following Friday night's games. More prop bets and picks are available ahead of all the NBA playoff games by many sportsbook teams, media outlets and sports handicappers as they market to the masses in the massively growing sports betting market.
NBA Series Odds
- No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks vs No. 8 Chicago/Miami winner
- No. 2 Boston Celtics (-1300) vs No. 7 Atlanta Hawks (+790)
- No. 3 Philadelphia 76ers (-1300) vs No. 6 Brooklyn Nets (+790)
- No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (-190) vs No. 5 New York Knicks (+165)
- No. 1 Denver Nuggets vs No. 8 Oklahoma City/Minnesota winner
- No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies (-145) vs No. 7 LA Lakers (+125)
- No. 3 Sacramento Kings (+227) vs No. 6 Golden State Warriors (-267)
- No. 4 Phoenix Suns (-450) vs LA Clippers (+360)
The guys at Vegas Stats & Information Network chip-in some betting insight and notes.
Western Conference Playoffs Opening Round
Kings vs Warriors
The Kings are a historic-priced underdog for a No. 3 seed in the NBA Playoffs. Since 1990, No. 3 seeds priced as series underdogs are 4-2 in series vs. No. 6 seeds. Of course, the Warriors are 22-2 in NBA Playoff series under head coach Steve Kerr with 4 NBA Championships. Meanwhile, the Kings made a dramatic turnaround from worst to first in the Pacific division this year and are in the playoffs for the first time in 16 years. Kings head coach Mike Brown was named by fellow coaches as the 2023 NBA Coach of the Year this past week. Golden State has less travel for this in-state division clash, but the Warriors were just 11-30 on the road this season - by far the worst of all playoff teams. The Kings rank No. 1 in offensive efficiency led by Domantas Sabonis and De'Aaron Fox, and Sacraments led the NBA in scoring (120.9 PPG). Plenty of shootouts expected with the Warriors No. 2 in scoring (118.9 PPG) and the Kings ranking No. 24 in defensive efficiency. Steph Curry continues to pace the Warriors, and the 35-year-old sharpshooter hit 42.7% of his 3-point shots to ranking among the best in the NBA again while No. 11 overall in NBA player efficiency ratings. The Kings and Warriors are also top-3 in assists per game with both averaging near 20 assists per game.
Game 1 Warriors vs Kings is Pick 'em with the highest total of all opening round games at 238.5 points. Pick: Kings
The two other California teams drawing interest are both underdogs in their series.
Suns vs Clippers
Superstar Kevin Durant has only played eight games for the Suns since being acquired before the Feb. 9 trade deadline in a blockbuster deal with the Brooklyn Nets. The Suns core of Durant, Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton have played only 142 minutes together. When all are on the floor, they outscored opponents by nearly 15 points per 100 possessions.
The Clippers will unfortunately be without 4-time All Defensive Team player Paul George to start the series, and he's been out with a knee injury since March 21. The Suns rank No. 7 in defensive efficiency and No. 6 in points allowed per game (111.6) and held the Clippers to 106.3 PPG in four matchups this season. But scoring has been solid for both teams down the stretch with 8 of the last 9 Clippers games going 'over' the total, and 4 of the last 5 Suns games hitting the over. Playing without Paul George and his defense is an issue for Los Angeles, and 8 of the Clippers last 11 road games have gone over the total.
Game 1 Clippers vs Suns (-7) and total 226.
Pick: Over the total
Grizzlies vs Lakers
Many interesting narratives in this series with the young up-and-coming Memphis Grizzlies with a consistent core led by Ja Morant and his 26 points per game and 8 assists per game average. The Grizzlies take on a fortunate Play-in Game winner LA Lakers and the most accomplished player of his generation in LaBron James. And power forward Anthony Davis finished top-5 in player efficiency ratings this season for a Lakers team that was totally re-imagined at the traded deadline. The Lakers have taken some money in the tightest series price of the opening round with the Grizzlies playing without Steven Adams (knee) and his career-best 11.5 rebounds per game. Memphis went 20-16 without Adams down the stretch, but also lost forward Brandon Clarke in March. But Jaren Jackson, Jr. has been one of the best defenders in the league with highlight reals to showcase his skills. The opening round player matchup of Jaren Jackson, Jr. against Anthony Davis will be one of the most intense and interesting watch and wager matchups of athletic big men.
Game 1 Lakers vs Grizzlies (-3.5) total 229
No Sports Betting in California
While millions of American's are able to bet on sports in more than 30 states, California bettors and those most interested in the Warriors-Kings clash will need to bet with offshore leading online sportsbooks. That's because there continues to be No sports betting with US operators allowed in California. Both Proposition 26 and Prop 27 failed to pass in legislature in voting by California residents. OSGA's Hartley Henderson provided more insight on the votes, and Prop 27 allowed online sports betting both by the tribes and by private companies under their own brand. Online sportsbooks spent nearly $300 million in relentless advertisements asking voters to support proposition 27. The Tribes spent almost $150 million asking voters to vote against proposition 27 and instead, support proposition 26, which allowed the state’s privately operated racetracks and tribal casinos to offer sports betting at the physical locations.
Regardless of all the bickering and bantering to get legalized sports betting into California, along with other big populated states of Florida, Texas and Georgia, sports betting and interest in the NBA Playoffs will continue to be big watch and wagering sporting events. Especially in Canada despite the Toronto Raptors getting eliminated as a betting favorite in their Play-in game vs. the Chicago Bulls. Californian's can still enjoy some of the benefits of wagering offshore, and get in the game while watching and wagering to get paid on their California teams of choice.
More NBA Playoffs coverage and picks on Gamblers World with opening round series picks and insights.
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FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and insightful analyst. He's not as interested in the NBA regular season, and prefers to follow and bet on the more exciting and beatable college basketball. FairwayJay chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay