The OddsTrader computers like the favorites and the Over for both of Sunday’s playoff games. Should you put them in your NBA picks?
Sunday, April 30, 2023 – 03:30 PM EDT at Golden 1 Center
Computers have come a long way since the old days of punch cards and vacuum tubes. You can create just about anything with them now, even projected final scores for tomorrow’s NBA games so you can bet on them today.
We’re here to help. As we go to press, the computers at OddsTrader have the following results projected for Sunday’s slate:
- Miami 111, New York 120 (NYK -4, Over 207.5)
- Golden State 117, Sacramento 119 (SAC -1.5, Over 229.5)
These are just projections, of course. To get the most use out of all this computing power, we need to put these numbers in context and consider all the betting options for your NBA picks. And having done so, we’re sticking with the Over for Game 7 between the Warriors and Kings.
Where’s the Betting Value?
As a general rule in sports betting, you’ll find more value with the underdogs and the Under, especially once the playoffs roll around. Sure enough, the early consensus reports at OddsTrader show roughly 70% support for both the Heat at +4.5 and the Warriors at +1.5; early money is usually sharp money.
As for the totals, the Under has a 93% consensus for that Heat-Knicks second-round opener, which makes sense given the history between these two Eastern Conference rivals. But it’s the Over getting 68% support at press time for the Warriors-Kings matchup.
Combine that consensus with the above projections, factor in the slightly lower 229-point total at Caesars Sportsbook, and it’s easy enough to conclude that the Over is the best of these standard straight bets.
How Much Should I Bet?
Not too much in this case. The OddsTrader computers have projected Golden State and Sacramento to combine for 236 points or seven points more than the actual total at Caesars; the Heat-Knicks game is forecast to blow out the 207.5-point total by an eye-popping 23.5 points.
These projected final scores are probably both a little too high, although the Warriors-Kings contest is more likely to go into overtime with Sacramento favored by just 1.5. The smaller 7-point gap in this case still suggests it would be more prudent to keep your bet size relatively small, as does the old-school betting logic supporting the Under in high-profile playoff games.
That goes double for Game 7. Over the past 20 years, the Under has cashed in about 60% of the time in these deciding games, with teams getting increasingly tired and running out of counter-adjustments to throw at each other. But if there are two teams in the NBA who can buck this trend, it’s the Warriors and Kings.
Is the Kings’ Offense That Good?
It’s historically good. Their offensive rating of 117.0 points per 100 possessions (as per the Hollinger stats at ESPN) is the best the league has ever seen, thanks primarily to the 1-2 punch of point guard De’Aaron Fox and center Domantas Sabonis.
Actually, head coach Mike Brown and his staff deserve the credit here – and Brown was indeed just named Coach of the Year by a unanimous vote for his efforts. Brown used to be all about the defense, but he’s changed his ways, allowing the Kings to run freely and play with confidence and vigor.
They’re still not as freewheeling as Golden State, though. The Warriors lead the NBA in pace at 103.5 possessions per game, with Sacramento 12th overall at 101.9 possessions. They might not be as efficient as the Kings, but when you have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the backcourt, volume shooting is imperative.
Can Anyone Here Play Defense?
Not particularly well. All that scoring masks some serious problems on defense for both teams; the Warriors rank No. 17 in efficiency at 111.7 points allowed per 100 possessions, while the Kings are even worse at No. 25 overall (114.2 points allowed).
Those are regular-season numbers, mind you. The intensity is through the roof for this series, as you might expect from two Northern California neighbors – one of which employs former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green.
Even with all that extra effort on defense, the totals in this series have been split down the middle at 3-3. Fox is scoring 29.3 points per game for the Kings despite a broken finger; Curry (31.0 points per game) and Thompson (21.3 points) are lighting it up as well. Bet accordingly – the computers have spoken.
NBA Pick: Over 229 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook