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After a heinous regular season from a betting perspective, I’m excited to recoup lost units in the NBA Playoffs 2023. Four 1st-round series start Saturday. The other four begin Sunday and the 8-seeds for each conference still need to be decided.
Apologies if you’ve heard me say this on a podcast or read this from one of my posts but I’m mostly avoiding series bets. Last season, I was 31 games above-.500 entering the postseason and went heavy on 1st-round series with little success.
Instead, I’m going to be more fluid in these playoffs and use most of my bankroll on single games. I got stuck in my ways and left money on the table due to not adjusting from my pre-series analysis.
Below, I’ll cruise through the known NBA 2023 playoff series by giving a brief overview of the matchups and a prediction for who advances.
- Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
6-seed Brooklyn Nets (45-37) at 3-seed Philadelphia 76ers (51-31)
- Game 1 tip-off: Saturday, 1 p.m. ET at Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.
- Season Series: Sixers won 4-0 straight up (SU), 3-1 against the spread (ATS) and the totals were 3-1 Over/Under (O/U).
- Nets (+600)
- 76ers (-900)
- Nets +2.5 (+240)
- 76ers -2.5 (-310)
Prediction: 76ers in 5
7-seed Atlanta Hawks (45-37) at 2-seed Boston Celtics (57-25)
- Game 1: Tip-off is Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET at TD Garden in Boston.
- Season Series: Celtics won 3-0 SU and ATS and the totals were 2-1 O/U.
- Hawks (+650)
- Celtics (-1000)
- Hawks +1.5 (+300)
- Celtics -1.5 (-450)
Prediction: Celtics in 6
5-seed New York Knicks (47-35) at 4-seed Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31)
- Game 1: Tip-off is Saturday, 6 p.m. ET at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Season Series: Knicks won 3-1 SU and ATS and the totals were 2-2 O/U.
- Knicks (+185)
- Cavaliers (-210)
- Knicks +1.5 (-130)
- Cavaliers -1.5 (+105)
Knicks All-Star Julius Randle is still sidelined with an ankle injury and NYK hopes to have him back when the series goes to the Garden. Either way, the Knicks still have a chance to advance.
One of their victories over the Cavs was without Randle, another was without star PG Jalen Brunson and NYK had a rest disadvantage in all three wins vs. Cleveland this season.
Gimme Brunson, probable NBA Sixth Man of the Year Immanuel Quickley and 3-and-D guards Josh Hart and Quentin Grimes over Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell.
Brunson destroyed Mitchell in last postseason’s Mavericks-Jazz series. Brunson out-scored Mitchell 27.8-25.5 PPG and out-shot him from the field and behind the arc. Luka Doncic missed the 1st two games of that series as well.
On paper, Cleveland’s frontcourt has a massive edge over New York’s sans Randle. But, in reality, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen aren’t reliable offensively.
BET: Knicks (+185) in 7
6-seed Golden State Warriors (44-38) at 3-seed Sacramento Kings (48-34)
- Game 1 tip-off: Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California.
- Season Series: Warriors won 3-1 SU but Kings were 3-1 ATS and the totals were 1-2-1 O/U.
- Warriors (-275)
- Kings (+220)
- Warriors -1.5 (-155)
- Kings +1.5 (+125)
This has to be one of the most disrespectful series prices I’ve ever seen. I don’t recall a 6-seed being more than a 2-to-1 favorite in the 1st-round and I’ve been watching the NBA my whole life.
I’ve made a bunch of money back the Warriors since they started winning NBA titles. They are the defending champions and I power-rank Golden State (at full strength) 2nd behind the LA Clippers in the West.
That said, the Kings are going to give the Warriors hell in this series. Or at least I’m betting they will. Golden State has been awful on the road all season and the excuses just don’t hold up anymore. A 41-game sample size is enough.
Sactown covered all three meetings vs. a healthy Golden State (with Andrew Wiggins in the lineup) earlier this season. The Kings have two strength-on-weakness edges in ball security and free-throw-attempt margin.
BET: Kings +1.5 (+125) series spread
7-seed Los Angeles Lakers (43-39) at 2-seed Memphis Grizzlies (51-31)
- Game 1 tip-off: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee.
- Season Series: Tied 2-2 SU and ATS and the totals were 3-1 O/U.
- Lakers (+120)
- Grizzlies (-140)
- Lakers +1.5 (-230)
- Grizzlies -1.5 (+190)
Prediction: Grizzlies in 6
5-seed Los Angeles Clippers (44-38) at 4-seed Phoenix Suns (45-37)
- Game 1 tip-off: Sunday, 8 p.m. ET at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
- Season Series: Tied 2-2 SU, Suns were 3-1 ATS and the totals were 2-2 O/U.
- Clippers (+370)
- Suns (-500)
- CLIPPERS +1.5 (+150)
- Suns -1.5 (+125)
Speaking of “disrespectful odds,” I completely disagree with Phoenix’s NBA playoff pricing. Of all the storylines entering the NBA playoffs, the Suns being favorites to win the West is the most interesting.
However I’m fairly pot-committed to the Clippers going all the way. I’ve made several bets at many prices for the Clippers to win both the West and NBA Finals. Do I feel good about them if Paul George doesn’t return? No.
That said, I firmly believe that the Clippers have the best roster in the Western Conference at full strength. Even without PG, there is no way LAC should have worse odds to win the title than the Lakers or Grizzlies.
Kawhi Leonard is the best wing in the West, with all due respect to Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Actually, that’s a lie. LeBron and KD can’t play defense like Kawhi can.
My prediction is that the Clippers win this series in 6 but their +1.5 series price feels like a lock.
BET: LA Clippers +1.5 (+125) series spread
OutKick Bets Podcast: NBA Playoff 2023 Betting Primer Ft. David Troy
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
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