NBA Playoffs 1st Round Best Bets

Tyrese Haliburton, Giannis Antetokounmpo

Getty Tyrese Haliburton, Giannis Antetokounmpo

The 2024 NBA Playoffs have arrived, featuring numerous exciting matchups in the first round. However, I’ve focused on two specific series where I believe there’s exceptional value to be found.

Series Spread Bet

Indiana Pacers to Win the Series -1.5 Games (-105, FanDuel)

In the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the 3rd seed Milwaukee Bucks are set to face the 6th seed Indiana Pacers. Unfortunately, Giannis Antetokounmpo is unlikely to start the series due to a calf injury. Antetokounmpo has carried the team with MVP-level performances because the rest of the Bucks roster hasn’t been up to par. Damian Lillard‘s performance has declined, Khris Middleton isn’t as impactful as before, and Brook Lopez has struggled, particularly against the Pacers.

Despite Giannis’s efforts, the Pacers managed to win 4 out of 5 games against the Bucks in the regular season. This matchup favors the Pacers as the Bucks’ defense, once elite, has declined in effectiveness. The Bucks’ defensive strategy encourages opponents to take 2-point shots, but they’ve become average at defending them. In contrast, the Pacers excel at scoring inside, leading the league in both 2-point attempts and percentage.

Indiana’s success against Milwaukee wasn’t solely due to exceptional shooting. They consistently found easy scoring opportunities, averaging over 122 points per game in each matchup. The Pacers’ bench also outperformed the Bucks’. With Giannis doubtful to play, the Pacers have a significant advantage. Tyrese Haliburton has been outstanding for Indiana, especially in the regular season series against Milwaukee, showcasing MVP-level offense. Since March 20, the Pacers have boasted the league’s best offense and sit third in Net Rating, with Haliburton returning to form after an injury.

Considering these factors, it’s likely the Pacers will come out strong and aim to finish the series quickly to minimize the impact of Giannis’s potential return.

Series Correct Score

DAL vs. LAC Series Correct Score: Los Angeles Clippers 4-2 (+700, FanDuel)

In the 1st round of the NBA playoffs, the clash between the 4th seeded Dallas Mavericks and the 5th seeded Los Angeles Clippers stands out as one of the most captivating matchups in the Western Conference.

Since 2016, Kawhi Leonard has exhibited remarkable playoff performance, losing only 1 series when he was healthy. Known for his scoring and defensive prowess, Leonard consistently elevates his game to an elite level during the playoffs.

While Luka Dončić is unquestionably talented, Playoff Kawhi presents a formidable challenge. Dončić is already operating at peak usage and minutes, while Leonard, alongside James Harden and Paul George, have demonstrated a history of stepping up their game in the postseason. Under the guidance of Coach Ty Lue, the Clippers have the potential to elevate their performance with their deeper bench and superior coaching compared to the Mavericks under Jason Kidd.

The Clippers hold an advantage in talent and coaching, making this series likely to be a competitive and extended battle. Despite the Mavericks’ defensive weaknesses in areas like 2nd-chance and fast-break points, expect this matchup to go the distance, with the Clippers ultimately having the edge.

For more sports betting advice and analysis sign up for our newsletter.