The NBA playoffs are about ready to get underway. But before that happens, the league will have its second annual play-in tournament starting on Tuesday with the No. 7 and No. 8 place finishes in both conferences squaring off. Meaning that the Brooklyn Nets will host the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7 p.m. ET in the first game of the evening followed by the Los Angeles Clippers at the Minnesota Timberwolves at 9:30 p.m. ET. Both contests will be televised by TNT. The winner of each game will advance and be the No. 7 seed in their respective conferences. Meanwhile, the losers will have to play the winners of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game that will take place on Wednesday.
This daily NBA article will examine the best betting picks and NBA player prop bets today. With OddsShopper, bettors can maximize their profits and see the best bets with the highest expected return on investment. OddsShopper can find which sportsbooks offer the best prices for these prop bets. The following are the eight best NBA bets today for April 12.
Best NBA Bets Today: Player Props & Expert Betting
Nets Spread (-8.5) Over Cavaliers; Under 228.5 Points
At the beginning of the season, no one would have predicted this matchup for the first play-in game in the Eastern Conference as Brooklyn (44-38) was supposed to be one of the top teams, but injuries and an unvaccinated Kyrie Irving prevented that from happening. Meanwhile, Cleveland (44-38) was not expected to win more than 30 games. Expect the Nets to roll at home in this one. OddsShopper gives Brooklyn a 76% chance of winning the game along with a 52% chance of covering the spread.
The Nets had to win their last four games, which included a 118-107 victory over the Cavaliers at the Barclays on Friday, just to be able to host this game. The Cavaliers outshot the Nets 48.8% to 46.8% but they were dominated on the boards (45-31) and Kevin Durant tossed in 36 while Bruce Brown and Andre Drummond each registered a double-double. Durant averaged 31.1 points on 51.1% shooting from the field and 40% from beyond the arc, as well as 7.6 assists and 7.4 rebounds since he returned from injury, leading the Nets to a 12-7 record over this stretch. Brooklyn is 36-19 with Durant in the lineup.
The Cavaliers have struggled down the stretch, particularly on the defensive end without Jarrett Allen (finger) and Evan Mobley. The Cavaliers went 7-11 down the stretch without Allen as they registered a 117.9 defensive rating during this stretch, which is nine points more than their season average. Interior defense was a huge problem, especially in the five games that Mobley was out. They also have given up four more paint points and 1.5 more second-chance points without Allen, who is expected to remain out on Tuesday.
Brooklyn won three of the four matchups against Cleveland overall with three of the four contests totaling 225 or fewer points. The Nets won both contests in Brooklyn with each victory being by double-figures. Overall, the Nets posted a 54% effective field goal percentage and forced turnovers on nearly 14% of the Cavs’ offensive possessions while also holding Cleveland to an effective field goal percentage of just over 50%. They have been even better defensively at home, holding the Cavs to 106 points over the two games. Durant and Irving have been very good against Cleveland this season, combining for 51 points along with 11.2 rebounds and 14.2 assists. LaMarcus Aldridge and Andre Drummond also have been major factors in the matchup. The key for the Nets will be getting to the free-throw line and keeping the Cavaliers off the offensive glass as well. Meanwhile, Darius Garland has been fantastic of late and is the key for the Cavaliers offensively as he averages 25.3 points, 8.0 assists and 4.0 caroms.
The point spread has dropped two points since the opening line. OddsShopper gives the under a 53% chance of hitting and an expected ROI of 1%.
Timberwolves vs. Clippers Under 230.5 Points
This is an intriguing matchup as the Timberwolves, like the Cavaliers, were not supposed to be in this position though they were projected to accumulate more wins than the Cavaliers. Meanwhile, Los Angeles has suffered a myriad of injuries with Paul George missing 51 games and Kawhi Leonard (knee) having yet to suit up. Still, the Clippers won the season series 3-1. While all four of the regular season games were blowouts and two of them were high-scoring affairs, bettors should not expect more of the same tonight as both squads are totally different from the last time they met on Jan. 3. The playoffs usually mean more defense and both teams rank in the top 15 of the league on that end.
Los Angeles (42-40) closed out the season on a five-game winning streak and having won six of seven overall thanks to some really good defensive efforts. The Clippers, the league’s No. 8 best defensive team overall, have held their opponents to the fifth-fewest points in the league at 109.1 points per game during this stretch while limiting them to 45.2% shooting from the field and 32.9% from beyond the arc. Moreover, they have allowed 110 or fewer points in each of their last four games.
Minnesota (46-36) has struggled down the stretch, losing six of their last 10. Defense has been a huge problem for the Timberwolves during this stretch though they rank No. 13 in the league on that end for the season and have been much better at home all season long. The Wolves have held their opponents to 108.4 points on 43.7% shooting from the field and 33.6% from long distance at the Target Center.
OddsShopper gives the under a 52% chance of hitting.
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Nets Moneyline (-225) Over Cavaliers First Quarter
Brooklyn is one of the highest-scoring first-quarter teams, averaging 29 points a game as they shoot 48.5% from the field and 38.5% from beyond the arc. Durant is generally the catalyst over the first 12 minutes as he nearly plays the entire quarter, averaging 9.2 points on 56% shooting from the field for the season. Meanwhile, Cleveland averages 28.2 points in the opening quarter, though that number is slightly higher when they are on the road. Moreover, the Nets have outscored the Cavaliers in three of their previous four meetings this year.
Evan Mobley Under 16.5 Points
Mobley has been pretty efficient in his two games since returning from injury, tallying 35 points on 14 of 24 shooting from the field. He has also attempted 11 free throws during this stretch, making seven. However, the 16.5 points seems a bit too high, considering that Mobley is not a good free throw shooter and he is the Cavs’ only real interior scoring threat. Mobley has contributed 14.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists against the Nets this year. He is projected for 14 points in his playoff debut. OddsShopper gives the under a 66% chance of hitting and an expected ROI of 22%.
Other Top NBA Bets Today
- Clippers and Timberwolves Under 56.5 (-128) First Quarter Points
- Ivica Zubac Over 9.5 Points & Over 7.5 Rebounds
- Jarred Vanderbilt Over 6.5 Rebounds
- Isaac Okoro Over 5.5 Points
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