Top 3 NBA Playoffs Odds & Picks: Sunday (5/12)

We get the exciting fourth installment of two ultra-competitive series on Sunday. The Pacers will look to even things up at home against the Knicks. Meanwhile, the Nuggets will look to build off their momentum, tying the series up on the road against the Timberwolves. Let’s take a closer look at the matchups for my best bets.

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New York Knicks @ Indiana Pacers

After two high-scoring, exciting games in Madison Square, Game 3 went under. Both teams got off to a hot scoring start but came to a screeching halt in the fourth quarter. Only 42 points were scored in the final frame, keeping the game under its mark of 221. There’s reason to believe that what we saw in Game 3 may indicate what we will see moving forward.

There was elite shotmaking on both sides in those first two games, especially from the Knicks. New York shot 53.7% and 57%, respectively. One of the reasons the Knicks performed so well was the 48.8% clip they’ve shot from beyond the arc. This is a number that has stood even with volume. They’ve attempted 80 three-pointers in the three games so far. If the last quarter of Game 4 is any indication, the lack of depth in the rotation is starting to catch up to them, and we can expect some regression from deep.

Indiana has performed close to its season-long averages on the offensive end. It, too, looked gassed late in Game 3, but I’m not as bearish on its offensive potential. However, due to the Knicks’ injuries and minutes starting to catch up to them, this is a spot where its offense could take a huge hit. It’s a perfect spot for this game to go under.

Pick: Total Under 218.5 (-110)

OG Anunoby has been ruled out for Game 4 with the hamstring injury that kept him out in Game 3. This is again a huge blow for a Knicks rotation already thin after losing Bojan Bogdanovic and Mitchell Robinson. Anunoby will be missed on defense, much like he was in Game 3. At some point, the minutes the Knicks starters are logging will catch up to them. We started to see that in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

Indiana feels like they could be up 3-0 in this series. If New York hadn’t been torching the Nets from deep or getting to the free throw line late in games, they very well might have been. In front of this raucous Indiana crowd, I expect them to come out and execute at a high level. Both of these teams have been excellent in this series and the edge in each game has been razor-thin. However, I believe New York has been playing with fire the past few games, and their flame will go out in Game 4.

Bet: Pacers -5.5 (-105)

Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves

The Nuggets silenced a lot of prognosticators when they erased doubt about if they could score on this Minnesota defense. Scoring 117 points on 53.8% shooting led to a 27-point win and a chance to tie the series on the road in Game 4. This whole series has been defined by the defense and that’s why the totals in this series have continued to steam down. For Game 4, the total has gone all the way down to 204.5, but perhaps it’s fallen too far.

As I said, this series has been defined by the defense, or more specifically, the way the Minnesota defense shut down the Denver offense in Games 1 and 2. But this Nugget team has too much talent and is too well coached to be shut down all series. They responded in Game 3 with an excellent performance, led by Jamal Murray. Can they replicate this level of scoring in Game 4? Perhaps not, but I wouldn’t expect another performance like they had in Game 2.

As far as Minnesota, they had a poor shooting performance on Friday night and were still able to put up 90 points in the losing effort. Anthony Edwards had one of his worst performances of this playoff, with just 19 points and five turnovers. I’m not expecting an offensive clinic on either end, but Denver figured something out on offense, and the Timberwolves should perform better. With the lowest total yet in this series, I like this one to go over.

Bet: Total Over 204.5 (-110)