Good afternoon gambling aficionados, it's Chris Bengel back with you. It was a topsy-turvy day with the Panthers and Angels completely forgetting to show up for us, but there's a few spots where we can bounce back in Tuesday's slate.

In terms of the NBA playoffs, the Heat continue to impress me. It's a group that had a phenomenal season, but I just wasn't sure that they could get the job done against the Eastern Conference's elite teams. However, they've completely proven me wrong and really flexed their muscles during the second half of Tuesday's game. As a Philadelphia 76ers fan, it's painful to watch Jimmy Butler dominate the way he did to the tune of 41 points in Game 1. Miami's defense has also been sensational and just makes life so difficult for the opposition. This is definitely a dangerous team that is more than capable of winning an NBA title this season.

We've got the Western Conference Finals getting underway on Wednesday, so I've got a few picks from that game. Let's get right to it!

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

The Hot Ticket

Mavericks vs. Warriors, 9 p.m. | TV: TNT

Latest Odds: Golden State Warriors -5.5
  • Key Trend: The Warriors are 7-2 ATS in their last nine home games
  • The Pick: Warriors -5.5 (-110) 

The Western Conference Finals are set to tip off and it isn't exactly the matchup that many envisioned. That's because the Suns and Grizzlies, who were the top two seeds in the West, have been eliminated. Still, we are in store for a phenomenal series between the Warriors and Mavericks.

The Warriors and Mavericks faced off on three occasions in the regular season, with the Mavericks coming away with two wins. However, the postseason is a completely different animal and I'm on the Warriors side of the spread in this one.

Listen, obviously the Mavericks are more than capable of hanging with the elite teams in the Western Conference as they dominated the Suns in a Game 7 blowout. But the Warriors have been in these spots before and this is as deep of a team that Golden State has had in quite some time.

They really excel when playing at home, as they've been victorious in five of their last seven games in which they've been the home favorite. The Warriors also hold a 4-1-1 record ATS in their last six Conference Finals contests. It doesn't hurt that the Warriors have a balanced scoring effort that doesn't require Stephen Curry to shoulder the majority of the load. In a series-clinching 110-96 win over the Grizzlies in the previous round, four of Golden State's five starters finished in double figures.

One more Warriors-Mavericks pick 

The Pick: Jordan Poole Over 16.5 Points (-105)-- If you've followed my picks in recent months, you know that I'm a big fan of Jordan Poole. Poole has really blossomed into a terrific asset for this Golden State backcourt. He's moved into a reserve role earlier this postseason, but Poole has still managed to be extremely efficient.

When it comes to Game 1, Poole is going to be counted on to produce off the bench. In three of his last six games, Poole has scored at least 17 points. Aside from a three-point performance in Game 5 of the previous round, Poole hovered right around that 17-point mark that he'll need to hit on Wednesday. 

One of the biggest reasons that Poole can easily eclipse this number is his three-point shooting prowess. During the 2022 postseason, Poole is connecting on 39.1 percent of his shots from three and has hit at least three long-range shots in five of those contests. With Poole being capable of being a three-point threat, this number should clear.

Key Trend: Poole has scored at least 17 points in three of his last six games



Oilers at Flames, 9:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds: Calgary Flames -170

The Pick: Flames (-160) -- Both the Flames and Oilers are coming off Game 7 wins in closely-contested series. As the two teams battle for bragging rights in the Canadian province of Alberta, I'm definitely on the sides of the favored Flames in this one.

The Flames have really excelled when playing on their home ice as of late. They won three of the last four games against the Stars at home in the opening round. Calgary also has a 6-1 record over their last seven games as a home favorite while being victorious in 24 of their last 33 home games. Winger Johnny Gaudreau is coming off a strong series in which he shed the label of not being a big-time playoff producer. Gaudreau registered two goals and six assists against the Stars with four of those points coming at home.

With Gaudreau playing some of his best hockey of the season and goaltender Jacob Markstrom playing well in net, I'll gladly take the home favorites to win this one.

Key Trend: The Flames are 6-1 in their last seven games as a home favorite