Now that we're in the thick of the NBA playoffs, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
The Lakers were undefeated at home in the playoffs... until Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. Game 4 almost certainly won't be as favorable to them. Nikola Jokic shot below 50% from the floor in just three regular-season games. He's now done so in back to back games in this series, and he was forced to the bench in the third quarter due to foul trouble. What are the odds that either of those factors repeat themselves? Anthony Davis scored 28 points in Game 3, but hasn't reached 25 in back-to-back games once this postseason. It was a great run for the Lakers. The Nuggets are the better team and should finish this thing off Monday. The Pick: Nuggets +3
I'm taking the over in Game 4 based on a somewhat bold prediction. Coaches frequently make desperation lineup changes in elimination games. Rui Hachimura has been by far the fourth-best Laker in this series, but hasn't started once this postseason. The combination of Hachimura, Davis, Austin Reaves and LeBron James has combined for just under 82% of all Laker points in this series. It stands to reason that the Lakers would start all four of them in Game 4, and Jarred Vanderbilt, the best perimeter defender and worst overall scorer on the Lakers is the likely player to be removed from the lineup. The Pick: Over 224.5
We covered Davis' inconsistent scoring above, and we're going to bet it for possibly the last time this season on Monday. Davis is averaging just 15.7 points in even-numbered playoff games this postseason. He's reached 20 points just once. This line is based on his overall scoring average while ignoring the reality that he simply struggles to play elite offense in consecutive games because of the absurd amount of energy he needs to expend defensively. The Pick: Davis Under 26.5 Points