Something to keep an eye on as the playoffs progress: all four Eastern Conference series are over, or have at least one team with three wins. Those matchups are presumably going to conclude shortly. Things are more complicated in the West. We have three 2-2 ties, and the fourth series between Memphis and Utah could get there tonight. In other words, the East might be ready for the second round well before the West is.
Eventually, the schedule needs to bring the two conferences back together. The playoffs do end with their two champions facing off, after all. How they'll do that, though, is worth monitoring from a gambling perspective. Teams in the West might be forced to play every other day, limiting the rest injured players can get. Conversely, teams in the East just mind end up taking more nights off. Will that affect momentum? Keep an eye on the schedule moving forward. There will be opportunity there. For now, let's hone in on today's best bets. It's going to be a favorite-heavy day with this light slate.
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
The 76ers have lost one quarter of this entire series. It was the first quarter of the first game and the deficit was one point. Ever since then? It has been an utter demolition, and Washington has no answer for Joel Embiid whatsoever. As our own Colin Ward-Henninger noted, they've had just as many problems doubling him as they have leaving him in single coverage. Unless Washington plans on trading for another center this afternoon, nothing is going to change in this matchup. Philadelphia will complete the sweep on Monday. The pick: 76ers -8.5
Memphis has kept this No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchup closer than Washington has, at least, but that doesn't make it close. Utah is averaging 131 points per game with Donovan Mitchell back. To some extent, hot shooting is responsible, but the Jazz led the NBA in 3-point attempts during the season and finished fifth in percentage. They might fall off, but it won't be too far. The Grizzlies just don't have the personnel to keep up in that sort of track meet. If we use the 131-point figure as the bar, Memphis would need to score 126 just to push this spread. They did so only 12 times in non-overtime games this season. The Jazz just have an offensive gear that the Grizzlies don't. The pick: Jazz -5.5