Welcome to hot-take Tuesday. The NBA's three betting favorites for the championship will play the second game of their respective first-round series on Tuesday. Two of those teams, the Lakers and Clippers, lost their openers and are in danger of falling behind 2-0 (and, in the Clippers' case, traveling to play the next two games on the road). The third, Brooklyn, needed a double-digit comeback against a team missing its second-best player to avoid the same fate.
If any of these teams lose on Tuesday, it's going to be pandemonium. Fortunately, all three are in good shape entering their second game. Among today's best bets are two of the three favorites, and while the third wasn't picked directly, they weren't picked against, either. Don't overthink this slate. They're the best teams in the NBA for a reason.
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All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics
Date: Tuesday, May 25 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET | Live stream: TNT
The Nets beat the Celtics by nine on Sunday. They didn't make a 3-pointer until midway through the second quarter. There's no such thing as an easy double-digit victory, but this is as close it's going to come for the Nets. Boston threw them off with their switching defense for a quarter, but now that the Nets have seen what the Celtics are throwing at them, their overwhelming talent advantage is going to lead to a comfortable victory. Pick: Nets -9
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks
Date: Tuesday, May 25 | Time: 10:30 p.m. ET | Live stream: NBATV
We had six playoff games worth of evidence from last year entering Sunday's Game 1 that the Clippers have no defensive answer for Luka Doncic in the pick-and-roll. Now we have seven. Dallas is going to score plenty in this series and there's little the Clippers can do about it, but their own offense is due for some positive regression as well. They just had almost inarguably the greatest jump-shooting season in NBA history, yet they came out of the gates shooting 27.5 percent on 3-pointers. All logic suggests they're going to improve for Game 2, and they don't even have to improve by much. The Game 1 total was 216 on the dot. You only need a bit more offense to win this over, and the Clippers should deliver it. Pick: Over 215.5
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Date: Tuesday, May 25 | Time: 10 p.m. ET | Live stream: TNT
The Lakers lost Game 1 of their first two series last season. They didn't lose another game in either. LeBron James-led teams are notorious for their Game 1 struggles, and while this team has unique challenges in regards to its health, it also has some very simple fixes it can implement in Game 2, such as placing a greater emphasis on lineup spacing to help James and Anthony Davis attack the basket. Chris Paul is now dealing with a shoulder injury of his own, so with the Suns possibly compromised physically as well, the Laker should be able to tie this series on Tuesday. Pick: Lakers -2