NBA Picks of the Day: Two Exciting Matches Totally Worth Your Bets

Jordan Sharp

Saturday, April 16, 2016 11:11 AM GMT

Basketball Playoffs are finally here, and after a few days off to calibrate and prepare, I am back to start the second season off right. Here are my best NBA Picks for the Saturday slate. 

Pacers vs. Raptors
The Raptors have a lot to prove in this year’s playoffs. After getting unceremoniously bounced from the playoffs last season, they spent a lot of money on DeMarre Carroll, who wasn’t healthy the entire year. He is coming into this series as the x-factor for the Raptors, who the NBA odds boards have as a -6 ½ favorite in the NBA Odds, with a total of 194 points.

Last season during the first round, and some into the second, early afternoon weekend games during the playoffs were easily trending under. In the first few weeks of the playoffs, the under was 8-3-1 in games that started before 6 PM Eastern time, and today we have one of those to tip off the 2016 playoffs.

Not only that, but these two teams are very good defensively, and the Raptors are one of the slowest teams in the NBA this season, Toronto ranked second to last in pace this season at 92.9 points per 100 possessions behind only the Jazz, and both teams were two of the top 11 Defensive Efficiency teams. The Pacers finished the season behind only the Spurs and Hawks in DRtg, and that could play a big role in this one.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are going to do their best, but the Pacers have enough wing defenders to throw at those two guys, that the only thing they need to do is play good interior defense.

That being said, both teams are going to bring their a-game defensively in this first matchup, and considering it’s an early afternoon game and both teams are rested, the under looks like the play. Indiana was 8-5 cashing the under this season on 2-3 days rest, while the Raptors have cashed the under in their last two games playing on two days rest.

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Free NBA Pick: 'Under' 194 (-103)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

Celtics vs. Hawks
This is probably the most evenly matched series in the first round, yet the sportsbooks are giving Boston +5 ½ points in this first game, with a total of 204 points. Boston won the first matchup between these two teams, but then proceeded to drop the final three by big margins.

This has the sharps pushing the line up a point from where it opened. However, while the regular season can be a good tool to look back to in order to gauge a playoff series, the formula is there for the Celtics to cover here, and maybe even in outright.

Boston needs to play better defense on the inside. However, if they can’t playing small and fast might be the formula to beat Atlanta. The Hawks have a shorter rotation than the Celtics, and Boston is a much better team in transition.

If Boston can’t stop Al Horford and Paul Millsap on the inside, they might elect to forget about matching up to the Hawks’ size, and implementing a guard-heavy and fast-break oriented style.

This could really give the Hawks problems. The Celtics already turned this team over a lot in their regular season meetings, and Boston rank sixth in the league in transition points this season. If Boston cans shut down the Hawks’ backcourt with their solid perimeter defense, I could see the Celtics keeping this one close, or even stealing Game 1 as my NBA pick.

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Free NBA Pick: Celtics +5 ½ (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage