Fans and bettors have been spoiled with exciting basketball just mere days into the 2022 NBA playoffs.
There are three more games Wednesday night with each one having a uniquely intriguing backstory.
Jayson Tatum’s game-winning buzzer beater spoiled Kyrie Irving’s 39-point night against his former team in Game 1, so the Brooklyn Nets are coming into Game 2 disgruntled and looking for payback.
Game 1 featured 19 lead changes and 12 ties, and I don’t expect Game 2 to be much different. Boston (-160) is currently a 3.5-point favorite over Brooklyn (+140) at DraftKings in what should be a close contest.
The Philadelphia 76ers take a 2-0 series lead with them to Toronto to face a depleted Raptors team in Game 3. The Raptors have their backs against the wall in this one, down 0-2 and potentially without Gary Trent Jr. and/or Scottie Barnes in the next game or more. Toronto (+115) is a slight underdog of 2.5 points versus Philly (-135).
The Milwaukee Bucks almost blew a 16-point lead in a defense-intensive battle against the Chicago Bulls in Game 1. The Bucks closed out on the ugly win to take a 1-0 series lead, thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 27 points and 16 rebounds. While Milwaukee (-550) is a sizable favorite of 10 points over Chicago (+400) in Game 2, it can still be fun to watch a superior team dominate a lesser opponent.
Sportsbooks are dealing a variety of props bets for these games. Here are a few worth taking.
Wednesday’s Top NBA Player Props
No. 7 Brooklyn @ No. 2 Boston (BOS leads 1-0)
Kyrie Irving ‘Over’ 28.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)
Betting the ‘over’ on Kyrie Irving’s points in hostile away games seemingly never disappoints.
He thrives on beefing with opposing fans in the stands, as shown in Game 1, where he and the Boston crowd exchanged obscene gestures and language. Irving was not phased, however, going off for 39 points last Sunday.
He recently got hit with a $50,000 fine for his actions, but that will only add more fuel to his fire going into Game 2.
No. 4 Philadelphia at No. 5 Toronto (PHI leads 2-0)
Tyrese Maxey ‘Over’ 18.5 Points (-120, DraftKings)
Maxey has been one of the league’s biggest breakouts of the season. His points per game average jumped from eight points in 2021 to 17.5 points in 2022, and he’s now Philadelphia’s third scoring option at just 21 years old.
Back in the regular season, Maxey scored at least 19 points in three of four games against Toronto. He also scored 38 and 23 points in the first two games of the series. He clearly feels comfortable when going up against the Raptors, and I expect that same type of high-floor scoring night from him in Game 3.
James Harden ‘Under’ 2.5 Threes (-160, DraftKings)
Harden’s game has come through a complete transformation since joining the Sixers. It can be attributed to his lesser role on a new team and to his physical shape.
His new role has decreased the number of three pointers he shoots (and makes) per game. When he plays the Raptors, those numbers go down even more. Harden has made nine three pointers out of 29 attempts (31%) in five contests vs. Toronto this season.
Harden has also been making fewer threes towards the end of the season. He closed the regular season with six-straight games with two or fewer made three pointers.
No. 6 Chicago @ No. 3 Milwaukee (MIL leads 1-0)
Khris Middleton ‘Under’ 2.5 Threes (-125, DraftKings)
Middleton is more of an efficient, not high-volume, three-point shooter. But against Chicago this season, he hasn’t even had the efficiency.
He has hit a “grand” total of six threes in four contests – regular season and playoffs – against the Bulls this season, including one for seven in Game 1.
Middleton’s naturally low-volume perimeter shooting, combined with his three-point struggles against the Bulls, makes hitting at least three three-pointers in Game 2 hard to trust.
Also read: Odds To Win 2022 NBA Championship