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NBA Playoffs 2024 Expert Picks For April 22: Home Teams Remain Heavy Favorites

The 2024 NBA playoffs continue on Monday night with a slate of three games in the opening round. The Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, and Los Angeles Lakers all fell in Game 1 of their respective best-of-seven series, and will look to draw a split before heading home as they all take the hardwood once again.

Here are some spread and OVER/UNDER bets to consider heading into tonight's action. 

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Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Game 2

Matchup Page: Orlando Magic vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m. ET

Series Preview: Magic vs. Cavaliers First Round Preview, Betting Odds

Orlando Magic+5.5 (-110)+184O 203 (-108)
Cleveland Cavaliers-5.5 (-110)-220U 203 (-112)

Pick: UNDER 203 Points

Game 1 between Orlando and the Cleveland Cavaliers set offense back to the nineties when a 97-83 scoreboard would have blended in perfectly. Neither team shot the ball particularly well, with the Magic converting just 32.6 percent from the field while Cleveland missed 18 3-pointers in a row after knocking down its first five. 

The two teams hit the OVER in three of their four meetings in 2023-24, but were well UNDER the 206.5 points set by oddsmakers for Saturday's initial matchup. The pace tends to slow down considerably in the playoffs, and considering the Magic and Cavaliers ranked in the bottom-third of the Association in points per game anyway, a second-straight UNDER is well in play here. - Christopher Walder

Nick's Magic vs Cavaliers Prop Pick: Darius Garland UNDER 23.5 Points + Assists (-113)

Darius Garland has covered this 23.5 Points and Assists prop number in just five of his last 10 games. He hoisted only 11 shots at the Magic on Saturday and seems fully content in allowing Donovan Mitchell to be the Cavs main scorer. With the productivity and talent advantage of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen inside, Cleveland simply doesn't need Garland's tertiary scoring.

I love Garland's UNDER 23.5 points and assists to go along with Chris' UNDER 203 total points play tonight. Expect another low-scoring rock fight.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks Game 2

Matchup Page: Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. ET

Series Preview: 76ers vs. Knicks First Round Preview, Betting Odds

Philadelphia 76ers+5 (-108)+164O 207.5 (-110)
New York Knicks-5 (-112)-196U 207.5 (-110)

Pick: New York Knicks ATS -5

The surging New York Knicks have won six straight and covered in four of those contests, including as 4.5-point favorites over Philly in Game 1. Sixers star Joel Embiid went down awkwardly on an alley-oop play in the opener, raising new concerns over his old left knee injury.

Embiid is questionable for Game 2, and expect another raucous night for the home team if the Philadelphia center is at anything less than full strength. - David Caraviello 

Nick's Knicks vs 76ers Prop Pick: Bojan Bogdanovic OVER 9.5 Points (-130)

Bojan Bogdanovic has scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games against the Philadelphia 76ers. By nature of his trade to the Mecca, he faced off against Philly seven times this season, failing to score 10 points just once. He's averaged 16.6 points against the 76ers in over the last 10 matchups, and has the skillset to bail the Knicks out of Nick Nurse' crazy defensive schemes. The Croatian was built for playoff basketball. Take his OVER 9.5 points tonight.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Game 2

Matchup Page: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets, 10 p.m. ET

Series Preview: Lakers vs. Nuggets First Round Preview, Betting Odds

Los Angeles Lakers+7 (-112)+220O 223.5 (-110)
Denver Nuggets-7 (-108)-270U 223.5 (-110)

Pick: Denver Nuggets ATS -7

Denver continued to look like the class of the West in their Game 1 victory over the Lakers, who have yet to beat the Nuggets this season. The Nuggets have covered five of their last six dating back to the end of the regular season, and clearly have a degree of roster depth that Los Angeles cannot match--even with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the starting lineup.

Nikola Jokic is still tough to guard, and Denver has all the tools to cover at home and take a 2-0 series lead to L.A. - David Caraviello 

Nick's Lakers vs Nuggets Prop Pick: Jamal Murray OVER 36.5 Points, Rebounds, Assists (-115)

If you haven't noticed, Jamal Murray has absolutely torched the Lakers lately. He lit up LA for 38 PRA in game one, with a 10 assist double-double. On top of that, he's gone OVER 36.5 PRA in each of his last three games against Lebron James and co.

Mike Malone's bench is bound to shrink further in this series. If the Nuggets have a weakness its the chaos Reggie Jackson brings to their offensive sets. Murray dominated LA with 41, 52, 50, and 35 PRA in last year's series. Expect that trend to continue tonight.

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