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NBA And NHL Playoff Preview And Picks For May 7

Tonight is all about elimination where every game in the NBA and NHL features a team on the brink of extinction. 

I am nowhere near on that brink, however, after an amazing playoff stretch. I am 9-1 against the spread in my last 10 NBA picks and I’m also coming off a Saturday where I picked Justify to win the Kentucky Derby. 

Praise Gamblor. 

Here’s my record for the playoffs heading into tonight’s action: 

Now 20-16-1 in the NHL. I’m up $300 (based on $100/gm bets)
Now 21-17 ATS in the NBA. I’m 9-1 ATS in my last 10 picks.  

NBA: 

Celtics at Sixers -6.5, 204.5

The Celtics are 8-2 against the spread this postseason and they continue from being the best bet in the regular season to being the best bet in the postseason. If you remember, they were my long-shot pick to win the East, as I talked about on Outkick with Clay Travis before the playoffs, and they’ve now gone from +8000 to +1800 to win the NBA championship. 

Boston was also +3000 to sweep this series with the Sixers, which they’ll do tonight with a win. They simply seem to have the Sixers’ number and have now won 17 of the last 19 meetings. 

The Celtics are the 17th-ranked team in offensive efficiency in the NBA this season (108.7 points/100 possessions) and the second-ranked team in defensive efficiency (105.0 points allowed/100 possessions). So it’s a tad strange the OVER is 7-3 in their games this postseason but it’s a simple case of the totals being set too low. 

Pick: Celtics +6.5 

Raptors at Cavaliers -5.5, 213.5 

The Cavs are now favored to sweep this series at a price of -220 after sitting at +800 to do so previously. LeBron has just demoralized this Raptors team in so many ways and the Cavs are now 14-2 in the last 16 meetings while the Raptors have only covered the spread in two of the last 10 meetings. 

The Raptors have allowed the Cavs to shoot at least 36 percent from three-point land in all three games in the series and 48 percent from the field in two of the three games. So timely defense has been a problem and so have turnovers. Toronto can’t seem to manage fewer than double-digit turnovers these playoffs and when you can’t play defense, that’s a killer. 

The Raps are 1-14 in their last 15 games as a dog of 5.5 or more and the Cavs have won 18 of their last 20 in the playoffs as a fave. Not expecting any miracles here. 

Pick: Cavs moneyline

NHL: 

Capitals at Penguins -190, 6 

Same sorta lines here we saw in the NHL on Thursday when the Penguins and Predators came out on top. I said then I thought this price was way too high for the Penguins and I still feel that way. 

Pittsburgh brings confidence into these kinds of games, though, after winning all four times they’ve faced elimination over the last two seasons. They didn’t practice on Sunday and took the day off. 

The Penguins have five power-play goals over the past three games and the Caps only have one game without a PP marker these playoffs. So I’m expecting more goals. 

Pick: OVER 

Predators at Jets -150, 6 

PK Subban said the Preds are going into Winny and winning, “it’s that simple.” Except it’s not. 

The Predators have given up at least four goals in four of their last five games. That’s wayyy too many for playoff hockey. 

It’s not just goaltending either, although Pekka Rinne’s save percentage is the worst among any remaining playoff goalie (.897) with more than two starts. Nashville has had too many team defensive breakdowns this postseason, which I also talked about during the Avalanche series. 

It’s really hard to bet against the Jets here as the second-best bet on home ice in the NHL this season. 

Pick: Jets -150 

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