NBA playoff picks, best bets: Raptors avoid sweep; Celtics-Nets to hit over as Irving, Durant rebound at home


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With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now in the books, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Featured Game | Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia won Game 3 by exactly three points. That’s the spread on this game, but there’s reason to trust Toronto to at least stave off the sweep in this one. We now know Joel Embiid is dealing with a thumb injury, for instance, and perhaps more importantly, the Raptors know it as well and can adjust how they defend him. It’s also worth noting that all five Raptors starters shot below 50 percent from the field in Game 3 and Toronto still managed to force overtime. Philly should have this series in hand, but the Raptors won’t go down without a fight. The pick: Raptors +3

Featured Game | Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks

As many have pointed out, the Mavericks didn’t run any set plays in the fourth quarter. They literally just let Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie hunt the matchups they wanted and isolate. That’s it. That’s all Dallas had to do to win Game 3. I hate to be this reckless but, barring something extreme, this series is over. The Jazz are broken. If they can’t even keep Brunson and Dinwiddie in front of them, what chance do they have against Luka Doncic if he returns? Even if he doesn’t, what’s going on with the Jazz right now is deeper than a slump. It’s a fundamental flaw in design. This era of Jazz basketball is coming to a close. Dallas should be favored in this game. It’s getting five points instead. The pick: Mavericks +6

Do you want to bet on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving shooting 8 of 30 from the field again in Game 3? Because that’s what happened in Game 2, and the total still reached 221 points. If your rebuttal is that Durant probably won’t shoot 20 free throws again… well… he honestly might! He legitimately got fouled that often in Game 2. It’s a tactic teams have taken against Durant for years, especially when they switch screens and have smaller defenders on him. The Houston Rockets tried the same tactics in 2018: Do everything possible to keep him from actually getting the ball, and when he does, hack and hope they don’t call everything. They called everything on the road in Game 2. It stands to reason they will again at home in Game 3. The pick: Over 222.5

Featured Game | Minnesota Timberwolves vs. memphis grizzlies

Karl-Anthony Towns has just 23 points in the past two games. Perhaps not coincidentally, he also had five fouls in each of those games. Foul trouble obviously affects minutes, which in turn affects production, but this goes deeper. Towns is clearly frustrated by his limited production of him in this series. It’s leading to excessive fouling. Expect the Timberwolves to make a point of involving Towns specifically to ensure he does n’t let his emotions get the best of him. The pick: Towns over 24.5 points