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NBA Playoffs First Round Picks, Predictions and More

The 2024 NBA Playoffs are rapidly approaching with play-in games scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by round one officially starting April 20th. You can check our thoughts on those here, but in this column we’re going to talk about our NBA Playoffs first round picks, predictions and more!

We will have to wait on the results of the Play-in games for all series to be set, but we do have marquee matchups like the #4 Clippers vs #5 Mavericks and #3 Timberwolves vs #6 Suns. In this article, we take a look at some series props that offer great value in hopes of being able to land some positive CLV% before the tip off of game 1. 

Let’s dive right into some round 1 matchups.

All odds via Draftkings Sportsbook

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NBA Playoffs First Round Picks, Predictions and More

#4 Clippers(-105) vs #5 Mavericks(-115)

This matchup has the potential to be one of the most entertaining series of the first round with so many narratives surrounding both teams. Starting off with the Clippers, this is a team that is in desperate need of a deep playoff run. With guys like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George all entering the later parts of their careers and still in search of their first ring, their window to win a championship is closing fast and it is looking like it is now or never.

The Clippers will be heading into this series with a big concern on their minds, as multiple sports media sources have expressed there is a big question surrounding the health of Kawhi Leonard, with reports of swelling in his knee. If Kawhi is to miss any time in this series, it would become a very hard mountain for the Clipper’s to climb.

The grass is a lot greener when looking at the Mavericks side for this matchup. Luka is an MVP candidate, Kyrie averaged 25/5/5 while being 0.3% shy of joining 50/40/90 club, and they have been a top 10 defense in the league since the trade deadline. The turning point for the Mavericks in 2024 was their activity at the trade deadline, being able to land power forward P.J Washington and center Daniel Gafford, both of whom have flourished in the Mavs system.

I’ve watched plenty of Mavericks games this season, and let me say, this is the modern day version of lob-city, all orchestrated by Luka Doncic. The ability this team has to control the tempo of any game they play in is only comparable to the Denver Nuggets, in a sense that, they can choose to out run you in transition and score in bunches, or they can slow it down and run a half-court offense with Luka picking your defense apart. Pick your poison. 

With the History of the Clippers being playoff no shows, and the Mavericks giving Luka the best team of his career, it’s a clear choice for me. 

Picks: Mavericks Series Winner (-115), Mavericks 4-2(+330)

#3 Timberwolves(+105) vs #6 Suns(-125)

“They got KD, but we got Jaden McDaniels” – Anthony Edwards

Yes thank you Anthony, the Suns do indeed have Kevin Durant, and Jaden McDaniels does in fact, play for the Timberwolves. Edwards has emerged as a fan favorite across the NBA in correlation with his role as the number one option on Minnesota, finishing the regular season averaging 28/7/5 in the month of April. Towns is expected to be healthy for the first round of the playoffs and will offer a much needed offensive boost to just the 17th ranked offense in the NBA.

Defensively, this team is as tough as it gets, ranking as the number one defensive team in the league and allowing only 106.5 PPG this season. The return of KAT will cause for the Timberwolves to be a tough matchup against any team with expected DPOY winner, Rudy Gobert, already holding down the front court. With player’s like Jaden McDaniels, Rudy Gobert, and KAT, the Timberwolves are out to prove that size matters, by having one of the lengthiest starting fives in the NBA. 

The Suns locked up the #6th seed and avoided the Play-in by going 7-3 in their last 10 games, a stretch that was deemed as “the toughest stretch in NBA history”. Bradley Beal has come alive as the playoffs get closer, averaging 26/6/4 with shooting percentages of 61/73/100 over his last five games. This talent in the Suns starting five is undeniable, with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker headlining the lineup, but the play of guys like Grayson Allen and Jusuf Nurkic have turned this team into a nightmare offensively.

Allen has been amazing this season, being the third highest scorer on the Suns while leading the NBA in 3PT% at 46.1%. The worries that come with this Sun’s team is what will they do when they need scoring from the bench. I’m going to quote the great Shaquille O’Neal here to answer these worries, “We have seen someone like Wemby…Bol Bol”.

For the record, I don’t think Bol Bol is anything like Wemby, I just think the quote is hilarious. Bol Bol has had games throughout the season where he will come in a play 10-12 minutes and score 10-15 points in very efficient percentages. Unlocking him will be a big factor in how successful the Suns are throughout the playoffs.

Both teams being addressed and dissected, I think it’s obvious who wins this series. Like Anthony Edwards said, one team has Kevin Durant, the other has Jaden McDaniels

Picks: Suns Series Winner (-125), Suns 4-1(+700)

Honorable Mention Picks: Magic Series Winner (+165), Magic 4-3(+650)

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