NBA betting: Picks against the spread for Thursday night's playoff games

·2-min read

The first round of the NBA playoffs continues on Thursday night and there are three games on the slate. Yahoo Sports’ Jared Quay has the picks you need for all of the action.

All odds via BetMGM.

Milwaukee Bucks (-2) at Miami Heat, Total: 224.5

The first game of the night is Game 3 of the series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat. The Bucks are up 2-0, thanks to an overtime victory in Game 1 and a blowout in Game 2. Will Miami fight back?

The Heat are slight underdogs at BetMGM with the total set at 224.5. Quay sees the home crowd in Miami and some defensive adjustments from coach Erik Spoelstra being the difference. He’s taking the Heat on the moneyline.

Prop we like: Giannis Antetokounmpo over 5.5 assists (-110)

Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (-7), Total: 211.5

Over in the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns will head on the road to take on LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Suns were impressive in Game 1, but the Lakers bounced back in Game 2 to even the series at 1-1.

The Suns were slight favorites at home in the first two games of the series. But now they are 7-point underdogs on the road as star point guard Chris Paul continues to play through a shoulder injury. Quay thinks the Lakers are about to step up their level of play.

“The Lakers haven’t played their best ball yet. Coming home, if they can get a couple of role players to play a little better, I think this shouldn’t be close at all,” Quay said. “I like the Lakers [to cover].”

Prop we like: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope under 8.5 points (-105)

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 25: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a three-point shot over Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game Two of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at Phoenix Suns Arena on May 25, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The first-round series between the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers is tied 1-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers (-4), Total: 227.5

Like in the Suns-Lakers series, the Nuggets and Blazers split the first two games of their first-round series. Portland won Game 1 before the Nuggets bounced back and took Game 2.

Now the series heads to Portland where the Blazers are 4-point favorites and the total is set at 227.5. Quay believes a defensive adjustment made by Denver — putting 6-foot-9 Aaron Gordon on Damian Lillard — was a big difference in Denver’s Game 2 victory. Lillard, though, should be able to respond accordingly and help the Blazers take a 2-1 series advantage.

“I think the game plan will switch, and Dame will become more of a passer. C.J. McCollum and [Jusuf] Nurkic will have to step up for the Trail Blazers to win, but I think the home energy will help Portland cover here,” Quay said.

Prop we like: Damian Lillard over 8.5 assists (-105) 

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