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Best Bets: Two first-round series you should absolutely wager on

Best Bets: Two first-round series you should absolutely wager on

The 2021 NBA Playoffs have finally arrived! With the postseason comes a larger serving of bets, and our NBA contributors have provided two of their favorite ways to attack valuable series prices.

Four matchups start on Saturday, while the remaining series get underway on Sunday.

Here are the top NBA-series plays from the BetQL NBA betting experts:

Reed Wallach: Denver Nuggets +100 vs. Portland Trail Blazers (BetMGM)

This price confuses me. I understand that the Blazers won 10 of their last 12 games, while the Nuggets are missing Jamal Murray and some other key players due to injuries, but the odds here are too short to not play.

Nikola Jokic is the MVP of the league and the Blazers have issues with their interior defense. While going 7-2 in the month of May, Portland still had the 19th-best defense on a points-per-100-possessions basis, per Cleaning the Glass.

Portland has been paced by outlier shooting performances of late, posting a near 60% effective field goal percentage. However, the Nuggets are going to be able to match that offensive output with Jokic operating at such a high level. When the big man is on the floor, the Nuggets are in the 98th percentile on the offensive end this season.

Nobody in the league can guard The Joker, but the Blazers are particularly thin up front with Jusuf Nurkic and Enes Kanter playing center.

Yes, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will get their buckets, exploiting the loss of Murray, but the rest of Denver’s team has stepped up on both ends. Since Murray’s injury, the Nuggets are top-10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, proving they are a complete team.

With a pronounced home-court advantage in the Denver altitude and the league’s MVP leading the way, there is a ton of betting value on the Nuggets at plus money.

If you aren’t ready to bet this full series but want to bet on a game-by-game basis, check out the BetQL best bets for this series. Every game-day, you can see which way BetQL’s model is betting on the games. 

Vikas Chokshi: New York Knicks -110 vs. Atlanta Hawks (BetMGM)

I like this matchup for the Knicks. Containing Trae Young and the red-hot Hawks will be a tall order, but New York's season-long defensive success should translate over to this series.

The Knicks have been the best defensive team in the league for a majority of the season, ranking in the top-five of several key metrics. New York ranked first in points allowed, field goals allowed, opponent's field goal percentage and opponent’s three-point percentage. The team also ranked third in defensive rating and sixth in assists allowed. Atlanta can light up the scoreboard, but I have faith in Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau to come up with a gameplan that will slow down the young Hawks over a seven-game series.

The Knickerbockers also have home-court advantage, which is an X-Factor here, even though only 15,000 fans will be attendance. New York has a rabid fan base and Madison Square Garden will be rocking with the Knicks making the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Gambling wise, New York finished the season as the best NBA team against the spread with a 45-26-1 against-the-spread record, so I'm going back to the well once more in the playoffs. This will be a tough, back-and-forth series, but New York’s defense is the difference and why I have the Knicks advancing. 

Keep up with BetQL’s NBA computer picks to find out which way their model is betting for each game in this series once it tips off.

If you want to get in on the action of any of these playoff series, check out the risk-free bets available here at BetQL. If you live in a state where gambling is legal, you can get free bets just for creating a new account.

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