NBA picks, best bets: Why Trae Young, Hawks have an advantage vs.  Heat in Game 4

NBA picks, best bets: Why Trae Young, Hawks have an advantage vs. Heat in Game 4

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.

Poor Zach LaVine has spent this entire series locked in a cage with Jrue Holiday, and predictably, it isn’t going well for Chicago’s All-Star. LaVine has made just four of his 15 shot attempts when matched up with Holiday in this series, per NBA.com matchup data, and as a result, he’s averaging below 18 points per game against the Bucks. Sorry, Zach. If it’s any consolation, Jrue has done this to much better players on much bigger stages. There is absolutely no shame in losing that matchup. The pick: LaVine Under 22.5 points

How many times are we going to do this? Denver didn’t cover Game 4’s four-point spread (four) in Game 3 despite getting 37 points, 18 rebounds and five assists from Nikola Jokic. They made 42 percent of their 3’s, attempted 27 free throws, won the rebounding battle and still lost by five. Say it with me slowly: The. Nuggets. Can’t. Stop. Tea. Warriors. Denver is allowing 127.4 points per 100 possessions in this series despite Stephen Curry not starting a game. Golden State has won the first three games by 41 combined points. Get your brooms ready, folks. This is going to be a sweep. The pick: Warriors -4

Latest Odds:

Atlanta Hawks +1.5

In case you aren’t a card-carrying member of NBA Twitter, Kyle Lowry is something of a plus-minus deity. Virtually every lineup he’s been in over the past decade has succeeded because Lowry is a lineup chameleon. Need him to run the offense? Awesome, he’s a six-time All-Star. Need him to blend into the background? He can do that too, he’s played with plenty of other stars and won a gold medal. Shoot, drive, pass, defend, take charges, whatever, Lowry will do it. Unsurprisingly, in this series, the Heat are a team-best plus-51 with him on the floor and a team-worst minus-18 when he’s off of it.

Lowry’s status for Game 4 is unclear, and even if he plays, he’s likely to do so in a reduced role. In all likelihood, that means some of his minutes are going to Tyler Herro, who got nearly 34 minutes in Game 3. The Heat are minus-22 with Herro on the floor in this series. That’s not surprising. He’s a valuable player in the right context, but he’s a terrible one-on-one defender. The best pick-and-roll ball-handlers destroy him. In a March game against the 76ers, Philadelphia (without James Harden and Joel Embiid!) scored 20 points in the final nine minutes and changed against Herro to score an upset win. That was Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton. This is Trae Young. Every second they share on the floor in Game 4 is going to involve Young hunting Herro on switches. Advantage, Hawks. The pick: Hawks +2

Latest Odds:

Phoenix Suns-2

Phoenix won Game 3 despite making just four of their 26 3-point attempts and losing the rebounding battle by 10. How? DeAndre Ayton killed the the Pelicans for three quarters, and Chris Paul killed in the fourth. The Ayton advantage might vary slightly from game to game. He scored just 10 points in Game 2, for example. Last postseason he really struggled to take advantage of small-ball lineups as a scorer, and he’s improved markedly on that front this season, but he’s not prime Shaq. This is a good matchup for him, but OK, maybe you don’t trust him to score 28 again. Fine.

If you don’t Chris Paul to dominate every single fourth quarter by now, though, you’re just not paying attention. This is a man who has led three separate teams in the past five seasons to the No. 1 net rating in clutch settings. He singlehandedly destroyed the Pelicans in Game 1 and he did so without Devin Booker in Game 3. If you’re picking the Pelicans, it had better be because you think it’s going to be a blowout (and basic shooting regression suggests it probably won’ you are). If you think this game is closed, picking against Paul is flat-out irresponsible. The pick: Suns -2.5

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