NBA picks: Best bets for Tuesday’s playoffs, including Nets taking care of business

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With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now on the books, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will provide daily picks for the duration of the playoffs. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesar’s Sportsbook.

Featured game | Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Let’s put that aside: if you’re picking a winner or against the spread, don’t overcomplicate it. Take the fillets. If you exclude Sunday’s blowout against Team B Milwaukee, Cleveland is 2-10 in its last 12 games. The Nets are 36-19 in games played by Kevin Durant. Even compromised nets are a mismatch for Cleveland, but the books know that and the odds reflect that. There’s not much value here.

But this should be a very high score game. The value here is also limited. A total line of 227 points is certainly steep, but more is always the smart choice here. Cleveland’s defense is giving up 117.3 points per 100 possessions since Jarrett Allen went down, and while Evan Mobley’s absence partly explains that, it’s worth noting that they weren’t much better off with him during this period at 115.4 points per 100 possessions. Cleveland’s defense relies on a few stellar players. Their saves are all offensive. Brooklyn’s offense needs no introduction. Expect a lot of points in this one.

The pick: Over 227 (-110)

Featured game | Minnesota Timberwolves vs Los Angeles Clippers

The Clippers and Timberwolves haven’t played since January and D’Angelo Russell has missed three of four games. We can more or less throw their head-to-head matchups here. Judging the Clippers on statistical merit also seems a bit unfair. Paul George has played five games since Christmas. Norman Powell just got home on Wednesday.

This is going to have to be a speculative pick based on matchups, and on paper Minnesota should have a major advantage here. Ivica Zubac and Isaiah Hartenstein have defended admirably this season, but Karl-Anthony Towns present specific challenges that are going to be difficult for them. There just aren’t many big men comfortable defending him both on the block and on the perimeter. Jarred Vanderbilt is the one true non-threat on the perimeter that the Clippers could slump in the name of doubling Towns, but even that is dangerous play on a team with so many ballhandlers. Add in home-court advantage and the Timberwolves are rightfully favored here.

The choice: Wolves -3 (-110)

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