Top 3 NBA Betting Picks for Monday, May 31st (2021)

As the NBA playoffs progress, some teams prove to be what we thought they were, while others manage to exceed expectations and pull off big wins. The No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies fall into the latter category, as their Game 1 upset of the No. 1 Utah Jazz has made their series far more competitive than the corresponding matchup in the Eastern Conference, as the No. 8 Washington Wizards seem ready to fall to the No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers.

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1. 76ers -8.5 | -110 at FD Sportsbook

This play should be a safe one. The Wizards are down 3-0 to the 76ers, and Russell Westbrook is working through an ankle ailment. It’s clear that Washington is on their way out of the playoffs.

For some perspective, Philadelphia won Game 2 by a 25-point margin and Game 3 by a 29-point gap. The return to Washington wasn’t enough to help the Wizards keep things close, and there is no indication that they’ll be able to do so tonight. During the regular season, the 76ers even walloped the Wizards by a 26-point margin in the Capital One Arena, too.

Although Russell Westbrook is an all-time great, he doesn’t have the proven talent around him as he did in Oklahoma City and Houston. The gap in quality personnel dooms Washington to an early playoff exit, and I expect frustrations to boil over as the Wizards lose another game by double-digits.

2. 76ers Second Quarter Over 30.5 | -115 at FD Sportsbook

Here’s a weird trend: the 76ers haven’t scored fewer than 34 second-quarter points against the Wizards all series. They have posted totals of 34 (Game 1), 36 (Game 2), and 36 (Game 3) thus far, yet this total sits well below that threshold.

In the regular season, the 76ers scored 28 (Dec. 23), 49 (Jan. 6), and 31 (Mar. 12) second-quarter points against the Wizards. They have consistently produced offensively in the back end of the first half — they rank fifth in second-quarter scoring on the year — so these numbers aren’t just a fluke.

Ultimately, Washington’s putrid second-quarter defense is what should sell you on this prop. The Wizards surrender the fourth-most points per second quarter, the worst of any team in the playoffs. I suspect that the 76ers will turn this game into a blowout during the second frame, so consider making this a single-game parlay with the pick above.

3. Ja Morant Over 25.5 Points | -102 at FD Sportsbook

I usually like to get contrarian in the playoffs, but I’ll buy into the Ja Morant hype and play his points over tonight. The Grizzlies have a lot more fight in them than most of us expected, and the fact that they’ve forced at least a Game 5 is somewhat impressive.

Morant’s performance is a key reason for their success. He has recorded point totals of 26 (Game 1), 47 (Game 2), and 28 (Game 3), all of which sit above this threshold, yet the juice remains near the plus money.

It’s also worth noting that Morant found success against the Jazz in the regular season. He recorded totals of 32 (Mar. 26), 12 (Mar. 27), and 36 (Mar. 31) back then, which also points to value on this prop. The Jazz may surrender the fourth-fewest points per game to point guards, but Morant has their number, and taking his over isn’t a bad move — especially in a crucial Game 4.

Today’s Plus-Money Prop: Ja Morant 30+ Points | +225 at FD Sportsbook

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Isaiah Sirois is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Isaiah, check out his archive and follow him @is_sirois.

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