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2023 NBA playoffs: Odds, picks, betting tips for Saturday

Is there any reason not to roll with Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets on Saturday? AP

ESPN's fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN's proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for Saturday, April 29, are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.


What you need to know for Saturday's game

The second round of the NBA playoffs begins this evening in Colorado as the West's top-seeded Denver Nuggets host the Phoenix Suns in a series that bodes to have real title implications. The spread for this contest, like the tight series odds, indicates a competitive game. With the total hovering around 226 points on most books, there should be a good bit of offense on display.

Since this is the lone game of the day, there are unique showdown formats on both DraftKings and FanDuel. While the scoring and roster rules are a bit different for each platform, each requires designation of high-value players such as the captain spot on DraftKings or "STAR" on FanDuel. Since these roster spots include modifiers to increase fantasy scoring, chasing chalk for these spots is often the wisest call.

Since single-game formats are inherently star-driven, developing "stars and scrubs" strategies for lineups in these contests could prove rewarding. Rostering bankable superstars Nikola Jokic or Kevin Durant will consume a big percentage of your budget, which means ancillary options such as Michael Porter Jr., Bruce Brown, Torrey Craig, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope could emerge as differentiators.

It's hard to fade Jokic in really any capacity this evening. After all, the two-time MVP averaged more than 30 points and a triple-double in two games against Phoenix this season.

-- Jim McCormick


Game of the night

Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets
Game 1: 8:30 p.m. ET


Records (Against the Spread)
Suns: 45-37 (42-38-2)
Nuggets: 53-29 (44-37-1)

Line: Nuggets (-3) Total: 226
BPI Projection: Nuggets by 3.8
Money Line: Suns (+130), Nuggets (-155)

Injury Report:
Suns: None reported
Nuggets: None reported
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Nikola Jokic over 38.5 points+rebounds. The Nuggets will attack the Suns inside. Neither Deandre Ayton nor Bismack Biyombo should be a problem for Jokic. So far in the postseason, he's averaging 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds. This season, Jokic surpassed this line twice in two games against the Suns. The Nuggets will lean heavily on the big man in this series. -- Eric Moody

Best bet: Devin Booker over 41.5 points+assists+rebounds. Booker averaged 43.2 minutes per game against the Clippers, and that trend should continue in this series since Monty Williams isn't confident in the Suns' bench. During the postseason, Booker has averaged 37.2 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.0 rebounds per game, and there's no standout defender on the Nuggets to slow him down. -- Moody

Best bet: Over 227.0. There are a lot of playmakers on both teams so we're probably going to see a lot of points in Game 1. Even though the Nuggets were the better team during the regular season, the Suns have been better lately since acquiring Durant. The total has gone over in six of Phoenix's last eight games. In order to keep up with this dynamic Suns offense, the Nuggets need to get off to a quick start. -- Moody