Wednesday, February 8

NBA picks, best bets: Lean on No. 1 seeds Heat, Suns to prevail Thursday and advance to conference finals

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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.

Featured Game | Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat

I hate to oversimplify, but so much of this series has come down to shooting variance. The Sixers shot 6 of 34 and 8 of 30 from 3-point range in the first two games, and they predictably lost. The Heat shot 7 of 30 and 7 of 35 in the next two and lost both. Game 5 was the closest thing to shooting balance we’ve really seen thus far and the Heat were roughly 11 percentage points better than the Sixers. The truth of this series is that either team could just get hot and steal the next game or two, but with Joel Embiid still not close to 100 percent and James Harden proving his Game 4 breakout was more of an exception than a rule in Game 5, it’s probably safer to just lean on the No. 1 seed with the points and assume that in a more typical game, Jimmy Butler can continue to be the best player in the series and carry the Heat over the top. The pick: Heat +2

Featured Game | Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns

Hey, speaking of outliers, Chris Paul didn’t foul out or commit six turnovers in a half. Turns out, when those things don’t happen, the best team in the NBA can relatively comfortably handle a No. 4 seed. We now have three games of evidence supporting that fact. If you want to bet on more weird things happening in Dallas, be my guest, but I’m taking Phoenix’s 64-18 track record with the assumption that we’re not going to get anymore outrageous outliers like we got in Games 3 and 4. The pick: Suns -2

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