What an opening day of the NBA Playoffs, with thrilling games throughout the day. Fantasy Alarm NBA Best Bets went three-for-five and returned exactly a unit in profit. The Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves scored 215 points, 0.5 more than the total line offered. One free throw difference in a successful bet and an unsuccessful bet. A half-point was also the difference in a 1.0 and 2.9 unit profit day. It is mind boggling that the sportsbook can be so accurate on a total.

There are four games today, two of which are expected blowouts and two are expected to be to the wire. The Boston Celtics host the Miami Heat beginning at 1:10 PM ET, followed by the Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers. The Milwaukee Bucks host the Indiaina Pacers in what is the closest spread of the day. The night wraps up with the New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder

There are two games with the top seeds today, and the odds reflect it. Despite that there are several great bets, which should bring a profit. Fantasy Alarm wagers on three of the games today, and the Bet of the Day comes from the first game.




Here is a player that you haven’t seen in the column this year, but it's the playoffs! Just like the teams playing we need to have a new strategy to attack the books. Payton Pritchard is just the guy to help. 

The Boston Celtics have cruised their way to first place in the Eastern Conference. In doing so several of their starters were able to rest during the last two weeks of the season. Payton Pritchard has benefitted from said rest. Although he was regularly in the rotation and could be considered Boston’s best bench player, he is relatively unknown outside of Boston and fantasy basketball managers. 

Despite that he has been a critical part of the Celtics success. He was drafted in 2020 and has experienced being to the NBA Finals as well as the heartbreak of last year’s Eastern Conference loss to the team they are playing in the first round, the Miami Heat. The Heat won their second play-in game and advanced to play the Celtics. They could be tired or they could play great, but one thing is certain, they will be without Jimmy Butler, the leader of their team. 

Pritchard has been on fire lately, and he has been their last second go-to guy throughout the season. That could be surprising to some, but if you have watched the Celtics you know this to be true. He has attempted 382 three pointers this season and been successful on 147 of those attempts. He has been on fire lately, with a small uptick in playing time. He has also made two or more three’s in his last six games played. 

Jrue Holiday is an amazing point guard, but Pritchard will still play minutes in this game. Should this game become a blowout, Pritchard would play even more minutes. He doesn’t hesitate to let it fly from behind the arc, and is encouraged to do so. It’s not every playoff game you get to bet so confidently on a bench player, but Pritchard has several avenues to make two baskets from deep today.



Jayson Tatum is the unquestioned leader of the Boston Celtics. He has already put himself amongst the greatest Celtics of all time. Much like Paul Pierce’s career, the Larry O’Brien trophy seems always at his fingertips, yet never in grasp. Paul did win his, and Tatum still has plenty of time to win his.

Today he plays a familiar foe, the Miami Heat. It seems these two organizations meet in the playoffs every year. Tatum has had great scoring success against a tough defensive team, and he has averaged 26.9 points per game this season. However, he hasn’t scored over his average since March 28th, almost a month.

Part of it is he hasn’t needed to, the other part is Tatum is maturing in his seventh season. He has taken on a facilitator role, and the additions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis have changed his role as well. Jaylen Brown and Tatum have a rhythm that very few players possess in the NBA, yet Holiday is a true point guard, and Porzingis is a true scorer. This allows Tatum to rely on the teammates more, even Derrick White has improved his scoring this season.

Tatum could score less, and play better in this playoff although that could be confusing to some. Then again he can score at will too. It’s really up to him, but there are parts of his game that remind me of Jason Kidd, but Kidd is not 6’ 8” and could not attack the rim as effortlessly. Should his teammates' scoring percentage be high to start the game, this should be an easy cover. There are several avenues for Tatum to have less than 27 points today.



The Dallas Mavericks travel to Crypto.com Arena to play the Los Angeles Clippers. An epic rivalry continues as this is the third playoff meeting in five years. The Clippers, more or less, look the same as they did in those other playoff runs, with the addition of Russell Westbrook. The Mavericks have several new faces, including Daniel Gafford

Jon Impemba, who is the co-host of Fantasy Alarm’s NBA DFS show, stated that the additions of Gafford and PJ Washington were some of the best mid-season moves by any franchise. They both have lived up to the praise, and changed the trajectory of the Mavericks season.

Gafford’s point line is dependent on his minutes and pick-and-roll game with Luka Doncic. Yet he has proven capable of scoring 10 or more points in most games with the Mavericks. He takes high percentage shots, and usually will have someone smaller on him, Ivica Zubac being the exception. 

In games over the last month, if Gafford has played 24 minutes, he has scored 10 or more points. It’s that simple really, seven of his last 13 games he has played over 24 minutes and scored at least 10 points. Only in one of six games below 24 minutes, did he score 10 points. 

It’s the playoffs, and Dallas’ rotations should tighten up, implying that Gafford will see more minutes. Kawhi Leonard could also be out, which would give Gafford an advantage as Zubac will see more minutes matched up with Gafford. After several losing seasons with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, look for Gafford to play with joy and enthusiasm. Put a unit on the big man to ‘throw it down.’


Something reliable is truly undervalued in our society. We do not appreciate all the comforts that make everything seem so reliable: a refrigerator, watching NBA games from a portable device,  the seasons changing, and Jonas Valanciunas

Valanciunas has seen an uptick in minutes since the play-in tournament. He played 20 minutes against the Lakers and 27 minutes against the Sacramento Kings. He also has recorded 10 or more rebounds in those games.

Our favorite first quarter rebounding bettor is back, but now has an entire game to earn nine rebounds. The Pelicans are playing against the first place Oklahoma City Thunder, who are well rested for this game. The Thunder are a poor rebounding team, allowing the sixth-most rebounds per game in the NBA. They allow 52.9 per game and Jonas Valanciunas could grab at least 20% of their average against a small lineup.

Chet Holmgren lived up to his hype, but the tape shows his difficulty with big, strong centers. Valanciunas is listed as 6’ 11” 265 pounds, but he’s closer to 275 at this point. He is going to out muscle Holmgren, and dominate the paint while in the game. This is also the veteran's 12th seaso, and his minutes were drastically cut back throughout the year to save him for the playoffs.

This could be the last opportunity for Valanciunas to make an impact in a playoff series. The loss of Zion Williamson is a huge blow for the Pelicans. And the responsibility to fill the void falls mostly on Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram

The books have not adjusted for his playing time, and it is flat out disrespectful to have Valanciunas' rebounding line at 8.5 against the sixth-worst rebounding team in the league. Put a unit on the Lithuanian to deliver tonight. Put another unit on his double-double if you are feeling lucky.