NBA Playoffs Round 1: Free NBA Picks Today for Friday, April 22nd, 2022

NBA Playoffs Round 1: Free NBA Picks Today for Friday, April 22nd, 2022
Fri 22nd April 2022

Our free NBA picks are out for Friday, April 22nd, 2022! Make sure you check our expert NBA picks before the action kicks off.

Look below to find our free NBA picks for the three Round 1 games on today’s schedule!

Miami Heat @ Atlanta Hawks – 7pm ET

It’s Game 3 of the series between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks, and the Heat currently have a 2-0 lead. The Hawks will be hoping that being back in Atlanta will provide them with the lift they need to get a win here. The Heat won the first game, 115-91, as well as the second game, 115-105.

Jeffery Thomas

The Atlanta Hawks will head back home in an 0-2 hole in the series and with hopes of defending their home court to stay alive. Atlanta won 20 of their last 23 home games to end the year, which is the best mark since January 17. A comeback here would go against all historical trends, as the Hawks have not ever come back from an 0-2 deficit in their franchise’s history (0-26) add in the fact that teams up 2-0 go on to win the series almost 93% of the time in NBA history. 

The Heat themselves are 17-0 in their franchise’s history when up 2-0 and are 5-1 against the Hawks this year so it’s going to be a steep task for Atlanta to get back in this series. The Hawks will be hungry in Game 3 but hunger won’t be enough to get over the 1 seeded Miami Heat. Both of the first two games the Heat have found creative ways to defend Trae Young, which forces the other guys to step up but the supporting cast for the Heat is vastly superior to the Hawks’. I don’t think this series will be a sweep but Game 3 probably won’t be the one the Hawks take and I think they’ll head into the weekend in a 0-3 hole.

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat (-124)

Noah Dunlap

Can returning to Atlanta save the Hawks from the ugliness that the first two games of this series has produced for them? They’ve quite simply been bullied for much of this series, as they’re just playing a better team, seeing as they’re taking on the one-seed from the East. The good news for Hawks fans is that they’ve been solid at home this year, especially in their last 23, as they’ve gone 20-3 in that stretch, but not much of that was against a postseason Heat team that is balanced, healthy, and looks fully engaged. Trae Young is going to have to improve on his performance so far through this series, and while I think he will, I’m not sure there’s enough help for it to make much of a difference. 

On the other side, the Miami Heat have just been outstanding. We knew from the beginning that they had the depth and balance to be a potential favorite to win the title, but they have had times this season where they just looked too inconsistent, which was the biggest question for this series. With them answering the call to this point, as they’ve seen virtually everyone from their core, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Bam Adebayo, playing reasonably well, I think this is a team that is just too much for an Atlanta team that looks outmatched. Even in Atlanta, I’m taking Miami by 8+, as I think they continue to cruise. 

Noah’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat (-124)

Tony Battalio

The Atlanta Hawks have their backs against the wall heading into this third game of the series. As the Heat were able to still pull out a victory in Game 2 even after Trae Young dropped 25 points. Now they will be looking to get their first win of the series to avoid going down 0-3 because if they do they will most likely end up getting swept. Atlanta put together some great performances in the play-in round with two big wins over Charlotte Hornets and the Cleveland Cavaliers. I personally expected them to push this series to six games but at this point I can no longer see that happening. 

The Miami Heat are looking like the most dominant team in the Eastern Conference at the moment. As they have taken a commanding 2-0 lead over the Atlanta Hawks in this series. They will be looking to partially close the door in this third game with another win as the series hits the road to Atlanta. Jimmy Butler dropped 45 points in Game 2 and if he can do that consistently then not many teams in the National Basketball Association are going to beat the Miami Heat in a seven game series over the course of these playoffs. As for the result of this one, I’m taking the Heat to pick up the victory in Game 3.  

Tony’s NBA Pick: Miami Heat (-124)

Milwaukee Bucks @ Chicago Bulls – 8.30pm ET

For the middle game on Friday night’s slate, we head to Chicago to see Game 3 between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks got the win in Game 1, 93-86, but it was a surprising victory to the Bulls in Game 2, to level the series, as they won 114-110, thanks to an explosive performance from DeRozan, who put up 41 points.

Jeffery Thomas

The Milwaukee Bucks failed to defend home court, losing Game 2 on Wednesday and also losing Khris Middleton in the process. Middleton sprained his MCL and will have to miss the remainder of this series. That puts even more weight on the shoulders of Giannis who had 33 points, 18 rebounds and 9 assists in Game 2. His performance was outshined though by DeMar DeRozan’s career night though, as DDR went off for 41 points to lead the Bulls to just their 2nd win over the Bucks in the last 19 meetings. Now with Middleton out, the series takes on a new look and gives the Bulls a legitimate chance at taking down the defending champs. 

Defending home court will go a long way towards determining this series. The Bulls barely squeaked by with DeMar going for a career-high and I just don’t see him doing that again. The Bucks had a lot of adversity in their championship run last season and this is just another test for them. They’re accustomed to needing guys to step up in big games and I think their experience will be the difference in this pivotal Game 3 that will likely determine the winner of this series. Give me the Bucks here to get a huge road win.

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (-138)

Noah Dunlap

This is a series that has gotten extremely interesting over the past two days. The Milwaukee Bucks were a team that many people had coming out of the Eastern Conference, but now with how things have shifted, they may have their hands full in the first round against Chicago. The Bucks blew a 17-point lead in Game 1, but still managed to hang on in a close one, but then lost home-court advantage, as they slipped up in Game 2, in a game that saw Khris Middleton go out. It’s now been revealed that Mid has a MCL-sprain, and is out for at least two weeks, when he’ll be re-evaluated. There’s no question that Milwaukee has enough to take care of this series regardless, but it puts much more pressure on Giannis to have to be great, so that’ll certainly be an interesting thing to keep an eye on. 

The other side of this is how does Chicago respond now that they’ve tied the series up, and caught a break with the Mid news. DeMar DeRozan was outstanding in Game 2, and the main reason they evened the series up, but that great play is going to have to continue if the Bulls have a chance. They also have Zach LaVine, who can be a force, but he’s struggled quite a bit this season, at least compared to expectations, which makes you wonder about how much of an impact he’ll have in this one. I still like Milwaukee in the series, but for this one, I’m actually going to take Chicago to take a 2-1 lead, as I like DeRozan and company to use the home environment in the Windy City to sneak by in this one. Take the Bulls in an extremely close one.  

Noah’s NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls (+118)

Tony Battalio

The Milwaukee Bucks look like they are going to have some problems defending their NBA championship at the moment. They have a 1-1 tie in this series with the Chicago Bulls and of course their Game 2 loss could be nothing more than just a slight mishap but it could also show some issues with this team. Now they will be without Khris Middleton for a week or so as well, so it brings up even more questions for the defending champions. Now Giannis will have to step up in this third game to grab themselves a 2-1 lead. 

The Chicago Bulls were one of the most consistent teams in the league this season and as long as DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine stay healthy, they are a serious dark horse contender to win it all. They finished the regular season with 46 victories and easily could’ve been the number one seed if not for a few slumps here and there. In Game 2 they looked great as they picked up a 114-110 victory. Now they will get a chance to take two games at home. As for the result of this game, I am taking the Milwaukee Bucks to get the win. 

Tony’s NBA Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (-138)

Phoenix Suns @ New Orleans Pelicans – 9.30pm ET

The series between the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans now moves to New Orleans, and to everyone’s surprise, the Suns are not 2-0 up, the series is actually level. After the Suns got a fairly comfortable win in Game 1, 110-99, it was the Pelicans who simply outclassed the Suns in Game 2, winning 125-114.

Jeffery Thomas

The Phoenix Suns will have to finish out this series without their star Devin Booker after he dropped 31 points in Game 2 but suffered a Grade 1 hamstring strain in the process. The Pelicans now have some hope after tying the series at 1 all and heading home for Games 3 and 4. Without Booker this season, the Suns went 8-6 and with 3 more losses they would become just the 6th 1 seed in NBA history to ever lose in the first round to an 8 seed. The Suns didn’t miss a beat in the middle of the year when Chris Paul was out with his finger injury, but the absence of Devin Booker causes a totally different set of challenges. 

He is one of the best scorers in the league and there’s just nobody who can step up and take over that role for him. Despite that fact, I still give the massive roster and coaching edge to the Suns who should be able to ride their veteran point guard Chris Paul to an important road win in Game 3. I don’t believe in the Pelicans enough to pick them in this spot so give me the more experienced and battle tested Suns in this one.

Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns (-130)

Noah Dunlap

This is yet another series that now has an injury providing a major storyline moving forward. The New Orleans Pelicans used a huge second half in Game 2, partially due to Devin Booker going out, to tie the series up heading back to NOLA, but now are going to have to continue that run if they plan on capitalizing on the win, and taking advantage of their new-found home-court advantage. The key for this Pels squad is obviously CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram, who both had huge performances in Game 2, but they’re also going to need a better night from Jonas Valanciunas. The question for me in this series is whether they look to bring back a guy like Zion, who while not 100%, has the athleticism that could continue to put the Phoenix Suns on their heels, especially with the Booker injury. 

Phoenix is in a similar situation that Milwaukee finds themselves in right now, as they clearly have the talent to still take care of the series, but are now on their heels just a bit, with Book out for at least Games 3 and 4. The concerning part for the Suns right now has to be the fact that they didn’t actually play poor basketball in the second half of Game 2, it was more the notion that New Orleans always had an answer. Chris Paul and DeAndre Ayton certainly won’t back down, but without Book, and now hitting the road heading to NOLA for 3 and 4, this is an odd situation for Phoenix to find themselves in. Despite some of the concerns, I like Phoenix to use the experience and maturity to get them over the hump, but I think it comes in really close fashion, with this one coming down to the wire. Give me the Suns by 5-7. 

Noah’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns -2 (-110)

Tony Battalio

The Phoenix Suns will have to find a way to get a couple of wins without Devin Booker in this series. They come into this one having been the best team in the National Basketball Association over the course of the regular season. Now they’ve run into a very motivated New Orleans Pelicans team. In Game 2 Devin Booker went down with an injury and now they will have to find a way to get the job done without him. Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton will have to step up in this one. 

The New Orleans Pelicans changed their entire season around when they made a deal for CJ McCollum before the trade deadline. Now they find themselves in the playoffs and in a 1-1 tie heading into Games 3 of this series with the best team in the National Basketball Association. As long as McCollum remains healthy, I could easily see this team grabbing another win or even two at home in this series. As for the result of this one, I think the Pelicans get the win. 

Tony’s NBA Pick: New Orleans Pelicans (+110)

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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.

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