Our free NBA picks are out for Monday, April 18th, 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!
Toronto Raptors @ Philadelphia 76ers – 7.30pm ET
It’s Game 2 of the first round series between the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers. In the first game it was Philadelphia that proved too good and was able to use the home court advantage. The 76ers ended up winning 131-111, and Maxey was the high scorer with 38.
Game 2 of this first round series of the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers and the Raptors are already losing bodies. Scottie Barnes is doubtful after hitting his ankle in a collision with Joel Embiid in Game 1 and Gary Trent Jr. is also slated to miss with a non-COVID illness. That’s two starters missing for a team that lost Game 1 by 20 points and is trying to steal a win on the road before returning home. The Sixers are hoping for a similar result after dominating the first game on the back of Tyrese Maxey and his 38 points. Maxey shot nearly 67% from the field and took a big load off of Joel Embiid’s plate.
Embiid averaged over 30 a game in the regular season, but could get away with not even getting 20 in the comfortable win. The Raptors looked like they just didn’t even belong on the same floor as the Sixers in Game 1 and I don’t think we’ll see much difference on Monday. I like Nick Nurse a lot as a coach but dealing with everything with his team, it’s going to be hard to keep up. Embiid isn’t going to shoot 5-15 ever again in this series or drop less than 20, so now that’s just an extra element for Toronto to have to deal with. It’s possible they steal Game 3 or 4 at home but in Philly I don’t see much of a chance for this shorthanded squad. Give me the Sixers big.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Philadelphia 76ers -7.5 (-106)
We’ve reached Game 2 of this Eastern Conference first round series, and I’ll admit that Game 1 didn’t quite go how I expected. I thought this was going to be a good series, and I do still think it will be, but I also expected it to be close, and we got nothing of the sort in the first game. The Philadelphia 76ers came out to prove a point, and that’s exactly what they did, and the good news for them is that it didn’t take a huge effort from Joel Embiid to get there. You can expect Embiid to get things going again, and that’s going to be another aspect that Toronto has to deal with.
The Raptors, on the other hand, didn’t even look like they belonged there Saturday night, and now that it’s looking like they’re going to be without Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr, this feels like another Philly win. I like Toronto to tighten things up when they return north of the border, but for Game 2 I’m still going with the Sixers with relative ease at home.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Philadelphia 76ers -7.5 (-106)
The Toronto Raptors were absolutely crushed in Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers. Now they will be looking to bounce back in Game 2 and steal a win before heading home back to Canada for Games 3 and 4. Toronto is only a few years removed from winning an NBA Championship and they mostly kept the same core together to give themselves a shot at winning another one. As long as Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet stay healthy, this team is still a threat in my opinion. They will have to shut down Embiid and Harden in this one.
The Philadelphia 76ers may have their best shot to win an NBA Championship this season, but they will have to get past a team that broke their heart in 2019. They took a commanding 1-0 lead over the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 as they beat them by a score of 131-111. Now they will be looking to win their second game at home and take a 2-0 lead heading to the great white north. Embiid and Harden will once again be the key in this one. As for the result of this game, I’m taking the Philadelphia 76ers to get the win.
Tony’s NBA Pick: Philadelphia 76ers (-300)
Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks – 8.30pm ET
The middle game on Monday night’s slate will see the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks go at it for Game 2 of the series. In the first game it was the Jazz that came out victorious, winning 99-93. The high scorer for the Jazz was Mitchell and for the Mavericks it was Brunson.
The Dallas Mavericks had to play Game 1 without their franchise player Luka Doncic and that will once again be the case for Game 2 on Monday. Dallas hung tough for as long as they could, but eventually fell 99-93 to the Utah Jazz at home. The Jazz being able to steal that game on the road was significant and they can really take a stranglehold on the series by winning and taking a 2-0 lead back home to Utah. Dallas has two guys who both step up big in the absence of Luka, in Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie but nothing can replace what Luka does.
That was apparent as the game drew on longer and the Jazz were able to finally take control of the game and win after getting off to a slow start. I do like Jason Kidd as a coach though, and think he will be able to get enough from his team to keep this one close. The home crowd will also be behind them and I’d imagine a bit of desperation is starting to kick in, so I’ll expect a great effort from the Mavs. The 5 points is just too much to lay with this Jazz team that I’m not too big a fan of, so give me Dallas to cover.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Dallas Mavericks +5 (-106)
Luka Doncic is still going to be out for Dallas in Game 2, which is all I need to hear. The Dallas Mavericks fell in Game 1 without Luka in the lineup, and I don’t think that changes here. If he manages to return at some point in the series, things may take a turn, but without him in the lineup, I think the Mavs are in serious trouble, as they’ve been way too reliant on him all year long, and against a Utah team that is extremely balanced, I just don’t think there’s anywhere close to enough to get them over the edge.
Utah snuck away with Game 1 in a close one, but to me, the key was the struggles in the first half. Despite ending with 32 points, Donovan Mitchell didn’t actually play that well, and I think that changes in this game. I expect Mitchell to play better and more efficiently, and I like Utah once again, with the Mavs being without Luka. Dallas may cover the 5 at home, but they don’t get the win.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz (-220)
The Utah Jazz took full advantage of the Dallas Mavericks not having their superstar, Luka Doncic on the court for Game 1 of this first round series. Now they will be looking to take a 2-0 lead and head home to Salt Lake City to close out the series. In Game 1 it was a back and forth contest and in the end the Utah Jazz came out on top by a score of 99-93. Utah is a serious dark horse team to win the NBA championship as long as their core of Gobert, Mitchell, and Conley can remain healthy throughout the postseason.
The Dallas Mavericks will be looking to bounce back in this one after taking a Game 1 loss at home. This one feels like a must win for the Dallas Mavericks because being down 0-2 to the Utah Jazz seems insurmountable at this point. But they will also be without Luka Doncic once again for this one which keeps them at a huge disadvantage for Game 2 already. I look for the Jazz to take full advantage of a Luka Doncic deprived Mavericks team and get the victory here in Game 2 and send them home with a chance at a sweep.
Tony’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz (-220)
Denver Nuggets @ Golden State Warriors – 10pm ET
The Denver Nuggets never really had a chance in the first game in this series against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors pulled away and ended up winning 123-107, and for the Warriors, it was Poole who was the high scorer, while it was Jokic who had the most points for the Nuggets.
The Golden State Warriors brought Stephen Curry back in a limited role in Saturday’s 123-107 win but the return of the former-MVP wasn’t even the story of the game. Jordan Poole continued his crazy run, shooting 9-13 from the field, including 5-7 from three, scoring 30 points in his playoff debut. Klay Thompson added 5 threes of his own, and Draymond Green was finding all the shooters and racking up the assists, ending with 9. Green also did a good job guarding Nikola Jokic on the other end of the floor, holding him to under 50% shooting. Now the Dubs have to finish the job and protect home court by securing Game 2 and shifting all pressure over to Denver to do the same when they return home for Games 3 and 4.
The Warriors could have won Game 1 by 30+ if they kept their foot on the gas but there was no need to. They’ll continue to slowly work Curry back in and with Poole playing how he is, there is no rush. I don’t like this Nuggets team in this matchup and it’s clear the absences of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are really just too much right now. They have nobody other than Jokic and in a playoff environment that’s not enough to compete with a team as experienced and accomplished as the Warriors. Give me the Warriors to blow the Nuggets out again in Game 2.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -7 (-110)
Game 1 of this series was extremely disappointing for the Denver Nuggets. The Golden State Warriors were at home, but with it being Steph Curry’s return after a lengthy absence, it was a chance for the Nuggets to get a much needed win to flip home-court advantage in the series. Instead, they got absolutely worked by Jordan Poole, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, and now I think their odds of flipping home court have dropped dramatically. In Steph’s return, and with him in a limited role, you can’t get destroyed, but that’s exactly what happened. Look for Steph to get things going in Game 2, which adds another piece to the puzzle that Denver has to solve.
For the Nuggets, Nikola Jokic continued to play extremely well, but as expected, it wasn’t enough, as he’s going to need a lot more help in this series if they want any hope of winning. With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter still out, I don’t think they’re getting enough help in this Game 2, which is why I’m taking Golden State with ease once again. Denver hangs around for a while, behind the work of Jokic, but at home in the Bay Area, the Dubs eventually pull away.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -7 (-110)
The Denver Nuggets were completely outclassed against the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of this series. As the Warriors claimed a huge victory by a score of 123-107. Even with Nikola Jokic putting up a great performance, the Nuggets couldn’t overcome Jordan Poole and the Dubs. Now they will have to find a way to regroup in Game 2 or they will face the possibility of being swept in the first round after such a promising season. Jokic will once again have to bring him A-game in this one.
The Golden State Warriors are coming into this one off of another dominating postseason performance in Game 1 of this series. Now they will be looking to repeat that feat in Game 2 and take a 2-0 series lead heading to Denver. Don’t be shocked if Jordan Poole has another spectacular performance in this one after he dropped a 30 spot on the Denver Nuggets in their last game. As for the result of this one, I am taking the Golden State Warriors to pick up the victory over Denver and Nikola Jokic.
Tony’s NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors (-295)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.