Our free NBA picks are out for Thursday, April 28th, 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!
Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors – 7pm ET
The series now moves back to Toronto for Game 6, and the Raptors have a great opportunity to level it up, after being 0-3 behind. The 76ers will be looking to win this Game 6 to avoid having to go the distance in the first round, but will have to do it on the road.
Things were looking good after Game 3 for the Philadelphia 76ers in this first round matchup. They were up 3-0 and had a chance to get the sweep and some extra days of rest ahead of a second round matchup with the Miami Heat. Instead, they lost Game 4 on the road and gave the Raptors the confidence to go on the road and win Game 5. Toronto won that game 103-88 without All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet, who is listed doubtful for Game 6. It was once again Pascal Siakam who picked up the slack and led the way, going for 23 points and 10 rebounds with the season on the line. Now Toronto is in a great spot, back at home and you can expect these fans to be electric on Thursday. They didn’t know if they’d get another home game after Game 4 so they won’t take this opportunity to root their team on to a Game 7 for granted.
There are some things in sports that have still yet to happen surprisingly and a team coming back from down 0-3 in a series is still one of them. It has to happen eventually and why not this Raptors team? It’s a team that is uniquely constructed with no real center and a lineup that can roll out 1 guard and 4 forwards so they’re not like any team we’ve seen recently. All the momentum has shifted their way and the one game they did lose at home this series it took a game-winner from Joel Embiid. With Embiid not 100%, the Sixers aren’t the same and the Raptors are taking advantage of their vulnerability. I expect that to continue in Game 6 and the Raptors to force a winner-take-all Game 7.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors (+104)
Is there anyone that actually trusts the Philadelphia 76ers in this one? After leading 3-0, they’ve since gotten destroyed in two straight games, and now they have to hit the road to head north of the border for a Game 6 that could tie the series up at 3. Now part of that could be due to the fact that Joel Embiid is dealing with a torn ligament in his thumb that is going to require attention after the season, but that doesn’t explain the margin of defeat, or the lack of help he’s gotten along the way. On top of that, they also have the coach that has blown the most 3-1 leads in NBA postseason history, and their second star, James Harden, has a reputation for disappearing in big games in the postseason.
Toronto, on the other hand, is riding all the momentum in the world, and should feel good about their chances in this one. It took an Embiid game-winner in OT in Game 3 for Philly to win that one, and since then, the Raptors have been dominating the series. Scottie Barnes is the Rookie of the Year and has been playing reasonably well, while they also have Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam leading the way. This is a Raptors team that has the chance to erase the 0-3 deficit, and with this one at home in Toronto, I think they force a Game 7. The Sixers are in trouble, and despite them leading the series, it feels like they’re the ones with their backs against the wall. Give me the Raptors at home here, though I think it’s closer than the past two games have been.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors (+104)
The Philadelphia 76ers had the perfect chance to grab a sweep over the Toronto Raptors. But now they find themselves with their backs against the wall as they are one game away from another winner take all Game 7 against the Toronto Raptors. The 76ers are a tough team to beat, but now they have to get back on track in this one if they want to avoid ending their season early once again. They will need another big game from Embiid and Harden.
The Toronto Raptors are coming into this one with a huge opportunity to force a Game 7 in this series. They looked dead in the water only a few short days ago and now they look like they might come back from 0-3 down to win the series. They will need another big game from Pascal Siakam in this one to stay alive, and I think they will get it to survive and force a Game 7 with the Philadelphia 76ers. As for the result of this one, I am taking the Toronto Raptors to get the win.
Tony’s NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors (+104)
Phoenix Suns @ New Orleans Pelicans – 7.30pm ET
It’s been a topsy-turvy series so far, with the Phoenix Suns and the New Orleans Pelicans trading wins and losses for the first five games. If we follow this same pattern, it is the Pelicans that should win Game 6, as the Suns proved too good in the last game, 112-97.
The Phoenix Suns will get their first crack at closing out this series with the New Orleans Pelicans after winning Game 5 at home to take a 3-2 lead. Mikal Bridges led the way with 31 points while Chris Paul bounced back from his 4 point Game 4 to go off for 22 and 11 assists. It was a big defensive effort down the stretch to secure the win for the Suns, who only allowed one field goal in the final five minutes and none in the final three. This is a Pelicans team that has already faced two elimination games though, in the play-in tournament against the Spurs and Clippers and came out on top in both. I expect them to put up a big fight at home to try and keep the season alive.
There will once again be no Devin Booker for the Suns and New Orleans will look to take advantage. They have some scrappers on this team in Herbert Jones and Jose Alvarado who cause a lot of problems defensively for this very talented Suns team. The scrapping and clawing can only get you so far and in the end talent usually wins out. That’s what the Suns can bank on and their veteran point guard CP3 knows the unpredictability of a Game 7, so he won’t even let it get to that point. Look to him to have another big game in this series to close it on Thursday in 6.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns (-126)
Let’s take a chance in this one. The Phoenix Suns managed to get a big win in Game 5 at home to reclaim a 3-2 series lead over New Orleans, and now they travel to NOLA looking to go ahead and wrap up the series. However, I don’t actually think they get it done. The Suns are still without Devin Booker, while they’ve looked pretty good at home in this series, they’ve struggled just a bit on the road, and I think the struggles may continue. They used a massive game from Mikal Bridges in Game 4 to get the win, along with DeAndre Ayton and Chris Paul playing pretty well, but on the road in New Orleans, I don’t think they get the same kind of performance, which could open the door for a Pelicans victory to push us to a Game 7.
For the Pels, the key is going to be how well can their rookies, Jose Alvarado and Herb Jones, compliment the guys that we already expect to have good games, like Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum. Ingram has been unstoppable in this series so far, and that’s going to have to continue in this elimination game for them, though just him won’t be enough to get them over the edge. The other thing I’m interested in seeing is if Jonas Valanciunas can prove to be something other than a liability on the defensive end. We know the points and rebounds will almost certainly be there, but can he manage to slow down Ayton enough to gain an advantage. If they can get a decent performance from all of these guys, I like New Orleans to get the win at home, as this is a series that they’ve already kept closer than expected, and they’ve shown the ability to keep things interesting in New Orleans as they feed off the home crowd. I think this one ends up being close, but give me the Pelicans to win a tight one, and force a Game 7 in the series that no one expected.
Noah’s NBA Pick: New Orleans Pelicans (+108)
The Phoenix Suns are coming into this game looking to close out this series after a huge Game 5 win to grab a 3-2 lead in the series. Phoenix is still one of the best teams in the National Basketball Association but they had a lot more trouble than people would’ve expected. When Devin Booker is healthy they are a very tough team to beat, so they should return to normal throughout the remainder of their playoff run. Phoenix should have no problem getting the win in this one.
The New Orleans Pelicans showed a lot of heart throughout this series. As they weren’t even supposed to be here and most people had written them off around the All-Star break. However, the clock looks like it’s going to strike midnight soon as they are on the brink of elimination in this one. They will need a big time performance from CJ McCollum to keep them alive. Unfortunately I think it’s too little too late for the Pelicans, as I look for the Suns to put the final nail in the coffin in the series.
Tony’s NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns (-126)
Dallas Mavericks @ Utah Jazz – 10pm ET
It’s Game 6 of the series between the Dallas Mavericks and the Utah Jazz, with the Mavericks holding a 3-2 lead, they can close out the series tonight, although they will have to do it in Utah. The Mavericks got a dominating win in their last game, 102-77, to get just one win away from the second round.
The Utah Jazz lost Game 5 on the road to fall behind 2-3 in this first round series with the Dallas Mavericks. It could have been worse though, as it was feared that they had also lost star Donovan Mitchell to a lower body injury but it appears he is all systems go for this Game 6 elimination game back in Utah. The Mavs will try and close this series out and avoid blowing this 3-2 lead like they did last year against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Jazz will be happy to be back in their home gym after displaying statistically the worst 3-point shooting performance in NBA playoff history in Game 5.
As a team they shot 3 for 30 from three in the 77-102 loss and it will take a huge improvement in that area to force a Game 7. I have not been sold on this Utah Jazz team all season and I’m not surprised to see them on the brink of a first round exit. The Mavericks smell blood in the water and I don’t think they will let this series get extended any longer as Luka and the boys remember the pain from last season. Even without Doncic, the Mavericks were able to take two of the first three games and now with him as the best player on the floor, it’s his time to close this out.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Dallas Mavericks (-108)
I give up predicting this series. This is a series that I’m currently 0-5 in predicting, so fair warning, you’re probably better off taking the opposite of whatever pick I give. The safe bet would have obviously been taking the Utah Jazz to take care of business when Luka Doncic wasn’t active early on in the series, and instead that didn’t work out. Then, taking the Mavs with Luka’s return didn’t work out for me either, as the Jazz somehow got the one-point win in that one. Then, expecting a better game in Game 5 from Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, especially Mitchell, I took Utah, only to watch them get crunched in easy fashion. Now it’s being reported that Donovan Mitchell was questionable for this one due to a lower-body injury, but he has since confirmed that he is going to be good to go in this one. That’s great news for Utah, but I’m questioning how much he’s going to actually be able to give, so this seems like a great chance for the Dallas Mavericks to go ahead and close out the series, even on the road in Utah.
Dallas has Luka Doncic, and as long as he’s on the floor, there’s always a good chance that they pull out the win, as he has the ability to completely take over the basketball game. When you combine the big night that he’s going to put together, with the emergence of Jalen Brunson being an absolute monster for the Mavs in this series as well, I just don’t know why you would lean Utah here. But then again, Utah has proven me wrong before (all five games of this series so far) so take all of this advice with a grain of salt. I like Dallas here on the road, as I think they just have too much fire power based on what we’ve seen in this series.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Dallas Mavericks (-108)
The Dallas Mavericks are one game away from putting this series to rest for the season as they look to wrap things up on the road in Game 6 in Salt Lake City. After another terrific Luka Doncic performance in Game 5 that led to a blowout win for Dallas, all of the momentum has swung the way of the Mavs. Now they will be looking to advance and take on the winner of the series between the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans in the second round.
The Utah Jazz are facing a must win game in this one against the Dallas Mavericks. As they will need some huge games from Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, and Rudy Gobert to force this series into a seventh game in Dallas. They are very capable of getting the win in this game at home. They have been a serious dark horse team all season long and I can easily see them getting the win in this one. That is why I’m taking Utah to get the win in this game and extend the series.
Tony’s NBA Pick: Utah Jazz (-108)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.