NBA live betting during the conference finals has been thrilling, with a lot of game action. We can use clear trends in the Eastern and Western conferences to make winning live NBA picks for this week.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are on the edge of elimination, and while they will lose their respective series, each offers us reasons to trust their in-play value.
If pregame betting is becoming stale, read on and discover two teams that are great in-play betting candidates this week and beyond.
Let’s look at recent results where live sports betting fans could have made some quick cash.
Nuggets vs Lakers Series
The Los Angeles Lakers are on the brink of elimination after suffering a third straight loss to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. They lost Game 3 after closing as home favorites with the NBA spread at three points.
One reason the Lakers are about to see their season end is poor play in the fourth quarter of this series. It’s a surprise considering LA averaged more fourth-quarter points than any other team in the league during the regular season.
LeBron James is one cause of the Lakers’ current situation. In Game 2, James scored just six points in the fourth quarter and went 0-for-3 from behind the arc. These six points all came on shots in the paint within six feet of the rim, and James didn’t attempt another deep ball after missing his first three at the beginning of the quarter.
LeBron James in the 4th quarter this postseason:
5% 3PT pic.twitter.com/JAy1zWhLtb
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 19, 2023
James’ shooting issues have plagued the Lakers all postseason. At one point after Game 1 in Memphis, James missed 19 consecutive shots in the fourth quarter. That’s the longest streak by any player in the last 25 years.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets are closing out games effectively, with Jamal Murray scoring 23 fourth-quarter points in Game 2 and Denver outscoring LA 35-26 in Game 3 in the final frame.
The NBA odds list the Lakers as favorites on Monday but think twice before you consider betting on them to win the fourth quarter.
Celtics vs Heat Series
The Boston Celtics are in a similar historically bad spot to the Lakers, with three straight losses to start the Conference Final. If both lose Game 4, the Conference Round will end in a sweep on both sides for the first time in NBA history.
Unlike the Lakers, the Celtics aren’t struggling in the fourth quarter. Instead, they’ve chosen to be useless right up until it was too late to make a comeback.
The Celtics are averaging the most fourth-quarter points of any team in the Conference Finals with 33 per game. The Miami Heat are averaging just 27.9 points per game in the fourth during this series.
Even in their Game 3 blowout loss, the Celtics beat the Heat 39-35 in the fourth quarter and are 2-1 against the NBA spread during this series.
Game 4 is the most crucial matchup of the season for Boston, and they have no other option but to win. Desperation is a powerful motivator, and I expect the Celtics to keep scoring well in the fourth quarter with their back’s up against the wall.
Miami is doing its part to help the Celtics after allowing an average of 33.1 PPG during the fourth quarter of the ECF. The Heat also averaged the fewest points in the fourth quarter (26.5) of games during the 2023 regular season.