NBA Playoffs expert picks, odds for Tuesday's Game 5s: Pacers at Knicks, Timberwolves at Nuggets (2024)

The NBA Playoffs head into two Game 5s on Tuesday night, with two tied series. First, the New York Knicks will attempt to lock back in against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Then, the Denver Nuggets head back home after two road wins against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In both series, the winds seem to have shifted. The Knicks and Timberwolves looked faded in Games 3 and 4 after going up 2-0. The Knicks-Pacers series saw its first blowout in Game 4, while Timberwolves-Nuggets was relatively close on Sunday, but looked like Denver’s game from the second quarter on.


But this is the NBA Playoffs, so there can always be another momentum swing. Maybe the Timberwolves just needed a gut check? Maybe the Knicks can rediscover their fire despite their banged-up status?

Here’s a look at Tuesday’s NBA Playoff games with staff picks, odds and previews.

All odds fromBetMGM.Find the best deals on StubHub for tickets.

No. 6 Indiana Pacers at No. 2 New York Knicks

How to watch:

8 p.m. ET on TNT

Series tied 2-2

Series odds: Pacers -135, Knicks +110

The Knicks’ depth problems have come calling. For three games in this series, the action has been close throughout, with the Knicks fighting through injuries to take a tightly contested 2-0 lead before heading to Indiana for Game 3.

But since then, the cracks have started to open up. In Game 3, the Knicks lost a game that was tied in the final minute, but Game 4 was a blowout. The Pacers exploited a tired, banged-up Knicks core, still missing OG Anunoby, and went up 34-14 after the first quarter. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Indiana had a 38-point lead, and most of the starters were sitting.

The Pacers limited the Knicks to 33.7 percent shooting from the field and 18.9 percent from three. Brunson, who still hasn’t fully recovered from a foot injury, had 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting and 0-of-5 from three. With the starters looking beat, they called on their bench, with Miles McBride and Alec Burks playing 32 minutes and 23 minutes, respectively. McBride had 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Burks had 20 points, five rebounds and two assists.

But the Knicks were uncharacteristically listless. The Athletic’s Knicks beat writer Fred Katz put it this way: “The Knicks did not get back in transition. The Pacers beat them down the floor nearly every time they could. The Knicks missed defensive rotations. They failed to grab loose balls. They were short on their jump shots.”


And it can’t all be blamed on injuries, though they obviously play a big role. But the Pacers just executed better; they played a physical game, kept up a fast pace and hit shots. They looked invigorated. Tyrese Haliburton led the team with 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting and four 3-pointers. T.J. McConnell came off the bench and added 15 points and 10 assists.

The Knicks are favored for Game 5, but those two wins in Indiana have made the Pacers a small favorite to advance.

Expert picks for Pacers at Knicks

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No. 3 Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 2 Denver Nuggets

How to watch:

10:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Series tied 2-2

Series odds:Nuggets -185, Timberwolves +150

Sunday was a big “uh-oh” moment for the Timberwolves as the series momentum appears to have fully swung in the Nuggets’ favor. The Athletic’s Zach Harper gave them a 4 out of 5 on his Playoff Panic Meter.

The Timberwolves’ aggressive approach stymied the Nuggets in the first two games, but now it seems Nikola Jokić and Co. have turned that energy against the younger team. Minnesota had the No. 1 defense in the NBA for the entire regular season, and for two games, it seemed like they had figured out how to defend the defending champions.

But Denver put a stop to that. The Nuggets shot well over 50 percent from the field in Games 3 and 4. On Sunday, Jokić had 35 points on 15-of-26 shooting, plus seven rebounds and seven assists. Aaron Gordon made his first 10 shots and ended the game with 27 points (11-of-12), seven rebounds and six assists.

It’s not that the Timberwolves’ star wasn’t on. Anthony Edwards had a game-high 44 points, including five threes out of eight attempts. He added five rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block. But he didn’t have a ton of help offensively from the rest of the T’wolves’ starters. Mike Conley was the next-highest scorer at 15 points and nine assists. Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns did hit the boards with 14 and 12 rebounds, respectively, but Towns was just 5-of-18 from the field.


This is where playoff (in)experience is really starting to show. Will the two losses at home trigger enough soul-searching for the Wolves to lock in as they head back to Denver on Tuesday? Here’s what our experts think:

Expert picks for Timberwolves at Nuggets

Picks standings

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(Photo of Nikola Jokić and Aaron Gordon: Aaron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post)

NBA Playoffs expert picks, odds for Tuesday's Game 5s: Pacers at Knicks, Timberwolves at Nuggets (3)NBA Playoffs expert picks, odds for Tuesday's Game 5s: Pacers at Knicks, Timberwolves at Nuggets (4)

Hannah Vanbiber is a staff editor for sports betting at The Athletic. Hannah previously wrote for Gaming Today, New York Sports Day, Rocky Top Insider, MLIVE, and other sports betting outlets as a freelance writer. She started her journalism career in Chattanooga, Tennessee, as a reporter and editor covering local sports. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahVanbiber

NBA Playoffs expert picks, odds for Tuesday's Game 5s: Pacers at Knicks, Timberwolves at Nuggets (2024)


Who is favored to win Nuggets vs. Timberwolves? ›


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2024 NBA Finals MVP odds: Jayson Tatum leads Anthony Edwards 2dESPN Betting
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Which NBA team has the best chance of winning? ›

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Over the past five seasons, 67.01% of favorites have been successful in the NBA regular season. Home favorites have a slightly higher success rate than those on the road, with 68.66% of home favorites winning compared to 64.27% of those on the road.

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The latest Pacers vs. Celtics odds via SportsLine consensus list Boston as 9.5-point favorites, while the over/under is 221.5. Before making any Celtics vs. Pacers picks, be sure to check out the NBA predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

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As of 2023, the Eastern champions have a 40–37 advantage in NBA titles over the Western champions, with their most recent being the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021. The Boston Celtics and the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers have won a combined total of 34 NBA championships, with 17 apiece in their rivalry.

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Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

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