Welcome to the Saturday, April 13 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for today’s first set of first-round playoff matchups I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Final Regular Season Records:
ATS Leans/Picks: 51-39-1 (.567)
Moneyline: 31-9 (.775)
Over/Under: 33-16-1 (.702)
4/13/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Brooklyn Nets (42-40 reg. season, 0-0 postseason) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (51-31 reg. season, 0-0 postseason)
Regular-Season Series Results: Tied 2-2
- Nov. 4: Brooklyn 122, 76ers 97 (Barclays Center)
- Nov. 25: 76ers 127, Nets 125 (Barclays Center)
- Dec. 12: Nets 127, 76ers 124 (Wells Fargo Center)
- Mar. 28: 76ers 123, Nets 110 (Wells Fargo Center)
After proving countless doubters wrong during the regular season, the Nets have officially made it to the big time. Or at least the quarterfinal round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Considering where they were at this time a year ago — namely, sitting at home — it’s a remarkable achievement. Brooklyn got it done this past season with a solid mix of young players coming into their own and select veterans such as DeMarre Carroll, Ed Davis and Spencer Dinwiddie making key contributions.
While many expect to the Nets’ carriage to turn into a pumpkin at some point during this first round, fate appears to be smiling on them, at least for Saturday’s opening game. The 76ers’ Joel Embiid is considered doubtful for the contest with the knee soreness that has been plaguing him since March. Embiid played in all four regular-season games versus Brooklyn and trampled them to the tune of 30.0 points, 14.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.3 blocks. Therefore, his absence would remove one giant headache for the Nets. Granted, Philadelphia does have solid depth at the position in the form of Boban Marjanovic, Amir Johnson and Greg Monroe. Needless to say, however, none of them comes close to matching Embiid’s impact.
As evidenced by the results of the regular-season series between these clubs, the Nets demonstrated an ability to hang tough against Philly, including on the Sixers’ home floor of Wells Fargo Center. Brooklyn notched a three-point win Dec. 12 at WF. Then, while they did drop a 13-point decision there in the final meeting of the season between the clubs, they basically fell victim to a bad opening quarter in that contest. After being outscored by a 38-23 margin during the first 12 minutes, the Nets outpaced the 76ers, 87-85, over the final three quarters.
The robust scoring totals Brooklyn put up in their games against Philly also speak to how well they were able to match up versus the Sixers’ defensive alignments. Outside of the aforementioned final game, the Nets shot between 47.6 percent and 56.8 percent the three other times they faced the 76ers. As those numbers imply, several of their key players thrived in the matchup:
- D’Angelo Russell: 21.0 points (on 47.4 percent shooting), 7.3 assists, 3.5 rebounds (four games)
- Joe Harris: 14.0 points (on 56.8 percent shooting, including 55.6 percent from three-point range), 2.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists (four games)
- Spencer Dinwiddie: 23.8 points (on 57.7 percent shooting, including 61.1 percent from three-point range), 5.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds (four games)
Finally, it’s worth noting that the Nets should be coming into the contest with the luxury of full health. While Harris and Carroll were held out of the Nets’ season finale versus the Heat with a sore foot and wrist, respectively, those absences were purely precautionary. Meanwhile, in addition to Embiid, the 76ers will be missing a key depth piece in James Ennis III due to a quadriceps injury. While more renowned for his defensive skills. Ennis actually played well in several spot starts this season and was an above-average shooter (46.9 percent).
By The Numbers
The Nets finished the regular season 45-37 (54.9 percent) against the spread overall. That includes a 25-16 mark (61.0 percent) as an away team, and a 20-15 tally (57.1 percent) as an away underdog specifically. Brooklyn was also 14-4 (NBA-best 77.8 percent) versus the number on games they played with two or three days of rest and 10-6 (62.5 percent) against the spread in division games.
The 76ers finished the regular season 38-44 (46.3 percent) against the spread overall. That includes a 20-19 mark (51.3 percent) as a home favorite. Philadelphia was also 10-11 (47.6 percent) versus the number on games they played with two or three days of rest and 5-11 (31.2 percent) against the spread in division games.
The Final Word
The Nets exceeded expectations all season. The 76ers are a team they matched up very well against in three of four meetings. Naturally, the expected absence of Embiid looms extremely large here as well, although it bears noting Philadelphia does have very solid depth behind him. Nevertheless, an elite caliber of player is never truly replaceable, especially in postseason. The Nets have the strong track record against both Philadelphia and the spread to keep it close here. As such, I’m envisioning a Nets cover, with my only hesitation being that postseason jitters creep up on their inexperienced group early.
The Lean: Nets +6