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NBA Betting Picks

Welcome to the Thursday, April 18 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for today’s first-round playoff matchups I feel has profit potential at DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook888 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.

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Postseason record:

ATS Leans/Picks: 1-1 (.500)

4/18/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Brooklyn Nets (42-40 reg. season, 1-1 postseason) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (51-31 reg. season, 1-1 postseason)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: 76ers -3.5 (o/u: 228.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: 76ers -3 (o/u: 228)
888 Sportsbook Odds: 76ers -3.5 (o/u: 228.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: 76ers -2.5 (o/u: 227)

First-Round Playoff Series Results: Nets 1, 76ers 1

  • April 13: Nets 111, 76ers 102 (Wells Fargo Center)
  • April 15: 76ers 145, Nets 123 (Wells Fargo Center)

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The Breakdown

The first two games of the series between Atlantic Division rivals Brooklyn and Philadelphia have been a study in contrasts. In Game 1, it was the Nets putting together an impressive defensive performance while limiting the 76ers to 102 points on 40.7 percent shooting, including 12.0 percent from three-point range. Then, that stellar defense was nowhere to be found in Game 2. Philly exploded for 145 points while boosting their success rate from the floor to 56.1 percent, including 39.1 percent from distance.

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The Game 2 explosion for the 76ers was partly the result of a hearty helping of garbage time points by their bench. However, it was keyed earlier in the contest by some bounce-back performances by members of their first unit. After taking only seven shot attempts in Game 1, a considerable outlier, Tobias Harris was back up to 12 tries in Game 2. That led a solid 19-point contribution. Then, Ben Simmons turned in one of his trademark triple-doubles in Game 2 after producing a modest nine points in Game 1. And, J.J. Redick, who’d put together a five-point clunker in Game 1 after finishing the regular season with 23 points or more in each of his last four games, generated 17 points on 58.3 percent shooting during the blowout win.

On the other side, the Nets were the ones putting together atypically poor efforts in Game 2. Even though Brooklyn was only down by a single point at the half and matters didn’t unravel until the third quarter, the Nets’ first unit, with the exception of D’Angelo Russell (16 points), posted modest numbers. DeMarre Carroll, Rodions Kurucs, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris only combined for 27 points before taking a seat for good during the second half. Brooklyn managed just 23 points in the third period as the game completely escaped its grip.

Then, there’s also the matter of the track record of each team with respect to the Over in the respective road/home conditions they’ll find themselves in Thursday. During the regular season, 16 of the Nets’ 41 home games went over Thursday’s projected 227-point total. Another landed on that total specifically, while two others fell just a point short. For their part, the 76ers saw 18 of their 41 road games exceed that number, with a 19th game serving as a push.

With extremes ruling the night in each of the first two games of the series, it’s likely that there’s a regression back to the norm in Game 3 on the Nets’ home floor of Barclays Center. And that norm would be a close, high-scoring contest, based on how three of the four regular-season contests between the teams unfolded. Brooklyn and Philly combined for totals of 252, 251 and 233 points, respectively. Two of those contests were decided by a combined total of five points.

By The Numbers

The Over is 43-41 (51.2 percent) in the 76ers’ games this season and postseason. That includes a 27-24 mark (52.9 percent) following a Philadelphia win. The Over is also 10-8 (55.6 percent) in Philadelphia’s division games during the regular season and postseason.

Then, the Over is 10-9 (52.6 percent) in the Nets’ games as a home underdog.

Finally, three of the four regular-season meetings between the teams and their most recent playoff meeting exceeded Thursday’s projected total.

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The Final Word

The first two games of the series have run the gamut in terms of totals. I don’t expect Thursday’s game to land in either extreme end of the spectrum, but rather, somewhere in the middle. The two teams should settle in a bit against each other after two games, and both certainly pack enough scoring punch to exceed a manageable total if prior history is any indication.

The Pick: Over 227