Welcome to the Saturday, April 20 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 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.
ATS Leans/Picks: 1-1 (.500)
Over/Under: 1-0 (1.000)
4/20/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Brooklyn Nets (42-40 reg. season, 1-2 postseason) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (51-31 reg. season, 2-1 postseason)
First-Round Playoff Series Results: 76ers 2, Nets 1
- April 13: Nets 111, 76ers 102 (Wells Fargo Center)
- April 15: 76ers 145, Nets 123 (Wells Fargo Center)
- April 18: 76ers, 131, Nets 115 (Barclays Center)
After a Game 2 trampling at the hands of the 76ers, the Nets undoubtedly were taking solace in being back on their home floor for Game 3. Surely a better performance awaited, especially after it was announced Philadelphia would be without Joel Embiid (knee) shortly before tip. However, the big man’s absence hardly seemed to matter to a Sixers offensive machine that often cut through the heart of the Nets’ defense like the proverbial hot knife through butter.
Embiid is officially listed as doubtful for Game 4. However, the combination of Greg Monroe and Boban Marjanovic appear capable of putting together a reasonable Embiid impression when they combine their efforts. The offensively minded Monroe just missed a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds in Game 3. Then, Marjanovic came off the bench to contribute 14 points and eight boards. The two big men should play another sizable role once again Saturday if Embiid misses as expected.
The two main cogs in the Philly offensive engine Thursday were Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons, however. Harris appears to just be progressively winding up with each game in the series. His lackluster Game 1 performance is now firmly in the rearview mirror after he averaged 24.0 points and 11.5 rebounds across Game 2 and 3. His efforts Thursday — a 29-point, 16-rebound double-double on 57.9 percent shooting, including 100.0 percent from three-point range — speak to how lethal he can be without Embiid on the floor.
However, even though they’re now down in the series, the Nets’ own offensive punch shouldn’t be underestimated. Brooklyn is averaging 119.0 points over the last two games. The 111 points the Nets scored in Game 1 represents their low-water mark thus far. Including Thursday’s Game 3, they’re averaging a healthy 113.9 points per game at home this season.
One particular source of optimism Thursday in the losing effort was the stellar play of Caris LeVert. The emerging wing came off the bench with a co-team-high scoring tally of 26 points. That total was matched by D’Angelo Russell. Another was the improved play of two big men that could potentially make a difference going forward if they stay out of foul trouble and log enough minutes.
Jarrett Allen was able to score 15 points over 21 minutes in Game 3. He often outmatched Monroe down low after averaging just 5.5 points over Games 1 and 2. Then, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson came off the bench to score 14 points in just 15 minutes. That efficiency was largely the byproduct of a whopping 13 visits to the free-throw line.
By The Numbers
The Over is 44-41 (51.8 percent) in the 76ers’ games this season and postseason. That includes a 28-24 mark (53.8 percent) following a Philadelphia win. The Over is also 11-8 (57.9 percent) in Philadelphia’s division games during the regular season and postseason.
Then, the Over is 11-9 (55.0 percent) in the Nets’ games as a home underdog.
Finally, three of the four regular-season meetings between the teams and their two most recent playoff meetings have exceeded Saturday’s projected total.
The Final Word
These two teams are averaging a robust 107.8 possessions per game apiece thus far in the series. That’s helped lead to a barrage of scoring over the last pair of contests. Even Embiid being almost assuredly out of action doesn’t impact my view on the over hitting. The 76ers have already proven they can put up plenty of points without him on the floor. With the Nets desperate to even the series before it heads back to Philly, I see this as a wire-to-wire affair that will feature plenty of offense.
The Lean: Nets +1.5
The Pick: Over 233