Welcome to the Tuesday, April 23 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: 1-1 (1.000)
4/23/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Brooklyn Nets (42-40 reg. season, 1-3 postseason) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (51-31 reg. season, 3-1 postseason)
First-Round Playoff Series Results: 76ers 3, 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)
- April 20: 76ers 112, Nets 108 (Barclays Center)
As has been their practice virtually every time they’ve faced the 76ers this season and postseason, the Nets gave Philadephia everything it could handle Saturday in Game 3. What’s more, Brooklyn appeared to be destined for victory after leading for the majority of the contest. However, the visiting Sixers managed to finish the game on an 8-2 run to secure the somewhat unlikely victory. They managed to do so despite a Jimmy Butler ejection in the third quarter following a scuffle with Jared Dudley.
The prolonged interruption that incident caused and Butler’s subsequent absence seemed to slow the flow of a game that was on pace to easily exceed its projected total. The score was 67-61 in favor of the Nets with 7:42 remaining in the third quarter when the scuffle unfolded following a hard foul by Joel Embiid. The two teams combined for a more modest 92 points the rest of the way. Brooklyn especially failed to hold up its end of the bargain in the fourth quarter. The Nets managed just 17 points in the final 12 minutes. That was the lowest scoring total of any quarter during the game by far.
In all, the Nets shot just 40.0 percent for the afternoon, including 31.6 percent from three-point range. D’Angelo Russell was certainly part of the problem while putting together a 6-for-19 performance from the field. However, one more under-the-radar issue for Brooklyn throughout the series has been the atypical shooting struggles of Joe Harris.
The normally efficient sharpshooter went just 4-for-14 in Game 3. That included an 0-for-6 mark from distance. For the series, Harris is draining just 38.4 percent of his attempts, which includes an 18.8 percent mark from three-point range. For perspective, consider Harris shot a blistering 50.0 percent, including 47.4 percent from behind the arc, during the regular season. As such, the talent is certainly there for him to potentially bounce back in a do-or-die Game 5 for Brooklyn. Harris did prove capable of his usual offensive prowess in Game 1 at Wells Fargo Center. He shot 71.4 percent in that game, including 75.0 percent from long distance.
On the other side, the Nets have proven largely incapable of slowing down some of the 76ers’ most potent pieces. That’s true even of the hobbled Embiid. The big man is playing well below full physical capacity due to his chronic knee soreness. Embiid’s best showing thus far actually came in a Game 4 he’d been labeled doubtful for. Embiid finished with a 31-point, 16-rebound double-double, his third time accomplishing the feat in as many postseason games played versus the Nets.
Then, after an outlier Game 1, Tobias Harris has proven capable of tormenting Brooklyn from anywhere on the floor. Harris started ramping up with a 19-point effort in Game 2. He’s subsequently averaged 26.5 points (on 52.5 percent shooting) and 12.5 rebounds over Games 3 and 4. Meanwhile, Ben Simmons is averaging a solid 18.3 points on 63.5 percent shooting thus far in the series. Butler is also thriving when not getting the hook: he’s averaging 17.5 points on 48.2 percent shooting, even when factoring in Saturday’s shortened outing. Finally, while J.J. Redick has been very inconsistent and is shooting just 38.9 percent versus the Nets, he offered a tangible reminder of his upside with a 26-point effort in Game 3.
By The Numbers
The Over is 44-42 (51.1 percent) in the 76ers’ games this season and postseason. That includes a 22-19 tally (53.7 percent) in their games as a home favorite and a 28-25 mark (52.9 percent) in games following a Philadelphia win. The Over is also 11-9 (55.0 percent) in Philadelphia’s division games during the regular season and postseason.
Then, the Over is 20-17 (54.0 percent) in the Nets’ games as a road underdog.
Finally, three of the four regular-season meetings between the teams and two games in this series have exceeded Tuesday’s projected total.
The Final Word
Game 4 was well on its way to exceeding the Over until a combination of factors, including Butler’s ejection, slowed down the scoring pace overall. However, it’s desperation time for the Nets, and as they’ve shown all season against the 76ers, they won’t give an inch. This should be a wire-to-wire battle, and although Philadelphia is a large favorite, I see Brooklyn pushing the pace all the way to the end as they try to salvage their season. Thus, I see the projected total being at least slightly exceeded.
The Pick: Over 229.5