Another one-game betting card in the NBA on Thursday, but we have games on the board through Saturday, so we might as well rip through the next few days of games. Let’s breakdown some betting angles on DraftKings Sportsbook.
So far, I’m only invested in any plays that you see a unit distinction next to. Otherwise the play is something I’m leaning towards, and may add closer to game time. Any added plays will be posted to Twitter as I play them.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers (Friday)
Celtics Moneyline (-120) — 2-units
The Celtics found their groove in Game 2, and wound up blowing out the 76ers in Joel Embiid’s return. They did so even with a complete no-show from Jayson Tatum, finishing with a 7-7-3 line and 1-for-7 shooting in just 19 minutes (due to foul trouble).
While I don’t expect Boston to play to its ceiling and Philly to play to its floor again, I do think the price on this game is short. The Celtics were short favorites in the only game played in Philly this season with both teams at full strength — you may recall they won on a Jayson Tatum 3-pointer for the win in a Saturday night primetime game. Pricing this game the same would infer that both teams are at full strength one again, and that’s clearly not the case.
Joel Embiid was a fraction of himself in his Game 2 return, and while some improvement is to be expected, it would be unrealistic to think he’ll be anywhere near 100%. The Celtics have been a tremendous road team this season, and have arguably been better on the road in the postseason going back to last year’s NBA Finals run.
I think this number is probably a few points short on the C’s, so I’ll take a rare buy-low opportunity of them.
Denver Nuggets at Phoenix Suns (Friday)
The Nuggets won both games in Denver by double digits, and while the series now shifts to Phoenix with the Suns desperate for a win, they have a big problem. Chris Paul’s groin injury is serious, and he’s going to miss at least the next few games of this series (from what I hear it’ll ultimately be much more long-term if the Suns did find a way to extend the series).
While a lot of faith will continue to be put in the hands of Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, who are both tremendous players, the rest of the roster just isn’t good enough — and that was when Paul was healthy and playing big minutes.
Paul’s minutes will have to be filled by some combination of Cam Payne, Damion Lee, Torrey Craig and Josh Okogie. That’s not going to fly against this cohesive Denver starting five, that also as a massive depth advantage. The Suns had two home games against the Nuggets towards the end of the regular season with Durant in the lineup, while Nikola Jokic sat both games out for Denver. Phoenix won those games by four and seven points, failing to cover either. Historically speaking, Game 3 is a Suns spot, but in this scenario it’s Nuggets or pass.
I think if I put a play in on Denver, this will be my route, rather than points in Game 3. I’m pretty confident that Denver can steal one of these road games now that Paul’s absence will cause such depth issues for the Suns. I don’t know which game it’ll be, but if the Nuggets can go back to Denver up 3-1, they’ll be sizable favorites in Game 5. By playing the series line, we don’t have to pick which game Denver wins, just get one and give us that +105 price tag on the Game 5 moneyline. You’d also be able to hedge at that stage if you prefered.
When Paul is out of the lineup, Payne generally steps up. He played 15 games without Paul this season, averaging 7.1 assists in over 30 minutes. The issue is, I don’t think they can trust Payne with that large of a role in this series — he’s played 25 total minutes in the postseason, totaling seven points and five assists. I think the minutes will be split up, and the ball will be more in Booker’s hands.
Booker averaged 6.5 assists in 14 games played without CP this season, and his overall assist numbers have spiked when Durant is in the lineup. Booker has averaged 7.5 assists in the early going in this series, and should see a nice pump with CP now completely out of the rotation. Strong lean to the over here, with Booker essentially being featured as the point guard.
New York Knicks at Miami Heat (Saturday)
The Heat looked like the No. 1 seed that they were in the east last season when they knocked out the Bucks in five games, and they’ve continued to look the part on the road in the second round. Miami stole Game 1 in New York, but the storyline was Jimmy Butler’s ankle injury.
Butler predictably missed Game 2, as the injury looked pretty bad, but the schedule also dictated rest — Game 2 was Tuesday, and Game 3 isn’t until Saturday. The Miami role players are tough as nails, as they were in the game until the final seconds of what was a must-win game for the Knicks on their home floor.
I fully expect Butler to return on Saturday after nearly a week off, which will move this line in favor of the Heat. It may still all be a mirage, but the Heat offense has been scorching hot in the postseason. The Knicks are in trouble down in Miami.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.