2023 NBA Playoffs: Daily best bets, odds and predictions for Thursday, April 20th

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Welcome to your source of daily analysis of the NBA Playoffs! Here we will break down each game, discuss betting angles, give predictions and more. For more discussion make sure to check out our daily NBA betting podcast: Hardwood Handicappers.

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Philadelphia 76ers (-4, 208.5) at Brooklyn Nets

Game 3: 76ers lead series 2-0

The little drama that appeared in this series was snuffed out in the second half of Game 2 when Philadelphia put up 1.238 points per possession and outscored Brooklyn by 17 points. The Nets have been throwing the kitchen sink at Joel Embiid, but nothing has really worked and those matchup issues aren’t going anywhere tonight.

One betting angle worth discussing once more is Embiid assists. Embiid had three in the first half of Game 1, but failed to record another in the second half and went under his 3.5 number for that contest. However, those who were persistent got a win when he dished seven in Game 2, and since both overs were plus prices it has been slightly profitable. It might be worth it to go back to the well once more tonight, as the double teams are likely going to be there once more. 

Those who have DraftKings in their area have the ability to bet in-game player props, and that should really be the way to go, because it gives bettors a chance to see what Brooklyn’s gameplan is. If they are frequently doubling Embiid once more, betting an over in-game should be the play. But, there is the chance they change their plan to focus more on the pieces around Embiid, and if they do his assists should be down in this game. It is a great way to approach it, as the over is now -130 at DraftKings as opposed to a plus price. Observe, then attack accordingly.

As far as the side or total is concerned; an interesting angle for those who are looking toward the Nets could be the first half total. Brooklyn fits the parameters of a team coming back home that is down two games in the series, and while most might gravitate towards playing them in the first half, a better way to back the Nets could be to bet the first half over 106.5 points.

Brooklyn is a high-volume shooting team that has attempted 43.9% of its shots from beyond the arc. An inspired first half showing likely means a successful offensive output. For a team that shoots as often as they do, the familiar shooting backgrounds could lead to a higher efficiency from that area of the floor. They are unlikely to contain Embiid as well, so better shooting paired with an inability to stop the opponent would lead to an over on the lowest first half total of the series.

Leans: Joel Embiid OV 3.5 AST (-130); OVER 1H 206.5 

Sacramento Kings at Golden State Warriors (-7, 238.5)

Game 3: Kings lead series 2-0

Draymond Green will not play tonight due to suspension, and as a result we are down to 5.5 on the spread with a total of 239.5 consensus. Green’s absence is massive, and I am not sure that the market has accurately accounted for his loss.

Golden State will feel Green’s absence the most on defense.

In the regular season the Warriors allowed 120.1 points per 100 possessions when Green was not on the floor, and they had a -6.0 net rating. Their inability to contain dribble penetration was a problem in those possessions. Opponents shot 69.6% at the rim, and averaged 102.0 points per 100 halfcourt plays, which is a defensive rating that ranked in the 19th percentile of lineups.  That poor defense showed up immediately after Green’s ejection in Game 2 on Monday. Sacramento would score 23 points over the final 7:03 of the fourth quarter on 11-of-15 shooting, with most of the makes coming inside the arc. Those same defensive issues will be apparent for the Warriors tonight.

Steve Kerr will likely attempt to hide those defensive issues by playing a zone defense, as he did in the regular season against the Kings when the defense was struggling. Sacramento shot 37.1% from distance in the regular season, and is much better from that area of the floor than what it has shown. If the Warriors bust out a zone defense with more frequency the Kings are capable of breaking that zone, and more 3-point attempts and makes is great for a high-scoring game.

On the other end, Golden State still has a high ceiling on offense without Green on the floor. Their most used lineup in the regular season without Green still averaged 123.7 points per 100 possessions, and when Curry was on the floor without Green the Warriors’ 118.6 offensive rating ranked in the 83rd percentile.

Both teams also have some regression to the mean coming in terms of shooting, as Golden State has shot just 32.6% from deep and Sacramento has hit only 30.0% of its 3-point attempts.

The total is 239.5 consensus as of this morning, which is a total lower than the closing number in Game 2 on Monday. However, the most impactful defender in the series is not on the floor, so why would this number not be the same at the very least?

Bet: OVER 239

Phoenix Suns (-2.5, 228.5) at Los Angeles Clippers

Game 3: Series tied 1-1

In this column I have mentioned regression to the mean quite often, because we have had some extreme shooting performances, both positive and negative, in the postseason so far. We had a insane shooting performance in Game 2 of this series from Phoenix, but the problem for Los Angeles is that the Suns are actually capable of repeating that offensive output.

Phoenix averaged 1.315 points per possession on Tuesday night, and much of that was a result of otherworldly shooting from the floor. The Suns went 32-of-50 on mid-range attempts in the win, and an insane 16-of-22 on long mid-range shots. They also went a combined 17-of-32 at the rim and from 3-point range, which equated to a 65.9 effective field goal percentage. For any other team those shooting percentages, especially those on mid-range shots, would be nearly impossible to replicate, but not every team has Kevin Durant and Devin Booker.

If there is going to be some regression for Phoenix’s offense one would assume it comes in the form of Torrey Craig coming back down to earth, as Craig has averaged 17.5 points on 71.4% shooting from the floor and 58.3% from deep.

If that regression does hit for the Suns then they will have to defend at a higher level to take homecourt back.

Los Angeles has averaged 102.3 points per 100 plays in halfcourt settings through two games in this series, and their transition offense has been unstoppable. Off live rebounds the Clippers are averaging 1.316 points per play and they have added 2.3 points per 100 possessions through those possessions. Los Angeles also experienced some bad luck on Tuesday, and shot just 31.8% on 22 uncontested looks from beyond the arc.

The market has pushed this total down to 226.5 and it’s a move I agree with. Los Angeles should have a better defensive effort tonight, and there should be a natural regression from the insane shooting that Phoenix displayed on Tuesday. The side has not budged, and it’s worth noting that the line of 2.5 for the Suns here is adjusted from the second game line of 8.5 at home. Again, as someone who has multiple series bets tied to the Clippers, I will not get involved, but I do believe there is value in the home team.

Lean: Clippers ML (+125)