NBA Playoffs Best Bets for Saturday, April 20th

Welcome to my daily column of NBA best bets for the NBA Playoffs! Here at VSiN we will have a ton of NBA Playoff content daily, so make sure to keep tabs on Zach Cohen who is doing an excellent job handicapping the league as well!

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NBA Playoffs Best Bets

Record: 114-113-3 | Units: -7.7 | ROI: -3.1%

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Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks (-1.5, 203.5)

The market is all over New York in Game 1 of their series with Philadelphia. DraftKings opened Knicks -1.5 and is up to -3 as of this morning, and multiple shops are as high as 3.5 which is considered the consensus number. There is some doubt that Joel Embiid is fully healthy after watching him in the play-in game with Miami. While I agree with the market the line is too far gone to play at this point. Instead, let’s try our hand at a player prop this evening.

New York has plenty of depth at center to feel comfortable starting this series defending Embiid with Isaiah Hartenstein or Mitchell Robinson. They also have a tailor-made defender for Tyrese Maxey in OG Anunoby, and I expect we will see plenty of possessions with Anunoby on the 76ers’ lead guard. Maxey will try to get Jalen Brunson switched on him, but Anunoby is good enough to navigate those screens and maintain his defensive position on Maxey. 

Maxey likely won’t be shutdown by Anunoby here, but Anunoby is an elite defender with the size and athleticism to make the night difficult for his opponent. Couple that with a low total for the game and a potentially agonizing pace, and I believe Maxey to be worth betting under his point total tonight.

Best Bet: Tyrese Maxey UN 22.5 PTS (-118)

Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves (-1.5, 213.5)

Phoenix is another team the market is infatuated with, and one look at the regular season series would tell you why. The Suns were 3-0 SU and ATS against the Timberwolves in the three games they played this season. Phoenix averaged 123.7 points per 100 possessions in the regular season series and posted a +15.7 net rating. It was rough going for the Timberwolves without a doubt, but there is a case to be made that they are being undervalued here.

First and foremost, Minnesota is playing at home here. Homecourt in the postseason is worth much more than it is in the regular season. Home teams outscored opponents by an average of 2.3 points every 100 possessions in non-garbage time. In the postseason the year prior, non-garbage time net rating jumped from +2.7 to +4.3 per 100 possessions. The Timberwolves were one of the stronger home teams in the league this season with a 30-11 SU record and a +9.3 net rating in non-garbage time. They deserve slightly more respect due to playing at home alone.

Bettors should also be cautious in taking too much from the regular season series. In two of the wins the Suns had insane shooting performances in which they shot over 54% from beyond the arc. In one of those contests they shot 51-of-85 (60.0%) from the floor! That is unlikely to repeat itself on the road against the best defense in the league. Two of the three games also took place in Phoenix.

This is just a play on the number. Teams deserve more respect on their home courts in the postseason. The current number would suggest Phoenix could be about a 6-point favorite at home when the series switches venues. That is not something that jives with how I rate these teams, so I’ll go with the home team this afternoon.

Best Bet: Timberwolves (-1)

NBA Playoffs Best Bets

Tyrese Maxey UN 22.5 PTS

Timberwolves (-1)