NBA Playoffs: Daily best bets, odds and predictions for Saturday, April 15th

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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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Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers (-8.5, 216.5)

Game 1: Series tied 0-0

There has been zero movement on the side for this game since it opened, but the total has dropped two points on the market. In the 27 games since the trade deadline the Nets averaged only 113.8 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time which was the 23rd ranked offense in the NBA over that span. They are a group heavily reliant on its 3-point shot falling with little north-south presence at the rim, where they took the fifth fewest shots of any team, and it has led to a disjointed offense. Both teams average just over 97 possessions per game as well, meaning we could get a very slow, halfcourt oriented affair which would mean scoring is at a premium for both sides.

The betting angle I want to discuss for the game is a player prop though. Joel Embiid is a dominant force in any given matchup, but that force could be magnified against Brooklyn. Nic Claxton gives up 65 pounds to Embiid, and Day’Ron Sharpe is three inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter. In their only matchup of note the Nets consistently sent double-teams at Embiid in the post to counteract the mismatch down low. That led to plenty of kick-outs to the wing for Embiid, or skip passes to open shooters, which should lead to assist opportunities.

At DraftKings his assist prop opened at 3.5 with a +110 return on the over. It has since moved to +100 but that is not enough a move to deter me from exploring this angle in this game, and in the series overall.

Bet: Joel Embiid AST OVER 3.5 (+100)

Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics (-8, 230.5)

Game 1: Series tied 0-0

The thing that sticks out about this game immediately is the total. When these two teams met back on March 11 the total closed at 238 and the game went well over the number with 259 points scored. Robert Williams did not play in that game, so his expected presence today could warrant some adjustment, but not by eight full points. 

Since Quin Snyder took over as head coach the Hawks have the fifth best offensive rating in non-garbage time at 122.0 points per 100 possessions, and it is due to a change in their offensive philosophy, much of which is based on action at the rim. Atlanta is now taking 35.4% of their attempts within four feet compared to 31.1% in the 61 games prior. Its offensive rebounding rate has seen the greatest improvement, going from 26.8% before Snyder’s arrival (17th) to 32.8% since (3rd). That has led to an improved halcourt offensive rating (101.3) and the best rate of points per 100 missed field goal attempts (28.2). In the loss to Boston under Snyder this revamped offense still put up 1.214 points per possession.

Still, Atlanta will be hard pressed to stop this offense, and that is where the play on this total comes in. There is nowhere for Trae Young to hide on defense, and Boston is such an elite shooting team that takes 3-point attempts at a high rate it will be nearly impossible to quiet the Celtics’ offensive output. Given the offensive improvements under Snyder, the expected output from Boston and the eight point adjustment from the last game of note between these two teams, it makes sense to look at this game to go over the total.

Bet: OVER 230.5

New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers (-6, 216)

Game 1: Series tied 0-0

Julius Randle will reportedly attempt to return today from the ankle injury that caused him to miss the last five games of the regular season. Nothing is official though, as he will test the ankle before the team makes a final decision, and that has led to unknown territory for this number. Once this number opened it immediately went to 5.5 and since the news of Randle’s potential return the hook has disappeared. Should he play this line will likely close 4.5 or shorter, and the total will continue its climb up from the opening number. If he is ruled out, then expect this number to close at about 6.5 consensus and this total to drop. 

Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings (-1, 237.5)

Game 1: Series tied 0-0

This is the last game of the day, so there is sure to be plenty of movement as the public begins to get involved in a game that is sitting at -1 almost everywhere. The total is going to be the real story throughout the day. It has sat at 237.5 since opening last Sunday, and it is right in line with what we saw in the regular season. Should Golden State continue to play defense on the road at the same level they did in the regular season, where it finished with the third worst defensive rating in non-garbage time (119.8), there is certainly an opportunity for this game to go over the total. Andrew Wiggins’ presence off the bench should improve the Warriors’ defensive play, so this will be one to watch and attack in-game tonight.

Best Bet Recap

Joel Embiid AST OVER 3.5 (+100)
Hawks/Celtics OVER 230.5