The first round of the NBA playoffs has concluded, and we’re onto some new matchups this week. Monday brings us a Game 1 in the east and a Game 2 in the west. Let’s breakdown some betting angles on DraftKings Sportsbook.
I wrote up a couple of betting scenarios below, along with my lean for the late game. Any added plays will be posted to Twitter as I play them.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics
To Win Game 1/Series: Boston Celtics (-165) — 2-units
Embiid Unders (if he plays)
I put this one out on Twitter, but the Joel Embiid “doubtful” tag has pushed the price all the way to -270. It’s not worth betting at the current price, and betting Game 1 and/or the series is something you should hold off on as of Monday afternoon.
Everything is essentially already priced for Embiid to be ruled out. If he indeed is officially out, then you can play the game however you intended. If Embiid winds up trying to give it a go, the price will come crashing down.
I really like the idea of betting the Celtics if Embiid is ruled in, because he clearly has a real knee injury at the moment. I have my doubts about how effective he’ll be, and the line will probably over-adjust.
The Celtics have owned the 76ers in this matchup with these current cores, and I don’t expect this series to be much different. Philly has been off for 11 days, and will either be without Embiid or a hobbled big man. While Boston struggled at times with Atlanta, I expect them to be ready to go here. Knocking the rust off for the 76ers could be a detriment in Game 1. I think this is a great way to buy down the series price, which has ballooned as high as -500. If Embiid plays in Game 1, we can look to get this price back to something reasonable.
Obviously, Embiid’s status is the headline of the game and series. I don’t know whether of not he gives it a go in Game 1, but I do know that he’s actually injured. If he tries to play through it, I will fade his prop — either on his points, or a combo prop. Embiid went nuts against the Celtics this season, but he averaged 46.5 points in the two games in Philly, and a pedestrian 27 points in the two games in Boston.
If Embiid sits, normally I’d look to play a Tyrese Maxey point prop — 27.7 points per game in 11 games the big man has missed. But Maxey averaged just 10 points against Boston this season, and was held to eight or fewer points three times. I’ll pass due to the matchup.
Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets
DEN -4 (-110)
It’s a bounce-back spot for the Suns in theory here, but this game is Nuggets or pass for me. The Suns are 12-2 with Kevin Durant in the lineup, but just 2-4 ATS in the postseason, and 5-6 ATS since his return from an ankle injury.
The Suns are a good team, but they might just be overrated based on the idea of what we think they are supposed to be. In reality, we have a very limited sample of this team and full strength, and most of it came against poor teams — five of Durant’s eight regular season games came against teams that missed the playoffs, and Jokic sat out both times KD and the Suns faced the Nuggets (Denver lost but covered both of those games on the road).
Saturday’s Game 1 in Denver was actually the first time the Suns have been priced as an underdog with Durant in the lineup — they failed to cover by 13.5 points. Meanwhile, the Nuggets are 35-4 in home games that Nikola Jokic plays in this season, going 25-13-1 ATS.
Phoenix’s depth is an issue in this series, particularly on the road. It’s not like the Suns can just play that much better, unless Durant or Devin Booker has a hero game. The two stars combined for 56 points on 22-of-38 shooting in Game 1, and still lost with margin.
I like Denver to take a 2-0 series lead, but don’t count the Suns out of the series at that point.
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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.