Monday NBA Betting Picks (Aug. 17): How We’re Betting Nets vs. Raptors, 76ers vs. Celtics

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Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid

  • Looking to bet Monday's NBA Bubble Playoffs action? Our staff breaks down their favorite plays on the slate.
  • Read on for odds, picks and predictions for each of our favorite Monday NBA bets.

The Bubble Playoffs are finally here! We have four games for the opening day, headlined by Clippers vs. Mavericks tonight.

Where’s the value? Our staff is here to break down their favorite NBA bets for today’s slate and has found angles in three of the four games:

  • 1:30 p.m. ET: Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets
  • 4 p.m. ET: Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors
  • 6:30 p.m. ET: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Monday NBA Betting Picks


Odds via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Brandon Anderson: Nuggets vs. Jazz

Nuggets odds -4.5 [BET NOW]
Jazz odds +4.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -186/+155 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 214.5 [BET NOW]
Time 1:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN 

It’s going to feel pretty weird to tip the playoffs at 11:30 a.m. local time on a Monday for Denver and Utah fans, but you better believe we’re playing the opener.

This is one of the more unpredictable series because so many of the usual starters are missing. Gary Harris and Will Barton have yet to play in the bubble for Denver, and Jamal Murray is still ramping up after returning last week. Utah is missing Bojan Bogdanovic after season-ending surgery, and now the Jazz are also short Mike Conley after he left the bubble Sunday for the birth of his son.

It was an easy choice by Conley to be with his family, but Utah was having a real problem scoring without Bojan already, and now the Jazz are without Conley’s leadership, playoff experience, creation and shooting. They went out and got Bojan and Conley specifically to bring more offensive versatility for a playoff run, and they sacrificed greatly on defense to bring them in.

Now they’re missing on both sides of the game. Jordan Clarkson should take Conley’s starter minutes, and he’s always a possibility for a big game, but he could just as well play Utah right out of this game, and he does the latter more than the former.

I liked Denver more than Utah even before the Conley news. This -4.5 line is about where I’d have put the teams on a neutral court. But the loss of Conley weakens the offense even further and decimates Utah’s bench. Even a shorthanded Nuggets side should be expected to win this opener with relative ease. I’ll play Denver up to -6. Let’s watch some playoffs!

The Pick: Nuggets -4.5

[Bet $20+ on the Nuggets at PointsBet and Win $125 if they make at least one dunk]


Raheem Palmer: Nets vs. Raptors

Nets odds +10 [BET NOW]
Raptors odds -10 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +430/-560 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 222 [BET NOW]
Time 4 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Toronto is 4-15 straight-up and 4-15 ATS all time in Game 1s. Those struggles should end today though, as the Raps are 37-4 against teams without winning records. This depleted Brooklyn Nets team without Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Wilson Chandler and DeAndre Jordan certainly fits the bill.

The Raptors have the fourth-best Net Rating (+4.2) since the restart, which is powered by their first-ranked defense that’s holding teams to 102.7 points per 100 possessions.

However, they have some concerns, most notably their offense. The Raptors have the 18th-ranked offense in the bubble, scoring 106.9 points per 100 possessions. The Raptors are also second in turnovers since the restart at over 17.9 per game, which is up from 14.4 before the bubble.

In addition, they’re also ranked 30th in halfcourt offense against a zone defense, per Synergy Sports. 30th.

It’s possible we could see a zone defense from the Nets in Game 1, and with them previewing it against the Blazers on Thursday, you have to assume they’ll be ready to execute it today.

In some ways, how they defended Portland’s guards in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum provided a blueprint for how they can defend Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet — trap them and force them downhill into Jarrett Allen, while forcing shooters to make open jumpers.

Pascal Siakam has become the Raptors’ go-to scorer since the departure of Kawhi Leonard. On his way to an All-Star season, he averaged 22.9 points on 54.4% true shooting. Since the restart, he’s averaging 16.9 points per game on 50.7% TS%. This season, Siakam has shot 61.9% on shots at the rim, but that number has dropped to 53.3% in the bubble.

Siakam should have his way in this matchup against a group of Brooklyn bigs that doesn’t have an active player over 6’9 outside of Allen. Brooklyn also faces a similar challenge with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. There’s a big difference between Caris LeVert driving into the heart of the Blazers defense vs. a team playing OG Anunoby, Gasol, Ibaka and Siakam.

Although Toronto has a size advantage, Brooklyn has reinvented itself since the restart, settling on a starting lineup of LeVert, Garrett Temple, Joe Harris, Rodions Kurucs and Allen. With this starting lineup, the Nets were fourth in Offensive Rating, scoring 120.1 points per 100 possession. In the first four games before using this lineup, they were 14th with a 112.4 rating.

The Raptors funnel open 3-point shots to opposing teams. The Nets aren’t shying away from their strength either, as they are currently shooting 40.4 3-point attempts since the restart and making them at 36.2%. Harris, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Tyler Johnson and Temple are shooting 54.1%, 45.1%, 38.9% and 37.5% from 3, respectively. The path for Brooklyn winning is for them to get hot from behind the arc. Those shots will be there.

Although most signs point to Toronto dominating this matchup, I think this number is a tad bit too high. My numbers make Toronto closer to -7 on a neutral floor vs. this Nets team. I’ll take the 10 points with the Nets and bet on a solid shooting performance keeping this inside the number.

The Pick: Nets +10

[Bet $20+ on the Nets at PointsBet and Win $125 if they make at least one dunk]

Reed Wallach: 76ers vs. Celtics

76ers odds +6 [BET NOW]
Celtics odds -6 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +205/-250 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 218 [BET NOW]
Time 6:30 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

I think the value in this series lies with Philadelphia. If the right Joel Embiid shows up, he has the capability of taking the series himself. At +275, that isn’t enough for me to get on the Philly bandwagon, but I do think they have a shot at pulling this out and will be watching this game carefully to see how the Sixers perform and maybe get involved at a better price down 1-0 if they lose.

For this game, the line is high for this Philly team that is such an unknown. We have hardly seen Embiid play with this new lineup, as he has been in and out of the lineup throughout the seeding games. Ultimately, I am just not sure what kind of Sixers team we see on Monday. My head says that Boston should probably roll, but my gut wants to wait and see how Embiid looks.

With that being said, I am siding with the over 218. Both teams are playing faster in the bubble, and Boston does allow a ton of 3s, giving the path for the Sixers to get hot from beyond the arc to stay in this game. Even so, Philly’s porous bubble defense won’t be able to keep Boston down for long. I like the over up to 220.

PickOver 218

[Bet now at Parx and get a 20% profit boost + a $500 risk-free bet on your first wager.]

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