Friday NBA Playoff Betting Picks (Aug. 21): Our Favorite Bets For Nuggets vs. Jazz and 76ers vs. Celtics


Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics against the Philadelphia 76ers.

  • Looking for bets to make on the NBA's Friday playoff slate? You're in luck.
  • Our staff has Game 3 previews and bets on Jazz vs. Nuggets and 76ers vs. Celtics.
  • Check out their analysis below.

Friday’s NBA slate features four games headlined by a big Game 3 matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at 9 p.m. ET.

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

  • 4 p.m. ET: Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz
  • 6:30 p.m. ET:  Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Friday NBA Betting Picks

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Brandon Anderson: 76ers vs. Celtics

76ers odds +5.5 [BET NOW]
Celtics odds +5.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +195/-240 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 216.5 [BET NOW]
Time 6 p.m. ET

1-2-3 Cancun!

That was the distinct vibe the Philadelphia 76ers gave off starting in around the second quarter of Game 2. This team just ain’t it. We’ve known all season and tricked ourselves into believing otherwise, and I think this team finally knows it now too.

The Sixers look like they gave up and quit on Brett Brown. Long term, that’s not so bad. It’s time for a new coach, and a quick exit will almost certainly produce that.

But for now, the 76ers have no answer for Jayson Tatum with Ben Simmons out. Al Horford has never fit with Philly, Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris continue to disappoint, and Joel Embiid isn’t doing enough. The Celtics are clearly the better team, even without Gordon Hayward. They know it, and Philly knows it.

Still, the money is pouring in on Boston, and that’s always a bit of a worry. Not enough to scare me off the Celtics, but maybe enough to stay away from -5.5 and rising. Philly is one of those bullies that loves to come out and throw a big first punch or two but then gets tears and confusion in their eyes when someone fights back.

Down 2-0, I expect the 76ers to come out strong for one last push. I’m mostly just looking to bet on a Celtics win, but rather than grabbing the moneyline now, I’m looking for Philly to take enough of a lead that I can basically grab Boston -0.5 or close and count on the mentally weak Sixers to fold yet again.

The Pick: Live bet Boston after an early Philly run

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

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Reed Wallach: Nuggets vs. Jazz

Nuggets odds -1 [BET NOW]
Jazz odds -1 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -113/-105 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 219 [BET NOW]
Time 4 p.m. ET

This game opened at Denver -1.5, which makes sense given Utah’s blowout win and Conley’s impending return to the lineup. I think that Denver has a pretty sizable talent advantage, but Utah is doing a fine job of exposing the Nuggets’ issues on the defensive end.

If Denver is going to let Utah rain down on them from beyond the arc, then the Nuggets are in trouble. I expect Denver to make a more concerted effort to run the Jazz off the arc in Game 3. The Nuggets would likely live with the game devolving into the Rudy Gobert show.

I’m going to stay away from a side in this one, because I’m not sure which teams we are going to see. However, I do see some value in the total.

The Game 1 total closed at 214.5, Game 2 landed at 217, and Game 3 opened at 219 before quickly moving to 218.5. I think that number may be a bit too high. This might be the time to grab the under, fresh off an exceptionally hot shooting game from Utah.

Yes, Denver’s defense hasn’t been able to stop a nosebleed since the restart. But, there were about 88 possessions in this one, according to’s box score. That is a slow pace, and the final score was inflated due to Utah’s insane shooting.

I think it might be time to squeeze your nose and root for a bit of a slugfest, as this total has run away from its typical number.

Pick: Under 218.5 (Play down to 218)

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