NBA Odds, Best Bets: Our Top 4 Picks for Mavericks vs. Jazz, 76ers vs. Raptors & More (Monday, April 18)
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors.
- Monday night brings a trio of Game 2s for the NBA Playoffs: Raptors-76ers, Jazz-Mavericks and Nuggets-Warriors.
- Action Network's betting analysts are eyeing player props, totals and a series bet ahead of tonight's matchup.
- Read on for their best playoff bets below.
We got an unbelievable weekend of NBA Playoff basketball and the best part is those were just Game 1s.
Monday night brings us a triple-header of Game 2 matchups: Raptors vs. 76ers (7:30 p.m. ET) Jazz vs. Mavericks (8:30 p.m. ET), and Nuggets vs. Warriors (10 p.m. ET).
Our team of betting experts is tackling that trio of postseason games in a few ways, including props for Game 2 and a series bet. Check out their best bets for Monday’s action below.
NBA Odds & Picks
Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Raheem Palmer: I gave this out on Heat Check show and in a recent Action Network Twitter Spaces, but I’m going to continue playing this until the line adjusts.
Since the James Harden made his debut in the 76ers’ lineup, Tobias Harris has seen a significant increase in 3-point attempts and shooting percentage. He’s taking 4.6 3s per game and shooting 40% from behind the arc, which is a nice increase over his 3.4 attempts and 34% 3-point rate prior. With extended minutes in the postseason, there will be even more opportunities for him.
The Raptors allow the ninth-highest frequency of 3-point attempts and rank 18th in Opponent 3-Point Percentage. I expect the 76ers to light it up from 3-point range as they did in Game 1 where they shot 40% from behind the arc.
Harris has hit more than 1.5 3s in 15 of his 21 regular season games with Harden and also topped this in Game 1, rate of 71.4%.
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Joe Dellera: As Raheem pointed out, the books just cannot adjust for Tobias Harris’ increase in efficiency when playing alongside James Harden. Harris has been incredible in this new role and was even calling for the ball in Game 1. The Raptors lost Scottie Barnes (out for Game 2 with an ankle injury), a capable defender who could switch onto Harris and defend him from the perimeter to the interior.
Harden really opens the floor for Harris, and with Maxey dropping 38 points in Game 1, the defense may cheat a bit to try and contain both Maxey and Harden — this should open things up for Harris.
All of the 76ers’ core four starters played 37 minutes or more in Game 1, and I’d expect to see plenty of minutes for Harris in Game 2. When Harris has played at least 30 minutes alongside Harden he has averaged 16.6 points and cleared his current prop line of 15.5 in 10-of-18 games, including seven of his last 10.
He’s done this through getting better looks due to Harden’s gravity and playmaking, and he’s been excellent from 3-point range as well.
If the books wont adjust, I see no reason not to run it back again, considering he has canned two or more 3s in 12 of those 18 games when playing 30+ minutes alongside Harden. I like him to continue taking care of business against the Raptors in Game 2.
Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks
Brandon Anderson: The Game 1 total for this series opened up at 219 and it was clear immediately that the books had badly miscalculated. The under got absolutely hammered. It dropped quickly, then dramatically, then dropped even further by tip, closing at 208.5.
I was late to the party but bet the Game 1 under anyway — and it smashed. Neither team could hit a shot to save their lives, and the game finished with just 192 points, with neither team even hitting triple digits.
Rudy Gobert was outstanding defensively, and the Mavs were always going to struggle in this series with Luka Doncic out. He’s doubtful again for Game 2, and Dallas just doesn’t have enough other options. Jalen Brunson is going to miss shots at his size with Gobert involved, and there’s just not enough offense for a team built around one star that’s missing and a bunch of supporting cast members.
Utah has plenty of offense, but couldn’t find it in Game 1 because Dallas’s defense was terrific. The Mavs defend the perimeter hard and run teams off the arc, and the league’s top 3-point shooting team didn’t have a single trey til almost halftime.
The Jazz took 61 2-pointers, way up from their season average of 47, but the Jazz shot just 7-of-22 from deep. You’re probably concerned with the seven, but the 22 is much more problematic considering Utah normally takes 41 treys per game. That Dallas scheme is working.
Both teams should shoot better on 3s in Game 2, and this total has nudged down even further, but remember we went under by double digits last time. Dallas also took 34 free throws in Game 1 against the league’s lowest fouling team. That number may well cut in half in Game 2, so that’s just more points to make up on the total.
I’m sticking with the under. The books adjusted down and the money is coming in on the over, pushing it up a little — so you may want to wait for it to rise further to get the best of the line. But this is shaping up to be a defensive struggle and something of a rock fight with Luka out, so I’ll play the under.
Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors
Anderson: I picked the Warriors to sweep the Nuggets before the series at +750, and nothing I saw in Game 1 got me off of that position at all.
The Warriors look like they might be the title favorites, if Stephen Curry actually stays healthy. Jordan Poole is an absolute firecracker right now, Klay Thompson is back, and Draymond Green and his cohorts played fantastic defense against Nikola Jokic in Game 1 and look back at their peak again.
The Warriors had a 124 Offensive Rating through three quarters — in the half court alone. That is insane. The Nuggets have no answer defensively for this team, and remember, that’s without much from Curry yet. It’s bad news that Denver got 24/6/5 from Will Barton and never felt like a threat to win the game.
The Game 2 moneyline implies a 75% chance of a Warriors win. I think that’s a touch low, but even if it’s right, let’s play this out. If the Warriors win again and look that good, they’ll almost certainly be road favorites in Game 3. Let’s say that makes them 55% to win that game.
That would give Golden State a 41% chance of going up 3-0 in this series and putting Denver on the brink, and this is a Nuggets roster that is depleted and absolutely exhausted. That team is not winning a Game 4, and even if you’re worried they do, you’d have a huge hedge opportunity.
Even though you missed the best of the number before the series, we can still bet on a Warriors sweep at +430 at FanDuel. That implies an 18.9% hit rate, and that feels badly mispriced.
Remember, the books are giving the Warriors a 75% chance of going up 2-0. Golden State would basically have to be coin flips in Games 3 and 4 to get to that percent. If you watched Game 1 and think those would be coin flip games, I don’t know what to tell you.
There’s still value on the sweep. The Nuggets have given everything this season, but the Warriors are just at another level when healthy. Instead of sweating the spread or paying a high price on the moneyline, this offers a great way to get value on Game 2 and the series.
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