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NBA Odds, Picks: Best Bets for Suns vs. Nuggets Game 2 (May 1)

NBA Odds, Picks: Best Bets for Suns vs. Nuggets Game 2 (May 1) article feature image
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AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets gets hyped after Bruce Brown #11.

  • The NBA Playoffs roll on Monday night with a pair of second round matchups featuring the two highest seeded teams left in the postseason.
  • Action Network's analysts have a bevy of best bets today, including player props, spread bets and plays on over/unders.
  • Read on for their expert picks for 76ers vs. Celtics and Suns vs. Nuggets.

The first round of the NBA Playoffs has given us some truly awesome moments. While Round 2 has already tipped off, we’re officially into semifinals with both feet and have two Round 2 matchups on the slate Monday: 76ers vs Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and Suns vs. Nuggets (10 p.m. ET) on TNT.

Action Network’s NBA crew has nine best bets today, including a ton of player props for Monday’s 76ers vs Celtics series opener. Check out their expert picks for tonight’s pair of playoff games below.

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76ers vs. Celtics Player Prop
76ers vs. Celtics Spread
76ers vs. Celtics Player Prop
76ers vs. Celtics Player Prop
76ers vs. Celtics Player Prop
76ers vs. Celtics Spread
Suns vs. Nuggets Total
Suns vs. Nuggets Spread
Suns vs. Nuggets First Half Spread

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Jayson Tatum o4.5 Assists
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Joe Dellera: I tackled this series in my NBA Player Props Forecast, which you can check out here. According to 76ers head coach Doc Rivers, Embiid is unlikely to play Game 1. The 76ers will turn to James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris for offense.

On the flip side, the Celtics have their two-headed monster of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

Interestingly enough, Tatum has also struggled offensively against Philadelphia overt the last two seasons. He is averaging just 21.9 ppg across eight games, but he has averaged 5,5 assists per game with 9.5 potentials per game and five or more in six of those games.

Tatum’s assists line is once again 4.5, a number he has now exceeded in 70% of playoff games the last two seasons with a 6.0 assist average. I’m playing over 4.5 assists in Game 1.


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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Celtics -10
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Chris Baker: I really struggle to see where the 76ers find offense to match the Celtics in this one without Joel Embiid. Everyone will point to James Harden stepping up, but I am a bit more bearish on the prospect of Harden looking like he did in his Houston days. Harden was absolutely woeful against the Nets: 44.8% Effective Field Goal Percentage, 24% at the rim (10th percentile) and 29% from the mid-range (13th percentile).

The one area of the floor where he was efficient was the 3-point line (42%), but I would expect him to struggle from there a bit more as the Celtics do a great job limiting opponent 3-point efficiency, ranking third in the NBA in opponent 3-point accuracy (34.8%) during the regular season.

The Celtics have a plethora of elite guard defenders who can give Harden problems at the point of attack. Harden just flat out does not have the foot speed to consistently beat White or Smart off of the dribble. When Harden is in pick-and-roll, the Celtics have plenty of switchable wings that can feasibly guard Harden. I expect James to have very few openings and that will result in much lower shot quality for the rest of this 76ers offense.

If Harden can’t carry the offensive load your looking at a combination of Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey needing to step up. I don’t see these guys being up to the task, especially in an extremely loud TD Garden in Game 1. The Celtics should be able to get whatever they want on offense as we will likely see Harden, Maxey, Georges Niang, and Paul Reed seeing extended minutes due to Embiid’s absence. Reed isn’t awful but he is not the rim-protector that Embiid is and we should expect the Celtics to exploit that on drives.

Harden, Maxey, and Niang are do not have the foot speed to keep up with the Celtics when they are forced into long rotations. I expect the Celtics offense to be more than fine. I played the Celtics at -8.5 before the line move and I would bet this up to -10.


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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Tyrese Maxey o23.5 Points
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Jim Turvey: With Joel Embiid out and James Harden still not looking his full self, if the Sixers have any chance to stun the Celtics, it’s going to be on the shoulders of Tyrese Maxey.

Maxey had a strong season, averaging 20.3 points per game as the Sixers third option. However, in games without Embiid, but with Harden, Maxey knew the assignment. He averaged 28.1 points per game and was the leading scorer for Philadelphia in all but one of those games.

The books have adjusted a bit for Embiid being out, raising Maxey’s line to a juiced 23.5, but given that he cleared that total in five of seven with Harden and without Embiid (and was right on 23 in another), I’m still going with Maxey to score enough to clear this point prop in Game 1.

I’d play this to over 24.5 -115. I also like a look at some of the escalators on this, as Maxey is one who can go off — he had 44 in the first game with Harden and no Embiid this season. FanDuel has Maxey +850 to score 35+ which I like a sprinkle on.



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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
Jaylen Brown o33.5 PRA (-120)
Book
DraftKings
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Bryan Fonseca: We’re all expecting the Celtics to prevail in Game 1 over a Joel Embiid-less 76ers team. But, given how they’ve looked in the playoffs so far, there’s a good chance they might just mess around.

Jaylen Brown has at least been fairly consistent as he’s gotten further removed from suffering a weird hand injury. The prop is 33.5 points, rebounds and assists — he has hit 30 or more points in three straight games, and smoked this prop each time. He also caught this in Game 1 against the Hawks after putting forth a 29-12-3 line.

Brown’s averaging about 27-5-3 in the playoffs, which bodes well for you. He’s also shooting 54/52/58 shooting splits — yes, he’s about 58 percent on free throws.

His rebounds are down from the seven he averaged in the regular season, and that could come up tonight without Embiid, and as long as he keeps shooting well, you’re in good shape. Let’s just hope this isn’t a blowout so he stays in the game long enough if he needs to.


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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
James Harden u22.5 Points
Book
bet365
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Brandon Anderson: I played Harden’s points under for most of last series, and I’m going back to the well.

It looks like Joel Embiid won’t play here, and that presumably means more scoring for James Harden. He was actually pretty good in four games against Boston this year at 25.5 PPG, hitting 3.5 treys per game and getting to the line almost nine times a game.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the same Harden. He re-injured his Achilles late in the season and hasn’t been the same since. Harden averaged just 14.1 PPG his final seven games, making only 3.3 2s per game.

That trend was even worse in round one against Brooklyn’s nonexistent defense. Harden did score 17.3 PPG but did that mostly by way of the 3-ball. He hit 3.5 treys a game, accounting for 10.5 of his PPG, but he was horrendous on 2s at just 9-of-34, an awful 26% with only 11 trips to the free throw line all series.

Harden simply isn’t the same attacking the basket or getting to the line, and that only gets harder against Boston’s elite defense and many perimeter weapons. Harden had more than two 2s only once all last series, and he didn’t shoot a single free throw in half the games. If he only gets say five or six points on 2s and freebies, that means Harden has to hit six 3s to go over this points line. That’s always possible, but it’s worth betting against.

If you’ve got Bet365, you can also bet Harden under 17.5 points at +330. He did that twice in round one and has gone under that number in seven of his last 11 games (64%).

Philly needs more out of James Harden with Embiid out, but I’m just not sure he can give them what they need. I have to keep fading Harden until proven otherwise.


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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics

Pick
76ers +10
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
7:30 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Jacob McKenna: I covered this matchup in the 76ers vs Celtics Game 1 betting guide (you can read the full version here). Three-point shooting is Philly’s best asset with Embiid out and could help keep any deficit manageable. However, the 76ers’ presence on the offensive glass can help turn this matchup and allow them to cover the double-digit spread.

As discussed earlier, the 76ers dominated the offensive glass against Brooklyn, but Boston gotten eaten up by Atlanta and posted a -21 Offensive Rebound differential. That led to Atlanta scoring 33 more second-chance points in the series.

Embiid would normally be relied upon on the boards, but Paul Reed did a great job of filling that role in his absence. Reed had 15 total rebounds, eight of which offensive, in Game 4 against Brooklyn when he started for Embiid.

Additionally, Philadelphia was 11-5 during the regular season without Embiid, averaging 118.4 points per game with him sidelined, per StatMuse. I think we’ll see a rested 76ers team step up to the challenge and keep things close, but I would only play the spread to nine.


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Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Over 227
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Andrew O’Connor-Watts: I was on the over in Game 1 and I’m on it again in Game 2, despite a higher opening number.

The Suns scored just 51 points in the first half on Saturday, but they only attempted five 3-pointers. Someone at halftime must have told Monty Williams that three points is more than two, because Phoenix shot 18 3s in the second half.

They only made five of them, but a wise man once said “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” You have to attempt 3s to make them. If the Suns start Game 2 shooting 3s, the total should sail over.

Even if they don’t start off launching, I still like both teams to hit the over on Monday night. The Suns are a great offense regardless of their antiquated shot profile. They have a 121.3 Offensive Rating in the playoffs despite taking the highest percentage of midrange shots by far (52.7%).

The Nuggets did hit at a higher rate from deep than their usual postseason percentage (+3.5%), but they also attempted just 15 free throws in Game 1—6.7 attempts below their regular season average and 11.8 below their postseason average, according to NBA Advanced Stats. I think it bodes well for the Denver offense that Nikola Jokic had an unusually inefficient game (9/21 from the field), and the Nuggets still put up 125 points. I expect him to shoot better than he did in Game 2.

I bet this at 227 and would take it all the way to 230.


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Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Nuggets -4.5
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Brandon Anderson: The Nuggets were my pick in the series (I discussed this series and more in my Round 2 picks column) and in Game 1, and the script in the opener pretty much played out exactly according to script.

The Suns hung around early with a bunch of great shot making, but Phoenix’s individual talent could not match Denver’s superior team. The Nuggets got any shot they wanted and matched Phoenix’s EFG scoring efficiency by taking this beatable defense apart, and from there, the math took over and did the rest.

For most of the game until late, the Nuggets had made more 3s than the Suns had even attempted. Denver finished with 14 additional 3-point attempts and 17 extra shots overall. The Nuggets turned it over 7 fewer times and out-rebounded Phoenix by 11. Denver took way more shots on far more possessions, and they’re taking more valuable shots — both by way of 3s and looks at the rim, and also quick easy buckets in transition.

Phoenix won’t want to go down 0-2 here, and I tried to get creative with the Suns in a bit of a desperation spot, but I’m not going to overthink this. I loved the Nuggets for this series and saw everything I wanted in a Game 1 blowout win. Let’s go right back to the well and see if we can do it again.


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Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets

Pick
Nuggets -2.5 1H
Book
FanDuel
Tipoff
10 p.m. ET
TV
TNT

Austin Wang: I covered this matchup in the Suns vs. Nuggets Game 2 betting guide (you can read the full version here).The Nuggets are playing with something to prove.  I think the Nuggets’ excellence at home will be too much for the Suns, but I don’t see much value in the full game spread of -4.5.

I imagine this game will be a lot tighter down the stretch with the Suns making some adjustments on their end. Therefore, I have a different angle. The Suns are 0-6 ATS in the first half, while the Nuggets are 5-1 ATS in the first half. I’m backing the Nuggets to cover the first half spread of -2.5.


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