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April 18 NBA Playoff Betting Picks, Odds And More

As we’re reminded ad nauseum during the NBA playoffs, a series doesn’t start until the home team loses a game, and with all three of tonight’s series knotted at a game a piece the home court advantages have been lost and the underdogs all have the chance to wrest control of their own fates with a win at home.

Sixers at Nets

Total 228
Spread PHI -3.5
PHI: 52-32 Last 10: 5-5 Away: 20-21 ATS: 39-45 FAV: 42-18 Streak: W1
BKN: 43-41 Last 10: 6-4 Home: 23-18 ATS: 46-38 DOG: 20-35 Streak: L1

Game One: The Nets stole the first game of the series on the defensive end by limiting the Sixers’ only dangerous shooters — Tobias Harris and JJ Redick — to just seven attempts from beyond the arc and pressing their bench advantage anytime Philadelphia tried to rest their starters.

Game Two: While the final score indicated a lopsided victory for the 76ers, 145-123, most of that damage was inflicted over a 26 possession run in the third quarter wherein Philadelphia scored a whopping 51 points. Rather than making adjustments to get more three point attempts for Harris and Redick, Brett Brown’s team found success in getting Joel Embiid to stop chucking from the cheap seats and creating offense through defense as he played Jonah Bolden at the four and put the clamps on a Nets offense which lacks creators with this large, switchable lineup wherein 6’7” Jimmy Butler was the smallest Sixer on the floor.

As the series shifts to the Barclays Center, it’s Kenny Atkinson’s turn to make the adjustments. He needs to find a way to create more reliable offense against Philadelphia’s two-big defensive sets, try to slow down both Embiid and Boban Marjanovic in the paint, and slow Ben Simmons’ progress to the paint without wings necessarily built to do so.

While Brooklyn has the more versatile and deeper roster, I’m not sure they have any answers for the specific mismatches at hand and I suspect we’ll see the Nets become even more reliant on the three ball tonight and hope that home court advantage and variance turns in the favor tonight.

As Philadelphia’s starting five outclasses the Nets by a mile, this game will largely turn on Atkinson’s adjustments so it’s probably a game I’d wait to bet live. If D’Angelo Russell and Joe Harris are getting clean looks and the Nets are impeding Philadelphia’s progress to the paint early, bet the Nets. If Philadelphia goes big in the first quarter and Brooklyn has no answer at the ready, take the Sixers.

Nuggets at Spurs

Total 208
Spread SAS -4.5
DEN: 55-29 Last 10: 5-5 Away: 20-21 ATS: 42-42 DOG: 9-15 Streak: W1
SAS: 48-24 Last 10: 6-4 Home: 32-9 ATS: 45-38-1 FAV: 35-14 Streak: L1

Game One: The Spurs made the inexperienced Nuggets look unprepared for playoff basketball as they controlled the pace and got the shots they wanted inside the arc on Denver’s home court. They didn’t allow Denver to score a single point in the fast break and the Spurs absolutely owned close and late scenarios.

Game Two: The Nuggets’ early success was limited to Paul Millsap looking like the dynamic scorer we hadn’t seen since his days in Atlanta as it looked like we were headed for a series sweep for the first 30 minutes. Then Malik Beasley subbed in for a struggling Will Barton and knocked down a couple of pivotal threes, Jamal Murray entered the fourth quarter 0-8 from the field and erupted for 22 points and the Nuggets righted the ship and tied the series.

The sharp money is hammering the Spurs and the under. This game opened at a 212 total, but has drifted down to 208 despite just 55% of the money coming in on the under.

San Antonio is much better at home and the Nuggets haven’t won in their last nine trips to the Alamodome. The Spurs have a less talented roster, but play their game and their pace so well that they’re tough to beat even when overmatched on paper — particularly at home where the Spurs have played to a 32-9 record on the season.

For Denver to steal a game in San Antonio, they’re going to need to speed up the game and get some transition buckets or knock down contested threes — nothing in the first two games gives me confidence that the Nuggets can do so consistently

Mike Malone is going to keep Will Barton in the starting lineup despite Malik Beasley’s sharpshooting and Barton’s insistence on biting on every pump fake 40% shooter Demar DeRozan offers. Malone’s unwillingness to make fast adjustments to Gregg Popovich’s chess moves — you could time his reaction to LaMarcus Aldridge’s pick and pop motions in game two with a sundial — gives me little confidence in Denver getting it done tonight. With the potential of changing the starting five in this series its even more important that daily fantasy players pay attention to our NBA optimizer to find the best DFS plays for the NBA playoffs. RotoQL is the best tool to find out who is playing, who is out, and who has the potential to win all of your DFS contests.

Pairing San Antonio with the under looks to be a strong play tonight as it adheres to both season-long trends and what we’ve seen in the first two games of this series.

Warriors at Clippers

Total 235.5
Spread GSW -8.5
GSW: 58-26 Last 10: 7-3 Away: 27-14 ATS: 39-45 FAV: 55-22 Streak: L1
LAC: 49-35 Last 10: 5-5 Home: 26-15 ATS: 46-38 DOG: 14-26 Streak: W1

Game One: The Clippers played above expectations and the Warriors still won with ease as Stephen Curry led the way with a ridiculously efficient 38 points on 16 attempts. Golden State is damn near invincible when Curry plays like that.

Game Two: Despite losing DeMarcus Cousins early, the Warriors took a commanding lead and were up by 31 points in the third quarter when the Clippers began the biggest comeback in playoff history. Lou Williams, always successful against the Warriors, played the best game of his life as the Clippers had a 150 offensive rating and +54.4 net rating with him on the court in the second half. The Clippers ended the game on a 72-37 run and personified the grit that Doc Rivers has been so effusive in describing his team this season.

While much of the comeback can be rightly attributed to the Warriors mentally checking out with what seemed to be an insurmountable lead, more was at play here. First, as is often the case when the Warriors underperform, the Clippers got Curry into foul trouble by forcing him to guard 6’10” Danilo Gallinari in far more possessions than Steve Kerr would have liked. Rivers’ team was also extremely aggressive on the defensive end, sending the Warriors to the line for 45 free throw attempts which is the most since the hack-a-Dwight strategy was employed in the 2015 playoffs. Not only did the fouls break the Warriors rhythm, but it also baited Golden State into a lot of offensive fouls trying to muscle through the physicality and even fouled Kevin Durant out.

Even without Boogie at their disposal, the Warriors are still the best basketball team on the planet when locked in and I expect we’ll see their A game tonight after allowing Tuesday’s game to slip through their hands on their home court. While I expect the Clippers to steal a game on their home court this series, that’s much more likely to occur after the Warriors spend Friday and Saturday enjoying the LA nightlife.

Golden State looking to make a statement is the best bet on the board tonight.

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