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The 6-seed Brooklyn Nets (0-2) are no match for the 3-seed Philadelphia 76ers (2-0). The 76ers are out-performing the Nets in all “four factors” for this series and Joel Embiid hasn’t even been that dominant.
Embiid averaged an NBA-high 33.1 points per game (PPG) during the regular season. He is only putting up 23.0 PPG through the first two games. Embiid has attempted fewer shots than James Harden, Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey.
After granting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving their trade requests, the Nets went 12-15 straight up (SU) to end the season and slipped to the 6th-spot out East. Brooklyn are lucky to have avoided the play-in.
That said, the Nets have done a solid job defending Embiid. Also, I have trouble betting the 76ers as road favorites considering coach Doc Rivers’ and Harden’s recent playoff history.
76ers at Nets, Game 3 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 20th.
- Venue: Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
If I was forced to pick a side in 76ers at Nets Game 3, I’d lay the points with the favorite. Philly is 16-5 SU as road favorites (+7.5 SU margin) and 13-8 against the spread (ATS) with a +3.4 ATS differential.
The best advantage us sports bettors have over the sportsbooks is that we can pick and chose what we want to bet. No one is “forcing me” to bet a side in 76ers at Nets.
However, my bosses are expecting some gambling content and no one loves betting NBA playoff basketball more than yours truly …
76ers-Nets total of 209.5
This is a zig-zag on top of a zig-zag. In Nets-76ers Game 1, I bet OVER 214.5. Then I went the other way for Game 2 in an NBA handicapping angle known as the zig-zag theory. Aka when you bet the opposite of what happened in the previous game.
At the time of writing, Pinnacle Sportsbook (Pinny) lists 76ers at Nets with a 210-point total. This is noteworthy since Pinny is the sharpest shop in town known for the booking the largest sports bets.
Furthermore, I could see the Sixers letting their guard down up 2-0. That would most affect Philly’s 3-point defense and Brooklyn has the 3rd-highest 3-point-attempt rate in these playoffs.
Brooklyn actually has a bunch of capable 3-point shooters including Joe Harris, Seth Curry, Mikal Bridges, and Cameron Johnson. And we know role players perform better at home.
We also know that the 76ers have the offense to keep up with the Nets if Game 3 turns into a shootout. Plus Brooklyn is going to be desperate. I expect the Nets to attack the basket more and get to the foul line.
These teams got two days off from Game 2-3. Brooklyn is 8-5 Over/Under (O/U) on two rest days with a +9.9 O/U margin. Philadelphia is 7-4 O/U in those spots. The Sixers are 13-7 O/U as road favorites with a +4.0 O/U margin as well.
BET: OVER 209.5 at DraftKings, up to 210.5
- Betting strategy: I’m going to hit the 76ers-Nets Game 3 total for 1 unit and bet a quarter-unit on the player props below.
- Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Philadelphia G James Harden Points (19.5)
- Over 19.5 points: (+100)
- UNDER 19.5 POINTS: (-130)
As soon as the 76ers-Nets player props were listed, I bet JAMES HARDEN UNDER 19.5 POINTS at -120. Everyone hates when a public handicapper “past posts” but I’d still bet Harden’s point prop at this number.
First of all, Harden’s Under is juiced for a reason. Harden has been struggling offensively since injuring his Achilles March 20th vs. the Chicago Bulls.
Harden has gone Under 19.5 points in nine of his last 12 games including the playoffs. Also, Harden has scored fewer than 19.5 points in eight of his 14 playoff games since going to Philly.
He is shooting just 32.4% from the field through the 1st two games of this series despite hitting 42.9% of his 3s. In Game 2, Bridges — who is an elite defensive wing — spent more time defending Harden.
Harden put up 23 points in Game 1 but that was mostly off of contested 3-pointers. A lot of Harden’s offensive production comes at the foul line. But, playoff officiating neutralizes that and Harden has 0 free-throw attempts thus far.
BET: James Harden UNDER 19.5 points (-130) at DraftKings
Brooklyn F Royce O’Neale made 3-pointers (1.5)
- OVER 1.5 MADE 3s: (-110)
- Under 1.5 made 3s: (-120)
O’Neale is pretty much Brooklyn’s version of Philadelphia F P.J. Tucker. Both mostly play because of their defense and each can space the floor by knocking down 3s. But, O’Neale is actually a much better 3-point shooter.
According to CleaningTheGlass.com, O’Neale grades in the 69th-percentile of all NBA wings in 3-point percentage. “Wing” is a premier position in the NBA, which includes Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant.
This season, O’Neale had career highs in 3-point attempts, 3-point percentage and 3-point makes. O’Neale hit at least two 3-pointers in 48 of his 76 games this regular season.
O’Neale hit 5-of-11 from 3 in his three regular-season games vs. the Sixers. He has attempted 12 threes so far in this series and hit two 3s in Game 2. O’Neale will stay on the court due to his defense and will probably get open looks.
BET: Royce O’Neale OVER 1.5 made 3-pointers (-130) at DraftKings
Check out Geoff’s basketball betting show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed for the audio versions of the handicaps.
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
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