By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
[8:10 p.m. EST] Over 228 – Philadelphia 76ers at Brooklyn Nets
If you haven’t been near a TV set this past week, let me fill you in – these two teams don’t like each other. Not only that, but the Brooklyn crowd will be going absolutely bonkers for its first home playoff game since 2015, which actually seems a lot longer than that. Add in the mix of Philly fans that are likely to make the trip down I-95 to Barclays Center, and we’re looking at one of the more electric atmospheres for any first-round matchup.
So, what does it all mean? Excitement, and plenty of it. In fact, four of the six meetings (regular season and playoffs) between these two teams have resulted in the total going over. Looking deeper into it, both teams scored at least 110 points in those four games and at least 123 in three of the six.
The Nets know the only way they’re beating the 76ers is by outscoring them… duh. But most of Brooklyn’s best defensive efforts held Philly to a high total throughout the year. The only time one of these teams didn’t reach 100 was back in the first meeting on Nov. 4 when the 76ers lost 122-97.
All in all, these teams are going to score, and you don’t want to be the stick in the mud that takes the under in this one.
[9:10 p.m. EST] Denver Nuggets at San Antonio Spurs (-4, -174 ML)
This series has been sort awkward, in that Games 1 and 2 weren’t really close until the fourth quarter. The Spurs lost their way late in that last game but completed the mission by taking back homecourt advantage in the best-of-seven battle. If it weren’t for a magical second-half performance from Jamal Murray in Game 2, San Antonio would be looking to put Denver in a deep 0-3 hole.
The Spurs have shown they are more than capable of handling their counterparts in this series. With the scene shifting back to AT&T Center, look for San Antonio to capitalize on the strides they’ve made so far. After all, the Spurs went 32-9 at AT&T Center this season and the Nuggets haven’t won there since March 2012.
If bettors needed a reminder, the Spurs had the second-best odds (OKC was first) of any underdog to win a first-round series, and that has now changed after the Thunder fell in an 0-2 hole. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, San Antonio now has the best odds (+122) of all underdogs to win a first-round series. I’m no mathematician, but that’s a pretty good indication of an upset going down.
The second-highest SK Trend Confidence of tonight’s NBA slate is the Spurs on the moneyline. However, the four-point spread shouldn’t be that tough to hit either, but you’ll be laying more money out to do so.
[10:40 p.m. EST] Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers (+8.5/+300 ML)
The almighty Warriors couldn’t possibly lose two straight first-round games to the Clippers, could they? Well, according to our Value Picks section, the Clippers on the moneyline has the highest SK Trend Confidence of the NBA slate. Reason being, you only have to lay $100 in order to bring back $300 in return.
It’s not totally out of the question either, consider Los Angeles did pull the major upset in Game 2 after being down 31 points, and now have the momentum coming into Game 3. Fans around the globe will certainly tune in to see how Golden State comes out in this game, and there could be some bumps in the road as they learn to cope without DeMarcus Cousins. Granted, the Warriors have had plenty of success without him before, but this is a scrappy and well-coached Clippers team that has a ton of pesky competitors on their side.
Golden State seems to have no answer in this series for Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrel, who have been excellent as always off the bench. And, of course, we can’t forget the impact Patrick Beverley has had in pestering Kevin Durant whenever possible.
The Warriors might eventually win this series, but the SK system sees a few trends that’ll ultimately make that goal a little tougher to reach — starting tonight. If the moneyline seems too risky, going with the Clippers +8.5 could end up being more ideal for bettors. After all, 95% of the public’s money is on the Warriors, and most know that running the opposite way of the public has worked plenty of times before.