After two straight days of single game slates, we now get two games for our Friday night viewing pleasure. The Celtics evened up the series against the 76ers after a shocking loss in game one, now looking to take a series lead as a small favorite on the road in game three. It was pure dominance in game two as the Celtics won 121-87.
As for the Nuggets, they hit the road with a comfortable 2-0 series lead against the Suns after a comeback effort in game two. The Suns looked to be in control throughout the contest before giving up their lead late. They also will be without Chris Paul after a groin injury, facing serious pressure to avoid a 0-3 deficit.
Celtics vs 76ers and Nuggets vs Suns Best Bets
Find best bets for Friday night’s two game slate with the Boston Celtics taking on the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets hitting the road against the Phoenix Suns. The Celtics are a -2.5 favorite and are looking to take a 2-1 series lead while the Suns are still searching for their first win as a -4 favorite in game three.
Nikola Jokic o13.5 Rebounds
It’s business as usual for the big man as Jokic has dominated the boards throughout this series. The Suns put an emphasis on crashing the glass in game two to some success, getting a lead early before seemingly abandoning their identity. Even with their extra bodies down low, Jokic finished the contest with 16 rebounds.
In fact, he has actually cleared this number in all four games against the Suns throughout the year and this one should be no different. Jokic plays as the Nuggets true big man with elite vision for where the ball will go off the rim, kick starting the Nuggets offense with his outlet passes or dribbling up the floor to force Ayton out of the interior.
Suns 1H -3
Speaking of crashing the boards, the Suns built their early game two lead off of rebounding and I believe we will see more of the same early on in game three. This helped Ayton out in the interior who plays as a passive big man, negating the Nuggets second chance points while the Suns capitalized on their more consistent shooting.
This game plan worked until they seemingly abandoned it late in the fourth quarter, giving up their lead as the Nuggets applied the pressure with second chance opportunities and higher quality looks at the rim. You can read more about this wager in my game breakdown here.
Joel Embiid o25.5 Points
It wasn’t exactly the most ideal performance in Embiid’s return from injury but that is also in large part of getting blown out for the later part of the contest. After seemingly just going through the motions and testing the pressure on his knee in game two, I am now expecting a full spirited Embiid effort in game three.
In the Al Horford minutes, Embiid has a massive advantage in the interior as one of the more dominant scorers in the league. Harden’s improved play also alleviates interior pressure on Embiid, forcing the Celtics to stretch out to respect his scoring as well. This opens up paint for Embiid, giving him free reign to attack the rim.
Al Horford o1.5 Threes
Going back to the well on this one. The analysis was spot on, but the execution missed its mark as Horford had plenty of opportunities to clear this number as he shot 1 for 8 from the perimeter.
We can expect the same amount of volume in this one as Embiid will dare him to shoot over the top. Anchoring the interior will be a higher priority to limit Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum’s drives to the rim, giving Horford space to take a high-quality look from deep.
Devin Booker First Basket Scorer
I normally avoid these types of markets, but I decided to have a little fun with this one. Booker has been the Suns first basket scorer in their last five contests and will be poised for a heavier usage rate with Chris Paul ruled out of the lineup.
Getting Booker going early and often will stretch out the Nuggets defense, implementing their game plan of applying pressure in the interior with more room for Durant and Ayton to work with. Booker has been a scoring machine in the playoffs, seemingly generating his looks with ease as he slashes to the mid-range.