NBA Postseason Best Bets of the Day (5/5)


Friday night brings us critical Game 3s in two compelling series of the NBA Playoffs. The Celtics travel to Philadelphia looking to take back home-court advantage after losing Game 1 to a Joel Embiid-less 76ers team. In the Western Conference, the Suns face a desperation Game 3 at home against the No. 1 seed Denver Nuggets, and will need to find a win without their leader, Chris Paul. The Suns star point guard left Game 2 with a hamstring injury, and is expected to miss at least the next three games.  


Both games carry a spread fewer than five points, with both totals hovering between 215 and 225 points.  The FTN NBA Betting model has been very profitable throughout the season, so make sure to find where we project our biggest edges on the NBA Friday slate. 

NBA Best Bets

Joel Embiid Over 25.5 Points 

(-103, Caesars)

Joel Embiid looked strong in his return to the court for Game 2, after missing two straight games with a knee injury. He posted 15 points in just 27 minutes as Philadelphia rested their starters for much of the second half during Boston’s 34-point blowout win. 

Friday should be much closer at home, and Embiid has been provided two more days of rest. Embiid has scored 25 or more points in six of the past seven matchups against Boston, and averaged 33.7 points at home this season. 

Our model projects Embiid for 28.9 points, equating to a 64.9% winning percentage at a 14.2% edge. He is our top model points play here. 

Cameron Payne Over 5.5 Assists 

(-110, DraftKings)

This line is shockingly low for Cameron Payne, who has been very productive replacing Chris Paul in the Phoenix lineup. Payne has beaten this number in nine of the last 10 games without Paul, the only exception being against the Lakers without Devin Booker or Kevin Durant. The late-season addition of Kevin Durant has translated into assist opportunities for Payne, despite limited minutes. He posted three assists in two separate games with Durant, despite averaging just 8.5 minutes because of the presence of Paul. 

We project Payne for 7.1 assists, equating to a 20% edge and 72.3% probability of hitting. In a desperation game, at home, without Paul, look for Payne to play a major facilitation role. 


Kevin Durant Under 5.5 Assists

(+125, DraftKings)

I always like to include at least one under, and Kevin Durant Under 5.5 Assists brings a superb +125 value. Without Chris Paul, most would speculate Durant would see an increase on his 5.0 assist average. However, Durant averaged only 3.5 assists during the regular season in eight games with the Suns. 

Durant was very productive against the Clippers in Round 1, averaging 6.2 APG. However, he still fell short of this number in three of those five games. We project Durant for just 5.1 assists, equating to an 11.4% edge. This one will be close, but at +125 in a game where Durant will need to prioritize scoring, it’s worth the risk. 

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