2022 NBA playoffs – Betting tips for 76ers-Heat, Mavericks-Suns Game 1 – ESPN

Jump ahead: Game of the night | Picks and props

All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.

What you need to know for Monday’s playoff games

Reed and React: Joel Embiid‘s injury is going to be the story of this series, but DFS players and savvy gamblers should be more than ready to explore all options involving Paul Reed. The 22-year-old has averaged 9.0 points (on nearly 62% shooting from the field) and 6.2 rebounds per game this season when playing at least 15 minutes, a role that he is essentially a lock to fill with the 33.8 minutes vacated by Embiid. James Harden is clearly going to have to step up his aggression on the offensive end, but his 10.2 assists per game in the first round against the Raptors shows that his ability to create for others is still very much a strength. Reed profiles as a legitimate double-double threat in this spot and carries much more upside than downside across the fantasy/gambling industry tonight.

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Philly’s Backcourt: Tyrese Maxey played 41 minutes with Embiid off the floor in the series against Toronto. In this sample, the second-year guard produced 28.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 4.3 assists on a per-36 minutes basis. Maxey shot just 29% from 3-point range during this sample sans Embiid, which is notable given he finished third in the league in 3-point efficiency this season. Harden, meanwhile, has played 233 minutes between the regular season and the first round with Embiid off the floor. In this sample, Harden has posted a 35.1% usage rate (which would rank third in the NBA over a full season) to go along with 28.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per 36 minutes. Even as the 76ers come to town as sizable underdogs against a stout defense, recent splits suggest this backcourt could deliver as DFS building blocks and profitable prop targets.

Parlay PJ: Best known for elite defensive versatility, P.J. Tucker‘s 3-point prop of just 0.5 for Monday’s matchup with the 76ers could help those seeking a reliable parlay leg. Half of Tucker’s shots in the first round against Atlanta came from 3-point range, and with Kyle Lowry having been ruled out of the series opener due to a hamstring injury, there’s a notable void in 3-point volume in Miami’s starting lineup. With Lowry out, Victor Oladipo has seen a sizable surge in offensive opportunities in such scenarios this season. Center Bam Adebayo has become a more important distributor whenever the team’s point guard isn’t active, aiding his DFS potential and expected value for assist props.

Ending Possessions: Defensive rebounding could prove pivotal in this series between the Mavericks and Suns. Phoenix entered Sunday’s slate sitting last in the postseason in rebounding percentage (43.8%), with Dallas not far behind in 15th (45.8%). Two key players stand out for rebounding prop plays entering the opener. Luka Doncic has a rebounding prop of 9.5 for tonight’s tilt after averaging 14.7 rebounding chances in three playoff games thus far. Deandre Ayton‘s rebounding prop is 11.5 for Game 1, while he averaged 18.3 rebounding chances in the first round and dominated Dallas on the glass with 30 rebounds in 65 minutes between two regular-season meetings.

​​Wingmen: The Suns got a big boost with Devin Booker returning earlier than expected from a hamstring injury for a decisive Game 6 in New Orleans, but it didn’t appear that the MVP candidate was at full strength in closing out the Pelicans. In the victory, Booker took just a dozen shots — which matched his second-lowest tally from the regular season — and posted a usage rate 30% lower than he posted in the first two games of the series prior to injury. If Booker isn’t at full capacity to open this series with Dallas, it’s possible 3-and-D wing Mikal Bridges is tasked with a bigger scoring and shooting workload on Monday. For Dallas, Spencer Dinwiddie‘s scoring ceiling is likely lower now that Doncic is back at the helm, but he could still be an important playmaker on the second unit after averaging nearly eight potential assists over the last three games of the series with Utah.

— Jim McCormick & Kyle Soppe

Game of the night

Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat
7:30 p.m ET, FTX Arena, Miami, FLA

Line: Heat (-8)
Money line: 76ers (+285), Heat (-360)
Total: 208.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 209.4 points
BPI Win%: Heat (75.8%)

Questionable: None

Ruled Out: Joel Embiid (orbital), Kyle Lowry (hamstring)

Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Notable: Think the Heat take the opening game of this series? If so, the 76ers team total might be one worth targeting. This regular season, Philadelphia averaged 13% fewer points in losses than in wins, a trend that very much continued in Round 1 against Toronto (119.8 PPG in wins and 95 PPG in losses).

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Best bet: Heat -8. The 76ers were already operating at a significant disadvantage in regards to rest prior to the news that Embiid would be sidelined with the orbital fracture and mild concussion he sustained in Philadelphia’s Game 6 win at Toronto. However, now that Embiid finds himself on the shelf, I see Miami cruising in a Game 1 blowout.

With Embiid on the court this season, Philadelphia produced a net rating of 7.9. To put that into perspective, Phoenix led the NBA in net rating this season at 7.5. Now, compare that with what happens when Embiid is on the bench, as Philly’s net rating plummets to -3.6. That’s the same net rating the Indiana Pacers produced this season, which ranked 24th in the NBA. Miami rolls here. — Joe Fortenbaugh

Best bet: 76ers team total under 100.5. This is extremely low for the Sixers, but they are without Embiid. Miami’s defense has been stout not only during the regular season, but also the opening round against the Hawks. Miami held Atlanta to under 100 points in three of their five matchups, allowing the Hawks to average just 97.4 points. Philadelphia averaged 109.5 PPG on the road this season, but averaged only 100.0 PPG in their four matchups against Miami — and Embiid played in three of those four games. — Erin Dolan

Best bet: Tyrese Maxey over 22.5 points. In addition to how Maxey has performed in the playoffs with Embiid off the court, it should be noted what he did against the Heat during the regular season without Embiid or James Harden. Maxey scored 28 points and shot 60% from the field, lead the 76ers to a surprise win on March 21. Maxey will be the 76ers most explosive scorer tonight and should have a big game. — Andre Snellings

Best bet: James Harden over 17.5 combined assists and rebounds. The 76ers will have to play a completely different style of basketball without Embiid. They will be focused on a more perimeter-oriented attack where Harden will have to set up his teammates. I expect Philadelphia to push the pace, with Harden crashing the glass and start fast breaks himself. He is on triple-double-watch all series. — Snellings

Best bet: James Harden over 42.5 points + assists + rebounds. Harden’s usage rate rises to 36% when Embiid is off the court. He scored 22 points, grabbed six rebounds, and had 15 assists in Game . Harden’s in a good position to put together a monster line. — Eric Moody

Best bet: Jimmy Butler over 36.5 points + assists + rebounds. The Heat face a 76ers team that was outscored by 11.6 points per 100 possessions when Harden played without Embiid during the regular season, according to Cleaning the Glass. While Butler is an excellent finisher, his playmaking ability will be even more valuable without Kyle Lowry on the court. — Moody

Breaking down the rest of the slate

Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns
10:00 p.m ET, Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Line: Suns (-5.5)
Money line: Mavericks (+190), Suns (-230)
Total: 215 points
BPI Projected Total: 210.5 points
BPI Win%: Suns (60%)

Questionable: None

Ruled Out: Tim Hardaway Jr. (foot)
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play

Notable: There might well be a nice live betting opportunity in this game at the end of the third quarter. The Suns were far and away the best fourth quarter team in the league this regular season (+2.6 points per game) and in their four wins in Round 1, they won the fourth quarter by an average of 4.3 points. The Mavericks, on the other hand, lost the fourth quarter in four out of six Round 1 games, including all three in which Doncic was active.

Best bet: Under 215 points

I’m surprised this total jumped from its opening price of 213 all the way north to 215. After all, these are two elite defenses that each play at a methodical, slow pace. Not only did Phoenix and Dallas both rank in the top seven in terms of defensive efficiency this season, but their respective pace metrics have plummeted in the playoffs. The Mavericks, who ranked dead last in pace (95.6) during the regular season, have seen that metric drop to 91.2 in the playoffs. As for Phoenix, their pace metric has crashed from 100.2 during the regular season to 94.7 in the postseason. This game should be a grind. — Fortenbaugh

Best bet: Under 215 points. I agree with Joe. In addition to all of the excellent stats he laid out, I look at the styles. According to Second Spectrum, Luka Doncic and Chris Paul use the second and third-most on-ball picks in the NBA, with the pick-and-roll/pop as the centerpiece of both offenses. But, the Suns allow the second-fewest points per direct pick in the NBA (0.932) and the Mavericks also rank among the 10 stingiest defenses against the play (0.96 points allowed per direct pick). These teams are just built to slow each other down. — Snellings

Best bet: Deandre Ayton over 29.5 points + rebounds. Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber will find it difficult to defend Ayton in one-on-one situations,. Ayton is aggressive and confident on the court and has averaged 23 PPG and 10.3 RPG over the past four games. His momentum should continue against the Mavericks. — Moody

Best bet: Luka Doncic under 48.5 points + assists + rebounds. No team in the league is better suited to contain Doncic than the Suns. Phoenix has multiple on ball options and a superb scrambling defense to recover when overcommitting. Doncic has averaged 28.5 PPG, 7.0 APG, and 7.3 RPG over his past four games against the Suns and has shot 43.3% from the field. –– Moody

Best bet: Jalen Brunson over 23.5 points + assists. The Suns will devote a lot of defensive attention to Doncic, and I expect Mikal Bridges to spend a lot of time guarding him. The other Phoenix defenders are not a match for Brunson. He averaged 28 PPG and 4.2 APG in the first round of the playoffs and should be able to duplicate those numbers tonight. — Moody

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