NBA Best Bets – 5/1/23

76ers @ Celtics

The Celtics are now the favorite to win the Finals (+120). Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Since sweeping the Nets, the 7e6rs have been waiting for the Celtics to finish off the Hawks to start this series.

Both teams were heavily favored in the first round, but now Philadelphia is a severe underdog taking on the new favorite in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia has reached this point in four of the last five years, but they haven’t seen a conference finals in over 20 years. They hope things change in 2023, but it’s unlikely as they face off against a familiar foe.

The Celtics have knocked the 76ers out of the playoffs twice in the past five years, and they have never needed more than five games to do so. So while this Philly squad is stronger than the ones from years past, that’s a statement we find ourselves saying each season.

It was shocking that Boston needed six games to take care of Trae Young and company, but it was likely a reality check that they will not waltz their way to the Finals. The 76ers are but a stepping stone, and while they are a worthy opponent, they shouldn’t give the Celtics much trouble.

Series Spread: Boston -2.5 (+100)

This season, the games between these two teams have been tight, but tonight’s battle holds a double-digit spread. The line opened at (-7) but reached as high as (-10) as Joel Embiid is listed as doubtful for tonight.

Boston has won two of the last three meetings, with each game decided by 7 points or less. However, Embiid scored 121 points over those three games, topping out at 52. Without Embiid, this team is in trouble. If somehow Embiid ends up playing, (+10) is a gift, but as it currently stands, Boston is the way to go in Game 1.

Boston -9.5 (-110)

Phoenix @ Denver

After winning Game 1, the Nuggets are a (-170) favorite to win the series. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After wiping the floor with the Suns in Game 1, the Nuggets are still just a four-point favorite tonight for Game 2.

This is the series for the West; whoever wins here should have no problem taking out old man Lebron or the past their prime Warriors. These two franchises have been yearning for a title and have come so close in recent years just to fall short. The Nuggets have never been to the Finals, and the Suns have never won in the Finals. The door is wide open for them this year.

It’s not a big deal that the Suns dropped a game in Denver, so seeing that large plus money for Phoenix to advance is too nice to pass up. If things play out right, bettors may have a chance to also grab Denver at plus money later on in the series.

Series Winner: Phoenix (+140)

As for tonight’s battle, it makes sense that the home team is favored. The home team has won in the last five meetings between these teams. However, the Suns’ squad taking the court tonight is very different than the ones in the past. Phoenix may steal one tonight, but the numbers say to stick with Denver.

Denver -4 (-110)

 

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