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NBA First-Round Playoff Preview | Odds, Stats, and Expert Picks for 8/17/20

Believe it or not, the NBA Playoffs have finally arrived after what seems like forever. Today’s slate includes four games, all of which have their own appeal of tuning in on the TV.

All 22 teams that entered the NBA bubble played eight games apiece, and now it’s time for these games to matter for most of them. We have a great rivalry matchup in the Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers and a star-laden matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks that will headline the day.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the odds and best value plays from all four of the playoff games on the NBA slate. All of these lines are according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets

1:30 p.m. EST | Watch: ESPN

Total: 215.5 points | Over: -113 | Under: -108
UTA | Spread: +5 (-109) | Moneyline: +170
DEN | Spread: -5 (-112) | Moneyline: -200

Where’s the Money Going? (as of 10:30 a.m. EST today)

Spread: DEN, 67% of bets made | DEN, 90% of money wagered
Moneyline: DEN, 80% of bets made | DEN, 96% of money wagered
Total: Over, 80% of bets made | Over, 55% of money wagered

Betting Pick: Nuggets -5 (-112)

The Nuggets all three meetings during the regular season, with each one coming by six points or fewer. This time around, though, they will be missing Will Barton and Gary Harris – but that is negated by the fact that Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic and Ed Davis are out for the Jazz. We’re seeing a ton of money come in on Denver every which way, and it makes sense since Utah has a -1.8 deficit (largest on the slate) from its initial team total. The duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray should be able to get the best of Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors

4:00 p.m. EST | Watch: ESPN

Total: 222 points | Over: -113 | Under: -108
BKN | Spread: +10 (-110) | Moneyline: +360
TOR | Spread: -10 (-110) | Moneyline: -455

Where’s the Money Going?

Spread: BKN, 51% of bets made | TOR, 62% of money wagered
Moneyline: TOR, 71% of bets made | TOR, 89% of money wagered
Total: Under, 58% of bets made | Under, 78% of money wagered

Betting Pick: Nets +9.5 (-110)         

The sharp money is with Toronto, as it probably should be. However, if anyone knows just how scrappy this Brooklyn bunch is, you’re looking at him. One thing we’ve seen in recent NBA Playoff memory is that the upsets or close games are more likely to happen in Game 1, rather than any other game in the series. While the Nets don’t necessarily have the size to bang with the Raptors, they’ll be able to move the ball around and create high-quality shots. I do think Toronto will win this game but 9.5 points are a lot to cover against such a scrappy bunch.

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics

6:30 p.m. EST | Watch: ESPN

Total: 218.5 points | Over: -112 | Under: -109
PHI | Spread: +6 (-110) | Moneyline: +205
BOS | Spread: -6 (-110) | Moneyline: -250

Where’s the Money Going?

Spread: BOS, 73% of bets made | BOS, 83% of money wagered
Moneyline: BOS, 74% of bets made | BOS, 89% of money wagered
Total: Over, 75% of bets made | Over, 79% of money wagered

Betting Pick: Celtics -6 (-110)

The absence of Ben Simmons all but crushed the 76ers’ chances of making a deep playoff run. We’ll see the Celtics take the early lead in this series today and never look back. There’s a nice nucleus of players like Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart that will be able to get some life out of these playoffs. Look for Boston to key in solely on Joel Embiid and make his teammates beat them in Game 1.

Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers

9:00 p.m. EST | Watch: ESPN

Total: 230 points | Over: -112 | Under: -109
DAL | Spread: +6 (-110) | Moneyline: +215
LAC | Spread: -6 (-110) | Moneyline: -265

Where’s the Money Going?

Spread: LAC, 67% of bets made | LAC, 81% of money wagered
Moneyline: LAC, 67% of bets made | LAC, 55% of money wagered
Total: Over, 74% of bets made | Under, 58% of money wagered

Betting Pick: Clippers -6 (-110)

This pick could very well change before the late tipoff tonight but, for now, I’ll be taking the Clippers. Montrezl Harrell, Patrick Beverley and Landry Shamet are all listed as questionable for LA with various ailments or situations. The key here, though, is the defense of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on Luka Doncic for the remainder of this series. I’m one of the biggest Doncic fans on the planet, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Kawhi and PG will do nothing but focus on him defensively in each game. In addition, the Mavs have a long list of injuries as Courtney Lee, Dwight Powell and Jalen Brunson are all out.