It took about 15 minutes of playoff action before Philadelphia fans were booing their 76ers.
It’s somewhat understandable as the team that was expected to compete for a spot in the NBA Finals ended up losing to the Brooklyn Nets in their playoff opener at home.
However, the Sixers showed up in a big way in Game 2, rolling over the Nets by a score of 145-123.
Game 3 tips off on Thursday; DraftKings Sportsbook has Philadelphia favored by 3 points on the road.
But since the series is evened up, is now the right time to bet the 76ers to win the battle with the Nets?
Sixers still favorites to win series
The 76ers opened up in the neighborhood of -700 to win this series while the Nets were at +500.
However, after the split in Philadelphia where Brooklyn stole home-court advantage, the prices have changed quite a bit.
The 76ers are now -370 at Caesars Sportsbook while the Nets are at +300. The odds are similarly tight across New Jersey gambling sites. BetStars NJ and FanDuel Sportsbook have 76ers favored by -333 and -300, respectively.
And over at SugarHouse online sportsbook, the odds are close but still favor the Sixers. That is their hometown casino after all.
Game 3 will be critical. If the Nets win, we could see this series move into the neighborhood of a pick, although the 76ers are still likely to be favored by about -150 or -175.
If the 76ers win, they’ll move back into the -700 or even -800 neighborhood where they originally opened.
Here’s a closer look at the 76ers series odds against the Nets at NJ online sports betting sites:
|Philadelphia 76ers vs.||-335||-333||-330||-370||-335|
Three things to consider when placing your bet
Game 2 may have ended on a happy note for Philadelphia, but not everything is as it seems when it comes to placing your Sixers bet in New Jersey.
Here are a few things to consider as we head into Game 3:
Embiid’s knee injury a concern
Bettors have to be concerned with the fact that 76ers star center Joel Embiid just isn’t fully healthy.
He’s played no more than 24 minutes in each game, which is well below his season average. We know he’s been laboring down the stretch of the season, playing in just 10 games since the All-Star break.
Furthermore, when you take a look at the schedule, there aren’t many breaks for Embiid. There are two days off between Game 2 and Game 3, and then there are two days off between Game 4 and Game 5. The rest of the time it’s just one-day breaks.
If his knee is, in fact, in rough shape, he could fade as the series progresses.
Bad game or bad quarter?
That’s what bettors need to figure out.
The 76ers led 64-63 at the half of Game 2, so they weren’t exactly in control. However, they exploded for 51 points in the third quarter en route to the win.
It’s worth noting that the 76ers were outscored 36-29 in the fourth quarter, so the Nets are left wondering if it was just a bad quarter or if it’s truly a turn in the series?
The importance of 3-point shooting
As the playoffs got underway this past weekend, one interesting stat came to light: Every team that won Game 1 of their series made more three-pointers than their opponent.
The Nets hit 15-of-36 threes in Game 2 compared to just nine-of-23 for the 76ers and have now outscored them 78-36 from beyond the arc.
If the Nets can continue to thrive from three, they’re going to be in this series for a while — and possibly win it.
Free player prop picks for Sixers-Nets Game 3
Caris LeVert Points Scored
Over/under 14.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
I’ll be looking for Caris LeVert to have a better performance in Game 3.
He had 23 points in Game 1 but fell back 13 in Game 2. He had 13 points in just 20 minutes in Game 2. So if he sees more action in Game 3, he’ll likely get over the 14.5-point total.
The other factor here is that LeVert played better at home than on the road during the regular season. He averaged 15.7 points while shooting 44.9% from the field and 39.2% from three at home compared to 12.2 points on the road with 41.3% from the field and 23.7% from three.
Bottom line: Bet the over 14.5
Embiid Points Scored
Over/under 26.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
This line seems a bit off. Embiid is banged up and played just 24 minutes in Game 1 and 21 minutes in Game 2.
That’s well below his norm as he’s typically up in the 33-minute range. We know he has a knee injury, which is why he was doubtful for Game 1. He scored 23 points in Game 2 and 22 in Game 1, so he’s well below the 27.5 he averaged in the regular season.
The Nets’ Ed Davis limited Embiid in Game 1 but got in foul trouble in Game 2, only playing six minutes. If he stays out of foul trouble and Embiid is still banged up, which I expect him to be, under looks good.
Bottom line: Bet the under 26.5.