After a dreadful 24 hours without NBA Playoff basketball, we’re back in action on Friday night with a pair of Game 3s: Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers (7 p.m. ET) and Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks (9:30 p.m. ET). Both home teams are down 0-2 and in dire need of a win to stay competitive in their respective series matchups.
So how should approach tonight’s games? Our NBA betting experts have three bets for tonight. Find their analysis and best bets for those game below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a pick to skip ahead|
|Heat vs. 76ers Player Prop||7 p.m. ET|
|Heat vs. 76ers Spread||7 p.m. ET|
|Suns vs. Mavericks 1H Spread||9:30 p.m. ET|
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers
|Pick||Bam Adebayo Over 21.5 Points + Assists (-110)|
|Tipoff||7 p.m. ET|
Joe Dellera: Bam has thrived during the playoffs but his scoring has really come through during this series against DeAndre Jordan and Paul Reed.
While there are some conflicting reports about Joel Embiid’s status, the 76ers have listed him as Out for Game 3 and he’d need to make some significant strides to even see the floor. This leaves Bam Adebayo as the definitive best big on the floor.
Through two games, he’s cleared this line with points alone, but Bam’s ability as a passer makes me want to combine the two. I’ve spoke about how I do not like his rebounds prop under almost any circumstance because his excellent defensive ability often draws him out of the paint and away from rebound opportunities — it’s not a prop I want to fade, but there’s no reason to assume the risk associated with that.
Without Embiid, Philly simply has no answer for Adebayo. He’s recorded 28 and 26 points and assists in Games 1 and 2, respectively, and this line of 22.5 is basically sitting at his season long average, rather than accounting for this specific series.
Adebayo has averaged about 32 minutes per game this season, and 33.3 in the two games against Philadelphia. When he has played at least 32 minutes this season, he has cleared this 22.5 PA line in 24-of-36 games (67%); if we filter this for wins only he is 14-of-20 (70%).
Back Adebayo to continue dominating in Embiid’s absence.
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Raheem Palmer: The Philadelphia 76ers were drawing dead in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Miami Heat the moment Joel Embiid went down with an orbital fracture and a concussion in their Game 6 series close out win against the Toronto Raptors.
A more creative head coach might have given the 76ers a chance but with Glenn Rivers at the helm, the 76ers don’t have a shot given his insistence on starting and playing DeAndre Jordan heavy minutes. In 30 minutes on the floor, Jordan is a -31 as his inability to defend pick and rolls means Heat players can walk into open shots every possession.
Nonetheless, Rivers continues to avoid the obvious solution of going small, spreading the floor and just trying to outscore the Heat. They’re still fighting an uphill battle against a better team but when your head coach isn’t giving you a fighting chance to win, you’re in a tough spot.
Making matters worse, James Harden has appeared to fully reach what I like to call #LarryHolmesStatus as a past prime athlete unable to perform at the level of his peak years. Harden is averaging just 18 points per game while shooting 39.3% from behind the arc and an abysmal 25% on 3-of-12 from behind the arc.
I can’t imagine the 76ers overcoming the absence of Embiid who averaged a league leading 30.6 points per game. With the 76ers being 11.5 points per 100 possessions better with Embiid on the floor, they simply have no way to replace him. While the 76ers should shoot better from behind the arc in their home games, they still can’t defend or rebound.
Back the Heat again as they should be well on their way to completing a 4-game sweep.
Phoenix Suns vs. Dallas Mavericks
|Pick||Mavs 1H -0.5 (-130)|
|Tipoff||9:30 p.m. ET|
Brandon Anderson: The Suns shooting has been hotter than, well, the sun in this series.
Game 2 was an all-timer. Phoenix posted the seventh best field goal percentage in playoff history at 64.5%. They’re the first team ever to finish a playoff game with at least 70% on 2s and 50% on 3s.
It’s almost impossible that Phoenix’s shooting and offense doesn’t regress, at least a little, in Game 3. Besides, it’s not like Dallas’s offense has been bad. Luka Doncic has lit Phoenix up for 80 points in two games. But Doncic has clearly slowed down in the second half in both games.
He’s expending so much energy getting to his spots and doing everything in the first half that he just doesn’t have a ton left late, and that led to him getting hunted mercilessly by Chris Paul late in Game 2.
I almost wonder if Phoenix is playing a little Rope-a-Dope. The Suns know they can score well enough to hang close, so maybe they’re just sitting back in the ropes taking all of Luka’s punches, letting him punch himself out, then attacking the exhausted Mavs in the second half.
The good news is Dallas is coming home, and every basketball fan knows not to count out the home team down 0-2 in a playoff series, playing with its backs against the wall. It’s now or never for the Mavs. They have to get this game. I’m not sure they can, the way these second halves have gone. But I do expect them to come out swinging early again.
And the first half is the way to play this trend anyways, historically. Per BetLabs, home teams down 0-2 are 34-12-1 against the spread in the first half of Game 3, covering the spread an awesome 74% of the time. That trend is 2-2 already this postseason, and it fits exactly what we’ve seen so far this series, with Dallas good enough to hang early, but maybe not quite enough to finish the job late.
If you think the Mavs hang early but run out of gas, you can play the double: Dallas first half moneyline but Suns to win the game is +370 at DraftKings. But the best play here is to take that Mavs first half ATS and then see if that Rope-a-Dope kicks in late again to push the Mavericks to the brink.