NBABet's 5 Best Bets for Friday's NBA Playoff Games

Check out Action Network's best bets for Friday's doubleheader of NBA Playoff games: Celtics vs. 76ers, Nuggets vs. Suns.

The NBA Playoffs roll on Friday with a must-see doubleheader on ESPN: Celtics vs 76ers (7:30 p.m. ET) and Nuggets vs Suns (10 p.m. ET). The 76ers are looking to jump ahead in their series after splitting two games in Boston. The Suns are in desperation mode heading home to Phoenix down 0-2 to the Nuggets.

Action Network’s NBA crew has five best bets today for Friday’s pair of playoff games, including player props, totals and spread bets. Read on for their analysis and expert picks for Celtics vs. 76ers and Nuggets vs. Suns below.

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NBA Odds & Best Bets

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Celtics vs. 76ers 1H Moneyline
Celtics vs. 76ers Spread
Nuggets vs. Suns Player Prop
Nuggets vs. Suns Total
Nuggets vs. Suns Player Prop

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick Celtics 1H ML (-122)
Book FanDuel
Tipoff 7:30 p.m. ET

Andrew O’Connor-Watts: The first half playoff zig zag trend is a strong one (58.3% hit rate and 11.4% ROI) and if we were betting that trend blindly, the Sixers would be the play here, but the zig zag trend is just 6-6 this playoffs with a -6% ROI. I’m going with a different trend: the first half postseason Celtics.

Boston has been a great first half team all season. According to EV Analytics, the Celtics are 61-27 straight up and 49-40 against the spread this season (playoffs and regular season combined), and that dominance to start games improves in the playoffs. Since the 2019-20 season, the Celtics moneyline record is 34-18-3 for a 16.7% ROI per Bet Labs. Mostly, their stellar record has come from Rounds 1 and 2 where they’re 25-8-2 (34% ROI) and the 2023 playoffs are no different where they’re 7-1 (17% ROI).

Motivation has been a question mark for the Celtics all season and proved true in Game 1 of this series, but even in that series-opening loss, the Celtics won the first half 66-63. It’s not until later in games where the focus lets up for Boston.

On the other side, the Sixers struggle in the first half. Despite their 59-29 record in the playoffs and regular season combined, Philadelphia is 40-46 in the first half. I’ll take the Celtics on the moneyline down to -130 (reduce risk down to -135), but shop around for the best price.

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Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Pick 76ers +2.5
Book DraftKings

Joe Dellera: I covered this game in the 76ers-Celtics Game 3 betting guide (you can read that here), but I’m on Philly in this one. The 76ers have been incredible at home this season going 26-16-1 ATS (31-12 SU) including 4-1 (3-2 SU) as a home dog; however, that one ATS loss as a home dog was to Boston. Regardless, this is a good spot to back Philadelphia in their return home.

Embiid showed he had value and could play lengthy minutes in his return, and if there was not a blowout I’d have expected to see minutes in the 30s. If he’s able to play, he is the most dominant player on the floor.

I do not have these teams so far apart (even with the injury), that Philadelphia should be a home underdog in this spot and I’ll take the points in a game where both of these offenses should regulate to the mean.

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Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns

Pick Devin Booker o38.5 PTS + AST
Book FanDuel
Tipoff 10 p.m. ET

Brandon Anderson: There are several bets I’m making on tonight’s game and wrote about them in the Nuggets vs Suns Game 3 betting guide.

Cam Payne may take Paul’s minutes, but Devin Booker will likely take over the bulk of the playmaking duties. He’s been money on his assists prop in games with Kevin Durant, now up to 6.7 APG in 15 games. Unfortunately, Paul’s injury has finally caused books to push Booker’s assist line to 7.5, still with heavy juice on the over.

I don’t see a ton of value there, but still like Booker’s points + assists. He’s averaging 37.0 points and 7.2 assists per game over his last six outings with at least 35 PA every game, going over 38.5 PA in four of the six and a couple possessions away in the others. Booker is playing nearly every minute. He had 11 potential assists last game and probably hits 15 or more with Paul out, and we know he’ll score.

Keep riding the Booker wave at over 38.5 Points + Assists.

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Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns

Pick Over 224
Book Caesars

Chris Baker: I expect the Suns to turn to Cam Payne, Terrence Ross, and TJ Warren for more offense with Chris Paul out of the lineup. This is an absolute must-win for the Suns so expect head coach Monty Williams to make substantive adjustments in an effort to avoid going down 3-0.

One of the clearest adjustments the Suns can make offensively is to get more floor spacers on the court. The Nuggets have made a concerted effort to contain the ball-handler and tag the roller with the low man in pick and roll coverage. They’ve been successful in limiting the rim but they’ve been leaving a lot of wing shooters open as the low-man helps off of the corner/wing.

I think Williams will make a concerted effort to get more shooters on the floor. This scheme works with Josh Okogie and Torrey Craig are in the corners but if the Suns opt to play Ross, Payne, and Damion Lee more I think they can generate more high-quality catch-and-shoot 3s. Cam Payne taking much of Chris Paul’s minutes should result in a slightly higher pace and a bit more pressure on Jokic and the Nuggets bigs in pick-and-roll.

On the flip side of the ball, Payne, Lee, and Ross should all significantly hurt the Suns’ ability to get defensive stops. None of these guys are particularly effective defenders, nor are they versatile to switch onto Nuggets bigs or block out effectively. We also saw the Suns shoot wildly below expectation last game, as Booker and Kevin Durant both missed a ton of open looks.

The Suns also showed improvements in their effort to get up 3s, as they attempted 31 3s in game two after shooting just 19 in game one. The suns are finding some offensive answers I just think that game two was a complete outlier shooting wise.

Defensively, I think the suns may be cooked but that is why we are on the over here rather than the Suns spread. Expect more Lee and Payne minutes and that is certainly favorable for an over play.

Take this over 224 and play this up to 225.5.

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Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns

Pick Josh Okogie o9.5 PTS + REB (+106)
Book FanDuel

Bryan Fonseca: Role player game!

Chris Paul is out, so an even greater emphasis will be put on the Phoenix Suns’ role guys to produce. Josh Okogie hasn’t yet left his imprint on this series, but he did have some moments against the Los Angeles Clippers in Round 1, particularly at home.

Okogie averaged 9.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in his last two playoff home games, getting seven and three in Game 2 and 11 and 2 in Game 5. He also hit this over on a road Game 3 with six points and seven rebounds.

This is clearly one the Suns need to have, and I think they’ll get it done, but it’ll have to be beyond Devin Booker and Kevin Durant scoring, and I’ll take a flyer on Okogie being one guy who steps up, like he did in moments during the Clippers’ series. The Suns need his energy badly as their season hangs in the balance.

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