Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.
Here are our best bets for Friday, May 5:
The play: NBA playoffs, Phoenix Suns -4 over Denver Nuggets
The odds: -112
The book: FanDuel Sportsbook
Time/TV: 10 p.m. (ESPN)
Our take: When the Golden State Warriors routed the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of their series on Thursday night, it marked the 16th straight time a home team that had lost Game 1 of an NBA Playoff series turned around and won Game 2. Conspiracy theorists may claim that has something to do with officiating and NBA directives that series should stay interesting, or perhaps it’s referees’ human nature to favor a desperate home team and crowd.
Whatever the case, it’s a real phenomenon, and please forgive my colleague Jim Derry for a bout of temporary insanity in going against such a strong trend with yesterday’s doomed Daily Best Bet.
Tonight’s pick isn’t an exact match, as this is Game 3 between the Suns and Nuggets, but it follows the same line of thinking. The desperate Suns return home to Phoenix, where they will pull out all the stops, especially without injured point guard Chris Paul, and they may get a friendly whistle, too.
There’s also evidence for a bit of a turnaround in this series, anyway. I’m not high on the Suns long-term (or even to win this series), but they’re also not going to keep shooting sub-30% from 3-point range, either. Expect a bounce-back performance from Kevin Durant and the Suns to get back in the series tonight.
CELTICS BACK ON TRACK
The play: NBA playoffs, Boston Celtics -2.5 over Philadelphia 76ers
The odds: -110
The book: FanDuel Sportsbook
Our take: After somehow losing Game 1 to the Sixers even though they were without Joel Embiid (more on that in a minute), the Celtics evened the series with a Game 2 thumping in Embiid’s return.
Now, the series that will determine the favorite in the Eastern Conference finals switches to Philadelphia, where the Sixers will have Embiid and a raucous home crowd to re-take control of the series.
Right? Wrong. Boston is the better overall team, and the Celtics cruised in Game 2 despite a poor performance from star guard Jayson Tatum, who won’t stay down for long. As for Embiid, here’s Philly’s dirty little secret: The 76ers have a better record without the MVP than with him.
HOW WE’VE FARED
NBA playoffs: Lakers +7 over Warriors (LOST)
NBA playoffs, LeBron James UNDER 2.5 made 3-pointers (LOST)
Thursday’s record: 0-2
Total for the week: 4-3, 1 pending
Total for May: 4-3, 1 pending
Total for 2023: 92-108, 1 pending
NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)
Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).