The Boston Celtics will look to pull off an impressive sweep when they take the floor at the Barclays Center to face the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.
The Philadelphia 76ers will also look to secure their passage to the second round in the East when they host the Toronto Raptors for Game 5 while the Dallas Mavericks try to establish home dominance against the Utah Jazz.
Let’s take a look at Monday’s NBA Playoffs Betting Games Preview:
Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets: Game 4 Analysis
The Boston Celtics will try for a sweep of the Brooklyn Nets when the pair meet at the Barclays Center for Game 4.
The Celtics, who were 3½-point underdogs in Game 3, have opened at +1½ for this one as bookmakers try to adjust for what has been a dominant display from them throughout this series so far.
Boston’s defense, especially in the fourth quarter of games, has been nothing shy of stellar and a reminder of why this team came into the playoffs rated the best in the NBA at that end of the floor.
For all the playmaking and shotmaking capabilities that Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving possess, neither one of them has been able to effectively take over games down the stretch.
Ben Simmons had been rumored to make his Nets debut in this one, but was ruled out after complaining of back soreness from returning to training. While his value to the betting markets is a non-factor, his presence certainly could be used given the limitations Brooklyn has on the defensive end. It also would reduce the heavy strain being asked of Durant and Irving on offense as primary ball-handlers.
Expect a strong start from the Nets after the way they were embarrassed in Game 3 in front of their home fans.
Durant also publicly made a point of needing to be more aggressive in the early going to help his teammates, so taking the Nets to lead after the opening quarter is a good way to bet on NBA playoffs.
Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers: Game 5 Analysis
The Toronto Raptors were able to stave off elimination with a Game 4 win in front of their fans. Now they’ll need to do it on the road if they’re going to extend this series.
The big concern for Raptors coach Nick Nurse is the health of Fred VanVleet, who is listed as questionable with a hip flexor strain.
Even if VanVleet plays, it’s imperative that he’s able to do so without pain. Anything less puts the team in a tough spot given the primary role he plays at both ends of the floor.
The Raptors have opened at +8 across all sportsbooks as a result, but that market will likely move either side of the number depending on the final confirmation regarding VanVleet’s availability.
Toronto will undoubtedly rue the missed free throws that cost the team Game 3, and with Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid officially playing with a torn ligament in his thumb, this series could’ve become very interesting if the Raptors can force at least another couple games.
Even so, this isn’t a team that will lay down and we’ve seen the adjustments made by Nurse defensively to have the Sixers try and have someone other than Embiid beat Toronto.
The Sixers benefited from a strong home whistle in the opening two games and that was notably absent in their two games in Toronto. If those fouls inside aren’t called, we could have a game that ultimately comes down to the wire.
That said, there’s little reason to believe Philadelphia won’t get the job done sooner rather than later in this series. Toronto, a popular underdog before the series got underway at +140, is currently sitting at +2200 to do the unthinkable and overcome a 3-0 series deficit.
Utah Jazz vs Dallas Mavericks: Game 5 Analysis
The Dallas Mavericks will look to secure a much-needed win on their home floor in a tightly contested series with the Utah Jazz.
Luka Doncic made his return from a calf strain in Game 4, but it wasn’t enough to secure back-to-back road wins for the Mavs. They blew a five-point lead in the final 90 seconds, going down 100-99.
Doncic admitted to feeling fatigued in the closing moments in his first game back and will certainly be better positioned to be more effective in this game.
This series is one of the few first-round matchups still in the balance and the markets are reflective of the closeness between the teams. The Mavs, who were +230 to win the series before Game 1 given the uncertainty around Doncic, are now -142 in what is now a best-of-three.
This is also the first game where Dallas is market favorites. The NBA playoff odds in this one have seen the Mavs open as -3.0 point favorites and, despite being 2-2 on the series, the home side is 4-0 against-the-spread (ATS).
That dominance has carried on from the regular season and one that should continue on Monday. Utah’s defensive vulnerabilities are ones that Dallas can largely play in to now that they have Doncic and Jalen Brunson available to share the floor together.