Thursday’s NBA Playoffs Betting Advice

All Three Home Teams Facing Elimination

The Toronto Raptors will look to force a Game 7 when they host the Philadelphia 76ers in a must-win game at Scotiabank Arena. The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz will also look to stave off elimination at home when they face the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks, respectively. Let’s take a look at our NBA playoffs betting advice.

Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers: Game 6 Analysis

The Toronto Raptors look to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 6.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers has come under the microscope due to his past failings of his teams to hold a 3-1 lead in the playoffs. It has become the main talking point heading into Thursday’s game.

“It’s easy to use me as an example,” said Rivers in his pregame press conference ahead of the team’s third attempt to wrap up this series. “I wish y’all would tell the whole story with me. All right?”

Rivers has lost three series while holding a 3-1 lead – the most by any coach in NBA history.

The concern for many in this series is that the longer it goes, the more it becomes advantageous to Toronto for a variety of reasons, one of which includes the coaching disparity on the sidelines.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse continues to do an impressive job in his game-to-game adjustments and making life increasingly difficult for Joel Embiid.

That has resulted in Philadelphia’s James Harden again taking more public flak for not doing enough to play his part as the team’s second superstar on the floor.

All of this will only garner more spotlight and attention should the Sixers be forced into a Game 7 in their building in what would be a win-or-go-home scenario for both teams.

The Raptors, who have -1½ on most sportsbooks in the lead up to tip-off for this one, were as high as +2200 to win this series after losing Game 3 at home. They are currently down to +500 to win the series and a win would cash their +1½ game series handicap for those who took that option prior to Game 1.

Phoenix Suns vs New Orleans Pelicans: Game 6 Analysis

The Phoenix Suns will look to avoid a Game 7 scenario as well as they look to close out a pesky New Orleans Pelicans team on the road at the Smoothie King Center.

The Suns seemed to find the balance that been searching for in Game 5 as they secured a 112-97 win that highlighted their true ceiling at both ends of the floor, even in the absence of leading scorer Devin Booker.

Phoenix coach Monty Williams finally saw his team get some rhythm from beyond the arc, recording a +15 advantage in 3-point scoring on the night – a welcome change from the perimeter disparity that has gone against the Suns for the series to date.

The Pelicans were still able to dominate the inside and the rebound disparity is making it difficult for Phoenix to overcome the extra possessions being generated.

That said, the fact that the Suns were able to force 15 turnovers in Game 5 while only having single-digit turnovers themselves was a good way to overcome that. If they can again take care of the basketball and force turnovers, that will be the equalizer needed to offset the mismatch on the offensive glass.

The Pelicans have had quite the journey to get this far. In December, the team was as high as +1800 NBA odds to make the playoffs and managed to overcome a tough play-in tournament that involved games against the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers.

Willie Green has done an excellent job coaching them through those games. He has shown his astute talent in playoff environments by ensuring his team has been able to maximize whatever small advantages have existed for them against the top team in the NBA.

Despite their strong showings in this series and the vocal public support for them in the markets the Pelicans are still sitting at +800 to win their next two games in this series and are currently two-point underdogs here in Game 6.

The longer the series goes, the more fatigue will likely play a part as well for New Orleans, given the extra games and minutes logged by its players in the past month. With a slower-paced game again expected, everything seems to be lining up for Phoenix to finally get the job done against a resilient No. 8 seed.

 

Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz: Game 6 Analysis

The Utah Jazz will look to respond from a Game 5 humiliation on the road as they were resoundly beaten 102-77 by the Dallas Mavericks.

Luka Doncic continues to stamp his authority on the series while the Jazz continue to trend in the opposite direction. Utah again struggled to put together any sort of basketball that reflects the team’s values and identity in recent years under Quin Snyder.

Things were made to look worse as Jazz leading Donovan Mitchell left the game with a quad contusion, but the latest updates have him listed as probable to take the floor for Game 6 in Utah.

While the Jazz have been a strong home team all season, they were very close to going 0-2 in their own building. A late Rudy Gobert alley-oop rounding off a 5-0 run from the Jazz in the final 1:37 that saw them steal a 100-99 win in Game 4.

The Mavs’ defense seems to have figured out Utah’s play for the most part and there’s not much the Jazz can do differently to startle a defense that has been an elite half-court unit all season.

Point guard Mike Conley and Mitchell are both likely to be dealing with niggles in this game and their rim-and-3 style simply hasn’t fazed a Dallas team that is top five in the league at defending both those areas on the floor.

While the scoreline was flattering for Utah in Game 5, there was no denying that its offense was able to again generate the shots they wanted on almost every trip up the floor.

Doncic and Jalen Brunson are the style of guards that Utah has struggled to deal with all season long. They can penetrate the first line of defense and are comfortable playing in the mid-range while also creating for perimeter shooters should the defense collapse and overcommit to them.

Despite that impressive Game 5 performance, the markets still had Dallas at +1.0 in this spot, but strong market support has flipped that number to a pick’em as we approach tip-off.

The Mavs are now -550 to win the series after sitting at -140 prior to Game 5. There are plenty who are sitting on a variety of plus-money prices on Dallas to win the series prior to Game 1 and Game 2, given the undisclosed status of Doncic and after Utah having stolen home court advantage.

Our best NBA playoffs betting advice would be to ride the Mavs in this spot given the momentum they have and the difference in team chemistry that is beginning to show itself more and more as the series progresses.

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