NBA Playoff Series Odds: Sportsbooks Try To Entice Bets On Winless Raptors

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The Raptors and Pascal Siakam (43) are down 3-0 to the 76ers. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

The 76ers handled business in Toronto thanks to a heroic Joel Embiid 3-pointer in overtime on Wednesday, putting the Raptors in an 0-3 deficit in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs.

If you’re feeling frisky and want to back the Raps to stage an epic comeback, you can get +3500 at FanDuel. The Westgate SuperBook is offering +4000 odds. So is DraftKings.

Of course, you should be aware that no team has ever erased a 3-0 series deficit in the NBA playoffs, eventually getting eliminated 143 consecutive times to date. In fact, only three teams have ever reached a Game 7.

Rookie of the Year candidate Scottie Barnes is returning from an ankle sprain to play in Game 4 and Gary Trent, Jr. is looking healthier, but the Sixers have a pair of home games remaining as the higher seed and aren’t going to collapse so long as Embiid stays upright.

The other seven series in the first round of the NBA playoffs are headed into Game 3 across the board, so here’s a brief breakdown of what’s happened, what’s next and how to approach updated series prices from oddsmakers.

Heat Vs. Hawks: Miami Leads 2-0

Jimmy Butler poured in 45 points in Game 2 to squash Atlanta’s hopes of stealing a game in South Florida. He’s averaging 33 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals so far in the series while Hawks catalyst Trae Young is averaging just 16.5 points and a surreal eight turnovers per contest.

Atlanta has been an excellent home team all season (27-14 reg. season, 1-0 play-in) and won each of its home games in the first round last season against the Knicks. Young has obviously been bothered by the Heat’s perimeter defense and the fact Bam Adebayo can switch so effectively on pick-and-rolls. He averaged 5.8 turnovers per game over four regular-season meetings and shot just 31.4 percent from 3-point range as his Hawks went 1-3, winning only on Jan. 21 (110-108) in a game where they nearly blew an 18-point lead.

Atlanta is getting +900 at FanDuel and DraftKings and +1000 at Westgate, but with Clint Capela sidelined due to a knee injury and unlikely to be his usual self even if he does come back, it’s not worth taking the plunge on the Hawks rallying from an 0-2 deficit.

Celtics Vs. Nets: Boston’s Up 2-0

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving went a combined 1-for-17 in the second half of Game 2 as Brooklyn blew a 17-point lead after initially responding to getting burned at the buzzer by a Jayson Tatum game-winning layup in the series opener.

Durant shot 0-for-10 and looked out of sync as Jaylen Brown ended up making one big shot after another to help Boston’s homecourt advantage hold up. Although the Nets held the lead in the fourth quarter of both games, they’ve come up short and backed themselves into a must-win spot on Saturday.

Durant is shooting just 2-for-13 (15 percent) and has missed all three of his 3-pointers when defended by Tatum so far in this series, so there’s definitely a window for improvement at home that can help Brooklyn claw back into this.

News out of the Nets’ camp is that Ben Simmons will be ready to play in Game 4, which means that if nothing else, Brooklyn will add an elite defender and solid playmaker to the mix. Now is the time to get in on the Nets’ comeback train since you’re getting as much as +340 at FanDuel. Westgate has Brooklyn’s series odds at +330 while DraftKings is more conservative, protecting itself with +280 odds. DK has the best odds if you’re of the belief Boston will finish off the Nets, currently offering -360.

Bucks Vs. Bulls: Series Tied 1-1

Chicago stole homecourt advantage from the Bucks with a stunning Wednesday night upset at Fiserv Forum behind a 41-point outburst from Demar DeRozan. Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso all thrived as well, handing the defending champs only their second playoff home loss in two seasons, a span of 13 games.

Milwaukee went 10-1 at home last season, losing only the opening game of the Eastern Conference finals against the Hawks. Beyond the setback, the Bucks also suffered a terrible blow when guard Khris Middleton went down awkwardly and suffered a sprained MCL in the second half. Middleton will almost certainly miss the rest of this series and probably won’t be able to return until mid-May, so the Bucks will have to survive without him.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging 30 points, 17 rebounds and six assists and should be able to get whatever he wants against Chicago’s defense since they lack anyone capable of remotely bothering him, but Jrue Holiday will have to be more aggressive and guys like Grayson Allen, Pat Connaughton and Wes Matthews have to make up for Middleton’s absence. Their task will certainly be made tougher by the fact DeRozan and LaVine both look healthy and confident, so there is some value in backing the Bulls to pull off the unlikely upset.

Westgate and FanDuel are offering up just +220 and DraftKings has Chicago at +230, so those odds illustrate how possible an upset may be with the Bucks no longer at full strength. You can ride Milwaukee in the -265 to -290 range, but you’re best off waiting to see how the Bucks handle Middleton’s absence before laying so much juice.

Suns Vs. Pelicans: Series Tied 1-1

New Orleans pulled off a huge upset in Game 2 as Chris Paul fell to 0-14 in playoff games officiated by Scott Foster. Brandon Ingram was brilliant in finishing with 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists while CJ McCollum also flirted with a triple-double and shot 6-for-10 from 3-point range in the 125-114 victory.

Phoenix saw star guard Devin Booker, potentially a First Team All-NBA member this season, injured early in the second half after he scored 31 points and hit seven 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes. Booker suffered a hamstring injury that is expected to keep him out of both matchups in New Orleans, so it will be on Paul to pick up at least a split in the Big Easy in order to wrestle back homecourt advantage and buy Booker some time to mend.

Hamstring injuries can be limiting, so if you’re willing to lay the -340 (DraftKings) or even the -300 (Westgate) in expecting the West’s top team to avoid the rare 1-8 upset, you should do so understanding that it’s unlikely that Booker will be himself even if he is able to come back later in the series.

Phoenix went 8-6 without their star shooting guard and persevered without Paul as well in finishing an NBA-best 64-18, so I would resist backing the Pelicans even though you can get a return as high as +265 at DraftKings. Cameron Johnson will fill in for Booker and help the Suns advance.

Grizzlies Vs. Timberwolves: Series Tied 1-1

The Timberwolves pulled off the biggest upset of the opening weekend by stealing Game 1 from Memphis behind a 36-point night from Anthony Edwards, who got going early and stayed hot throughout in leading six Minnesota players in double-figure scoring. He led five in double-digits in Game 2 but scored only 20 as the Timberwolves managed to score only 96 points as the Grizzlies rode a strong defensive effort to get things evened up.

It remains to be seen how effective the Wolves will be at Target Center as they play their first playoff home game since 2018, when they went 1-1 against the Rockets, ultimately losing the series in five games. Karl-Anthony Towns was a puppy back then and guys like Jimmy Butler and Andrew Wiggins have given way to D’Angelo Russell, Pat Beverley and Edwards, so there’s an opportunity for Minnesota to take advantage of Memphis’ lack of playoff experience.

Ja Morant has been a force through the first two games and figures to get wherever he wants, so doubling your investment (+198 FanDuel, +220 Westgate) hinges on Minnesota overcoming his brilliance. The Wolves are an underdog in Game 3, but laying in the -250 range with the Grizzlies isn’t a great bet either. I’d recommend waiting to later in the series to make a move here.

Warriors Vs. Nuggets: Golden State Up 2-1

FanDuel has Golden State at -2000 and is enticing bets on the Nuggets by offering up a return of +1040. This despite the fact that they’ve yet to even tip off at home in the series.

A raucous atmosphere at Ball Arena and a built-in advantage due to being better acclimated to playing at altitude affords Denver at least a puncher’s chance of clawing back into the series with the Dubs, who looked dominant in San Francisco as Jordan Poole dominated and Stephen Curry thrived in an unexpected sixth man role.

There’s value in riding the Nuggets +1000 (Westgate) given the payoff, but it’s unlikely that they’re able to win four of five against Golden State given how much better the Warriors are from the perimeter and the fact Draymond Green defends Jokic as well as he does.

Mavericks Vs. Jazz: Series Tied 1-1

Luka Doncic is a game-time decision for Game 3 after missing the first two contests, so it’s likely that he’ll play barring a setback. That makes riding Dallas as a +200 bet a very intriguing option since Utah looks vulnerable with Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley both slumping.

The Jazz blew a golden opportunity to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the series with Doncic sidelined due to a calf strain, barely surviving in Game 1 and squandering a fourth-quarter lead in Game 2. Even if Doncic is a step slow in his return or opts for a few more days of rest before suiting up for Game 4, Dallas at plus money is definitely worth a look since this Jazz team looks like one that has seen its best days.

Also read: 2022 NBA Championship Odds

About the Author
Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia has been a national writer for nearly two decades and has covered NBA and college basketball as a columnist, analyst, handicapper, and bracketologist for CBS Sports, Pro Basketball News, and numerous other sites.

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