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The Philadelphia 76ers welcome the Boston Celtics to the Wells Fargo Center on Friday after stealing Game 1 on the road earlier this week. Philly is listed as a slight underdog, and the Sixers went 4-1 ATS in that spot this season, winning three outright.
Out West, Phoenix dropped both games in Denver to open their conference semifinal series, and the Suns need a win in Game 3 to avoid going down 3-0. They are favored by 4.5 points tonight against the Nuggets and are 3-1 in their last four games at home against Denver dating back to the 2021-22 season.
Our Wednesday edition of player props finished 2-1, bringing us to 6-3 over our last three batches of best bets. Friday is another opportunity to build our bankroll across two Game 3s in Philadelphia and Phoenix, and tonight’s PrizePicks prop card is presented next.
The recently named 2022-23 MVP returned to the Sixers' starting lineup on Wednesday for Game 2 in Boston but was unable to find his footing in what turned out to be a bad loss.
Embiid attempted just nine field goals in 27 minutes, finished with 15 points thanks to hitting 7-of-8 free throws, and made his most significant impact on the game with his defense in racking up five blocks.
The center didn’t hit the 25-point mark in Philadelphia’s second-round loss to Miami last season after missing the first two games of that series to injury. We’ll need to see whether Embiid can rebound this quickly from a lackluster game two while still nursing the sprain in his right knee.
Ayton started this series against Denver with rebounding performances of seven in Game 1 and eight in Game 2, a significant drop-off from his 11.2 per game average in their first-round victory over the Clippers.
Phoenix as a team has a net rebounding margin of -13 in this series, and Nikola Jokic has been a menace on the boards, hauling in 35 rebounds to lead the Nuggets to a 2-0 advantage. Kevin Durant has averaged 11 boards per game in two losses to Denver, and Ayton will need to make his presence felt more if Phoenix is going to compete on the glass.
Ayton averaged 10.2 rebounds per game at home this season compared to a 9.7 average on the road, and we expect some home cooking and a small chip on his shoulder to lead to double-digit rebounds tonight.
Murray’s jump in productivity during the postseason doesn’t get the same attention as Jimmy Butler’s, but it is substantial. The Nuggets’ point guard averages more points, assists, and rebounds per 36 minutes in the playoffs compared to his regular season numbers, and shoots the ball more effectively from the free-throw line, beyond the arc, and from the floor in general.
Murray continues to add to this disparity in 2023, averaging 25.7 points per game and setting new playoff-best marks in assists and rebounds per game. Denver’s best chance at a deep playoff run will require Murray to maintain this level of play, and we project that will continue as the Nuggets play in Phoenix for the first time in the series.
With this knowledge and the absence of Chris Paul for the Suns tonight, we’ll play Murray’s over.