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NBA Playoff Friday: Preview and Picks

Thu, Apr 19, 8:55am by Staff Writer

The NBA playoffs are in full swing with three games slated for Friday morning.

Philadelphia and Miami begin proceedings with their series tied at 1-1. Elsewhere, Portland travel to New Orleans down 2-0, while the Spurs will be hoping to peg a game back as they trail the Warriors 2-0 after two road losses.

Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat

Friday, 20 April 2018 at 9.10am AEST at American Airlines Arena, Miami

The Miami Heat snapped Philadelphia’s 17-game winning streak after they recorded a crucial 10-point win to knot their series with the 76ers at 1-1.

Despite a road win, the Heat start game three as $2.09 underdogs, with the 76ers priced at $1.78.

After Philadelphia blew Miami away in the second half of game one, the Heat would have been forgiven for coming out looking lacklustre in game two.

Despite a slow start, a dominant second quarter propelled the Heat to victory, as the 76ers shooters Robert Covington and JJ Redick could not find their range.

Heat guard Dwyane Wade wound back the clock scoring 28 points and he was one of six Heat players in double figures.

It is hard to understand how Philadelphia are road playoff favourites given their relative inexperience in playoff basketball.

The team struggled shooting the basketball in game two, connecting on just seven three-pointers at less than 20 per cent, with Covington and Redick going a combined 2-16 from 3.

Miami fans are used to playoff basketball and will be eager to give their side the edge in this crucial game three. If the Heat manages to win game three, all of the pressure heaps on the 76ers to get a result in game four.

The overwhelming value is with a Miami Heat win and after both games in this series have been decided by 10+ points, another blowout wouldn’t be unsurprising.

Best bet- Miami Heat to win at $2.09

Portland Trailblazers at New Orleans Pelicans

Friday, 20 April 2018 at 11.10am AEST at Smoothie King Center, New Orleans

The Pelicans have defied the odds and have a 2-0 lead on Portland after winning both games at the Moda Center.

Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Nikola Mirotic have been superb for the Pelicans, but the play of their entire roster has been stellar as they shut down Damien Lillard in both games and severely limited the impact of CJ McCollum as well.

The Pels start game three as three-point favourites and $1.68 in the head-to-head market, with the Blazers $2.24 underdogs.

The first two matches in this series have been fast paced, with the Pelicans surprisingly holding their nerve late.

They shot 50 per cent from 3 in game two and will have a raucous home crowd behind them as they look to take a 3-0 lead.

Portland has been incredibly disappointing in two games, with Lillard a combined 5-16 from 3.

They have no answer for Anthony Davis, with Jusuf Nurkic lacking the athleticism and all-court game to guard Davis, who can stretch the floor and nail a long ball.

All of the momentum is with New Orleans and it would take a drastic turnaround from Portland to stop their momentum.

Best bet- New Orleans to cover -3.0 handicap at $1.95

Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs

Friday, 20 April 2018 at 11.40am AEST at AT&T Center, San Antonio

Golden State put a ragged last two months of the NBA season behind them when they went 10 wins and 10 losses to take a 2-0 lead in their best of seven series against San Antonio.

The Spurs start game three as rare home underdogs priced at $2.39, with the Warriors $1.61 favourites.

Unfortunately for San Antonio they lack a genuine superstar outside of LaMarcus Aldridge to share the scoring load and prove a threat to Golden State in this series.

Despite the Warriors being without Steph Curry, they look to have the Spurs’ measure. San Antonio shot a respectable 9-22 from 3 in game one, before a putrid display in game two where they connected on only four of 28 attempts.

Both losses for the Spurs were by a double digit margin and despite San Antonio recording one of the best home records in the NBA at 33-8 during the regular season, they will find the going tough against Golden State.

We expect the Warriors to get the job done and cover the small line in this one.

Best bet- Golden State Warriors to cover -3.5-point handicap at $1.95

NBA Playoff Friday Odds – Sportsbet

Philadelphia $1.78 v Miami $2.09

Portland $2.24 v New Orleans $1.68

Golden State $1.61 v San Antonio $2.39

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