NBA Playoffs - Game 3
Philadelphia +121 over Boston

Posted at 1:00 PM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle +121 BET365 +120 Sportsinteraction +113 888Sport +118

Philadelphia +121 over Boston

7:30 PM EST. The 76ers welcomed newly minted NBA MVP Joel Embiid back into the lineup in Game 2, but there were growing pains as he and they tried to adjust to the lineup change. After winning Game 1 without Embiid, Philadelphia, despite some rust, Embiid contributed 15 points and five blocks in his 23 minutes. With one game under his belt, Embiid should be better tonight. His presence on the court significantly strengthens everything the 76ers do. There is a reason he was the MVP. However, in Game 2, the Sixers struggled with their 3-point shooting, converting only 6 of 30 attempts. This was a significant drop-off from their performance in the series opener, where they made 17 shots from beyond the arc. It can't be overstated that this is now a 3-point league, and if you hit your shots from downtown, you are going to do well; if you don't, you are going to have a long night at the office.

James Harden, who put his team on his back in Game 1, was ice cold in Game 2. The dude went just 2-of-14, and he missed each of his six 3-point attempts. In Game 1, Harden was lights out, going 7-of-14 from downtown, and racking up 45 points. That sharp contrast from one game to the next is why we always preach that nobody can predict who will or won't be hot from one game to the next. The same can be said of turnovers. The Celtics turned the ball over 16 times in Game 1. MVP or no MVP, if you turn the ball over 16 times, you are going to have a hard time winning games.

Recent results, especially game-to-game in the playoffs, have a great influence. This is the time of year to be most mindful of "zig-zagging." In this series alone, we've seen a couple of the mantras we preach about play out. There was an overreaction to the injury to Embiid in Game 1. The market pounded the Celtics and got burned. Then when Embiid returned, the Sixers were still being offered up as a +7½-point underdog, the same they had opened for Game 1. There was a huge market shift to Philadelphia for Game 2, and then the Sixers got waffled. The oddsmakers opened Philly as a small one-possession underdog at home, but that number is climbing as the market zig-zags back to Boston. This is why we call "zig-zagging" one of the great wagering sins that one can commit. It's a vicious cycle that is hard to break. As for the true value in this game, the Sixers should be favored on their home court. Period. Philly outright is the call.

Finnie

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Our Pick

Philadelphia +121 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.42)

Golden State -2½ -104 over Sacramento