NBA Playoff Picks for Thursday, April 20, 2023

By Betmaker Team

There are three games on Thursday night, and two teams will try to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their first round series. However, the oddsmakers view those two series very differently. The Philadelphia 76ers are a whopping -5000 favorite by the NBA futures odds at BetRivers Sportsbook to put away the Brooklyn Nets at this point, and it would probably take a major injury or two for Philly to lose this series. Meanwhile, although the Sacramento Kings are up 2-0 on the Golden State Warriors, the Kings are only a -180 favorite by the basketball betting odds at BetRivers Sportsbook.


As for me, I’m coming off a 2-0 performance on Tuesday night. I liked all three favorites at home, and all three teams took care of business. The Boston Celtics once again defeated the Atlanta Hawks by 13 points to cover the NBA betting line, and the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back from a Game 1 loss to the New York Knicks to hammer them in Game 2.


NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook


Sacramento Kings +5 at Golden State Warriors


The Golden State Warriors will not have Draymond Green available for Game 3. Green was suspended for one game after stomping on Domantas Sabonis in the fourth quarter of Game 2 on Monday night, and Sabonis is considered questionable to play on Thursday. While Green is not much of an offensive threat, he is the key to Golden State’s defense, so his presence will be missed given how much the Warriors have struggled to stop the Kings. However, if Sabonis doesn’t play, the Kings will be without their best big man, and they will have to rely on Trey Lyles and Alex Len to play a lot more minutes than usual.


Although Sabonis could miss this game, I still really like the Kings to cover and think they will win outright if Sabonis does take the court and is 80% or better. Sacramento’s guards have shredded Golden State in this series with De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk thriving. Fox is averaging 31.0 PPG, 7.0 APG, and 3.5 APG through two games, and he is making 46% of his field goals. As for Monk, he is averaging 25.0 PPG and knocking down 50% of his field goals, 45.5% of his threes, and 94.4% of his free throws. That has helped them overcome a dreadful shooting performance from Kevin Huerter the first two games, and they will be even better if Huerter returns to form.


While Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are playing relatively well, combining for 100 points through two games, the Warriors’ supporting cast has not been good. There was an assumption that Andrew Wiggins would slide back into the mix and perform like he did last year after missing an extended period of time, but he has struggled. Additionally, Jordan Poole has underperformed his new contract all year, and those are supposed to be the other main scoring options. That doesn’t leave Golden State in a great position.


Bet-Rivers-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-53-PM-4Phoenix Suns -2.5 at Los Angeles Clippers


While the Los Angeles Clippers stole Game 1, they were outclassed by the Phoenix Suns in Game 2. Phoenix figured out that it needed to run things through Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, and that led to Durant and Booker teaming up for 63 points. The Clippers didn’t have much of an answer for those two leading the way as Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton took more of a back seat.


Kawhi Leonard had another big game, and Russell Westbrook played even better than he did in Game 1, but the Clippers didn’t have enough horses in the end. The third leading scorer for the Clips finished with 12 points, and that seems very likely to be a problem for this team throughout the series.


The only way Phoenix loses this series is if the Suns beat themselves. Phoenix simply has too much talent, and Durant’s ability to fit into any scheme is pretty incredible in this day and age. The Clippers may win one more game against the Suns, but unless Paul George returns, they are drawing dead when it comes to beating the Suns in a seven-game series.