NBA Betting Guide: Monday 8/17/20

numberFire has built comprehensive algorithms to pinpoint the bets with the highest probability of returning money, whether you are betting on the total, game line, or moneyline. For those new to numberFire, we use a five-star system to show which bets you should be targeting on any given night. Stars represent how much you should risk on a wager relative to what you would normally bet.

For example, if you would usually bet $110 to win $100 on a -110 spread wager, if we give a 3-star ranking, we suggest risking three times that amount: $330 to win $300.

Using our models as a guide, let's take a look at the best bets for tonight.

Please note that lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics

Under 218.0: 3-Star Rating out of 5

After an entertaining restart to the season in the bubble, the NBA playoffs are now here. The Eastern Conference will kick-off with the 7 seed Brooklyn Nets against the 2 seed Toronto Raptors and follow that up today when the 6 seed Philadelphia 76ers take on the 3 seed Boston Celtics.

The Sixers have taken three of their four previous matchups this season, but it's the Celtics who come into tonight's game favored by 5.5 points. Instead of looking at the spread, however, numberFire's models are keener on the under. The under has gone 3-1 in the teams' previous matchups this season, despite an average total of just 213.0 points, 5.0 below tonight's total.

The under was 27-18 in last year's playoffs when there was more than a 5.0-point spread. The over hit just 41.2% of the time in last year's playoffs when the total was set at under 220 points.

The under has gone 23-17 in Celtics games when the total has been set under 220 points; it's gone 16-13 when the Celtics have been favored in those games.

Our models project the Atlantic Division foes to combine for just 210.5 points this evening. We give the under a 63.7% chance of hitting. With an expected return of $121.60 on a $100 bet, we mark the under as a three-star play.

Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers

Mavericks +6.0: 2-Star Rating out of 5

The Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets kick off the Western Conference Playoffs today, which will be followed with another banger matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers have won all three matchups between the teams this season, sandwiching a 3-point win with two 15-point wins. They've also gone 3-0 against the spread, though numberFire's models expect that record to move to 3-1 after this evening's matchup.

The Mavericks have only been more than 5.0-point underdogs nine times this season. They've won seven of those games, going 8-1 ATS in those games, covering by an average of 10.8 points. The only time they haven't covered this season was last week's game against the Phoenix Suns, a game which meant nothing for Dallas and in which Luka Doncic only played 13 minutes. Kristaps Porzingis did not take the court.

Patrick Beverley is questionable for tonight's Game 1. The Clippers have gone 10-11 ATS without him in the lineup. The Mavericks have gone 11-9-1 ATS when the total has been set at 230 points or more. In the bubble, underdogs of more than five points have gone 7-4 ATS when the total has been set at 230 points or more.

numberFire's models project the Clippers to win by 2.5 points. However, they give the Mavericks a 61.1% chance of covering the 6.0-point spread. With an expected return of $116.60 on a $100 bet, we mark the bet as a two-star play.