NBA Betting Guide: Friday 8/21/20

Are Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers headed for another poor offensive outing against the Boston Celtics? What bets do our models like for Friday's slate?

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 217.5: 3-Star Rating out of 5

The Philadelphia 76ers were just 20th in the league in scoring during the regular season, but those 110.7 points per game look astronomical compared to the 101 points that the team has put up in each of their first two playoff games against the Boston Celtics. The team is shooting 43.8% from the floor thus far, 3.0% below their regular-season output. Take away Joel Embiid and the remaining Sixers are hitting just 41.1%.

The teams have now faced off six times this season, splitting the season series thus far despite Boston's early dominance in Round 1. The under is now 4-2 when they take the court, with the teams averaging just 213.5 points per game, despite Boston's efficient 128-point outing in Game 2.

The under has now hit 57.1% of the time when the Celtics are playing in a game with a total set below 220 points. Without Gordon Hayward on the court, the under has gone 13-8 in Celtics' games this season. The under is 12-7 when the Celtics are coming off a game in which they shot at least 50.0%. It's 14-8-1 when they are coming off a game in which they shot at least 40.0% from three.

Our models project the Celtics to once again limit the Sixers to an anemic offensive performance. We have the teams projected to combine for 210.6 points and give the under a 63.9% chance of hitting. We mark the bet as a three-star play.

Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers

Mavs +5.0: 1-Star Rating out of 5

Though Luka Doncic didn't post a triple-double in Game 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers (it somehow seems odd when he doesn't), the Dallas Mavericks tied the series at one game apiece with a balanced effort that saw six Mavs score at least 13 points. They'll look to make it close in Game 3 this evening, and our models indicate that they're going to do just that.

Tonight marks the 13th time that the Mavs have been at least 5.0-point underdogs this season. They've won eight out of those previous 12 contests, going 9-3 against the spread (ATS) in those games and covering by 8.8 points.

The Mavs are 12-10-1 ATS when playing in a game with a total set higher than 230.0 points. They are 4-2 ATS in those contests when underdogs of at least 5.0 points. The Clippers are 0-2 ATS this season in games after Kawhi Leonard plays at least 40 minutes.

Our models don't see many high-quality bets in this game, but they do see some value in betting on the Mavericks. We give the Mavs a 55.0% chance of covering the five-point spread and mark it as a one-star play.