All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
What you need to know for Sunday’s playoff games
— Jim McCormick & Kyle Soppe
Impact Of Embiid: Joel Embiid returned for Game 3 and the 76ers won by 20, so everything is great and we should bet all things Philadelphia moving forward, right?
Be careful. On Friday night, for just the third time since Christmas, the 76ers averaged fewer than 87 possessions per 48 minutes, the second such game for them that occurred against the Heat and an 8.2% dip from the pace of Games 1 and 2. Not ideal if you’re looking to bet overs for any player on either team. Is it likely that both teams fail to reach 100 points again? Maybe not, but blindly assuming that the return of a stat sheet stuffer results in counting number goodness (for him or anyone else in this game for that matter) is dangerous.
Book a bounce-back: Devin Booker underachieved in almost all regards on Friday night, scoring just 18 points in his 40 minutes and just didn’t ever look comfortable (five turnovers and more missed FTs than he had entering action in these playoffs). He cost you in Game 3 and you’re mad. I get it. None of those struggles, however, impact today’s action and going back to the well isn’t a bad idea. Nearly 79% of Phoenix’s shot attempts came from their starting unit, a sign that they are going to ride or die with their primary options.
That sort of role stability is great to have in the prop market and let’s not overlook the fact that Booker has made 9-of-14 triples over the past two games. Nothing is ever a lock, but there is far more upside than downside in backing Booker (and the Suns for that matter) in this spot as the market overreacts to Game 3’s result.
Breaking down today’s games
Line: Suns (-2)
Money line: Suns (-140), Mavericks (+120)
Total: 214.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 213.2 points
BPI Win%: Mavericks (58.8%)
Questionable: Torrey Craig (elbow).
Notable: The Mavs are 8-1-1 ATS in their past 10 home games (won Game 3 by nine points as a 1-point favorite).
Best bet: Chris Paul over 30.5 total points + assists + rebounds
Paul is coming off a nightmarish Game 3, in which he lost almost twice as many turnovers (seven) as assists (four) and scored only 12 points in a Suns loss. The only time he scored fewer points this postseason was in Game 4 against the Pelicans, the last time the Suns lost, and in that case Paul bounced back with 22 points, 11 assists and 6 rebounds in the next game. Paul has played extremely well in the postseason, averaging 21.4 PPG, 9.2 APG and 4.9 RPG (35.5 PAR) and should return to his typical level in Game 4. — André Snellings
Best bet: Suns -1.5
With 17 turnovers in Game 3, the Suns played sloppy. Paul committed seven of them. Nevertheless, Paul is a veteran and one of the best point guards of all time, and he will bounce back along with the rest of the team. The Suns will be able to win Game 4 if they limit their turnovers and score inside the paint more often. Phoenix will cover. — Eric Moody
Best bet: Deandre Ayton over 27.5 points + rebounds
Ayton was solid in Game 3 with 16 ponts and 11 rebounds. He’s averaged 19.2 PPG and 9.0 RPG thus far in the playoffs while shooting 65.3% from the field. In Game 4, Paul will look to redeem himself, so Ayton will be heavily relied upon as the Suns look to assert their dominance in the paint after being outscored 50-32 in Game 3. — Moody
Best bet: Under 214.5
In my opinion, Game 3’s final score plummeted because the Suns missed so many shots and the Mavericks didn’t shoot well from beyond the arc. Phoenix’s field goal percentage this postseason is 52.6%. The Suns should have a better offensive performance while improving on defense. I’m taking the under. — Moody
Best bet: Chris Paul over 25.5 points+assists
Snellings and I both anticipate Paul will bounce back. Paul’s birthday was spoiled by the Mavericks as his seven turnovers in the first half were the most in any half of his career. I’d be shocked if the veteran point guard didn’t bounce back today. During this postseason, Paul has averaged 21.4 PPG and 9.2 APG. — Moody
Line: 76ers (-2)
Money line: 76ers (-130), Heat (+110)
Total: 207.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 208 points
BPI Win%: 76ers (62.1%)
Ruled Out: None
Note: BPI numbers factored in players who are ruled out but assumes questionable players will play
Notable: After going 10-1-1 ATS in 12 road games, the Heat are just 1-3 ATS in their past four away from Miami (lost Game 3 by 20 as a 1-point underdog).
Best bet: Tyrese Maxey over 19.5 points.
Maxey has been able to get his shot against the Heat, particularly in heavy spurts when the defense isn’t focused on him. In Game 1, with Embiid out, the Heat defense was geared to prevent penetration, which negatively affected both James Harden and Maxey. In Game 2, though, Maxey was able to get loose and post a career-high scoring effort. In Game 3, in the first half, Maxey seemed to overly defer to the newly returned Embiid and went scoreless. In the second half, though, Maxey got loose and popped 21 points. For Game 5, Embiid is expected to play again and Maxey has had time to mentally adjust to that. The Heat’s defense will have to focus more on Embiid, but he’s also unlikely to be ready for his typical volume. This combo works well for Maxey, who will be relied upon to score but should be facing a less focused defense. — Snellings
Best bet: Under 207.5
Only one of the first three games have hit the over, and that was because both teams shot over 45% from the field and Miami made nearly half of its 29 3-point attempts. Otherwise, both teams have endured scoring lulls. Additionally, Embiid does not seem to be his usual self, returning from an injury and wearing a face mask. Finally, typically as a series goes longer, both defenses become more familiar with offensive sets and player tendencies. This should be a sluggish game. — Doug Kezirian
Best bet: Kyle Lowry over 14.5 points + assists
Let me remind you that Lowry returned in Game 3 after being absent for two weeks. For the second time in the last 10 years, he failed to score in a playoff game. Lowry should have a better outing tonight. The last five seasons, he averaged 15.4 PPG and 6.7 APG in the playoffs. — Moody
Best bet: Heat +1.5 In Game 3, Joel Embiid returned. He wasn’t his usual dominant self on offense, but made up for it on defense. Miami scored 79 points. It was their second game under 80 points this season. The Heat will regroup and adjust for Game 4. Miami has been an underdog by two points or more on 20 occasions this year, and has covered the spread on 16 of those occasions. — Moody
Best bet: Jimmy Butler over 34.5 points + assists + rebounds
In Game 3, Butler scored 41.8% of the Heat’s 79 points. In the regular season and playoffs, it was the third-most in a game in his career. Butler has averaged 27.4 PPG, 5.4 APG and 7.9 RPG in the 2022 playoffs. The Heat will continue to rely on him. — Moody