The 76ers have a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series, and Thursday is an opportunity for the Devils to even the series at 1-1.
These are two massive contests for both the Nets and the Devils, and Phil has previews and predictions for both playoff contests.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Brooklyn Nets 7:30 pm Barclays Center
Philadelphia is a -4.5 favorite with a 209.5 total when they meet Brooklyn Thursday at 7:30 pm at Barclay Center.
Phil’s Best Bet: Philadelphia -4.5 -110 Caesars
The 76ers have defeated the Nets six consecutive times this season, and they will beat Brooklyn Thursday and cover the spread.
Philadelphia was 4-0 during the regular season and now has a 2-0 lead over Brooklyn. The 76ers have covered the spread in both playoff contests and are 5-1 ATS this season against the Nets.
The 76ers have dominated the glass during this series–Philadelphia has a 27-10 series edge on the offensive glass, and Brooklyn has no answer to solve this glaring weakness in their defensive rebounding scheme against Joel Embiid and the bigger 76ers.
Game 2 was a defensive battle–Philadelphia held Brooklyn to 45 second-half points and did just enough on the offensive end to eke out a 12-point win.
showed out in South Philly. 🎭
📹 Game Highlights vs. Nets | 04.17.23
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 18, 2023
I suspect we’ll see a different 76ers offense, and they won’t be held to 96 points as they were in Game 2. Philly shot awful Monday night–the 76ers shot 31% from downtown and I suspect they’ll shoot closer to their season average of 38%, and if they do, they will blow Brooklyn out.
The Nets are young, and this roster probably wouldn’t have reached the playoffs. Mikal Bridges has been fantastic this series, but he’s the Nets’ only scorer and doesn’t have the help he needs to cover the +4.5 Thursday.
New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils 7:30 pm Prudential Center
The Rangers are short underdogs with a 5.5 goal total when they meet the Devils for Game 2 of their best-of-seven series. Face-off is set for 7:30 pm at Prudential Center.
Phil’s Best Bet–New York Rangers 1P +105 Caesars
The Rangers have momentum on their side, and my best bet is for New York to win the first period of this contest.
New York might be the slower team, but they corralled the younger, faster Devils Tuesday night, and if not for a silly late-period Jack Hughes goal off a penalty shot, the Rangers likely win this one 5-0.
Look for the Rangers to continue to batter the smaller Devils early and often Thursday. New York outhit New Jersey 32-30, and while the Rangers were outshot 28-23, the New York blueline blocked 32 Devils shots, and I expect the same type of defensive intensity from the Rangers in Game 2.
Igor Shesterkin is expected to patrol the crease, and he stopped 27 of the 28 Devils’ shots on goal. He’s been spectacular on the road this season, and if his blueline continues to block shots and kill four penalties as they did in Game 1, he’ll pitch a first-period shutout.
New Jersey netminder Vitak Vanecek had a tough time keeping the puck out of the net Tuesday night. He surrendered two first-period goals before finally settling down and was good the rest of the way. Vanecek didn’t face many shots on goal but allowed four of 22 to slip through his pillows.
Finally, I expect the Rangers to attack Vanecek early–look for the Rangers to sacrifice their bodies, dig out some pucks in the corner and find a way to get a goal early. Then, it’s all up to the Rangers’ blueline, and with Shesterkin in the blue circle, I like the Rangers to win the first period.
Make sure to follow us for more picks and news related to NJ online betting.