NBA draft odds at Sportsbooks focus on picks after Simmons

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The Philadelphia 76ers have reportedly told LSU forward Ben Simmons they will take him No. 1 overall at the NBA draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday, but how everything else shakes out is an educated guess.

The most daring prop on the NBA Draft betting board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com is +500 on the first two picks not being Simmons and Duke’s Brandon Ingram, whom the Los Angeles Lakers appear to covet for their No. 2 choice.

The Boston Celtics, at this writing, have been denied in their attempts to flip the No. 3 choice for an established NBA player. Point guard Kris Dunn is the -120 favorite to go in that spot, as  teams are becoming more philosophically disposed to investing in polished players rather than the rawer talents. Teenage forwards Jaylen Brown (+325) and Dragan Bender (+400) are both possibilities to go No. 3, with Oklahoma Sooners G Buddy Hield at +600.

In a separate prop, Brown is listed at -130 to be taken before Bender, at +100.

The rebuilding Phoenix Suns can afford to take their time grooming a player, which is why 6-foot-10 PF Marquese Chriss is listed at -205 to go No. 4 overall. Chriss has been favorably compared to former Suns star Amar’e Stoudemire, who also turned pro before age 20. There are also odds on Bender (+350), Kentucky combo guard Jamal Murray (+450) and Brown (+500) going No. 4 overall.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, picking No. 5, have a crying need for a playmaking guard to help out third-year SG/SF Andrew Wiggins. Dunn (+150), Murray (+155) and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield (+200) are closely bunched in the prop for that pick.

Speaking of Hield, there is always skepticism about how well a scoring guard’s skills will transfer to the NBA. The over/under on Hield’s draft slot is 5.5, with OVER (meaning later) paying -175 and UNDER paying +145. In the Hield/Murray prop, Hield pays +240 and Murray pays -300.

It will also be interesting to see how the NBA’s newfound emphasis on spreading the floor will affect the draft slot of Utah Utes C Jakob Poeltl, a true 7-footer. The over/under is 9.5, with OVER paying -170 and UNDER paying +140. Big men who will at least be a solid rim protector in the NBA don’t often go in the first 10 picks.

Since 2013, when a record 12 first-rounders hailed from outside the United States, there has been an annual guessing game with regards to how many international players will go in Round 1. That could be in jeopardy on Thursday, since  the over/under on international first-round picks is 13, paying -115 each way.

Simmons, Murray, Poeltl, Kansas PF Cheick Diallo and Gonzaga PF-C Domantas Sabonis are among the projected foreign-born first-rounders who played college ball in America.

Warriors seek 2-0 series lead as double-digit favorite against Spurs

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The Golden State Warriors feasted after Kawhi Leonard was knocked out on Sunday, but they are far from an automatic cover as a huge home-court favorite in the NBA playoffs.

Stephen Curry and the Warriors are listed as 13.5-point favorites against the Spurs with a 208.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for their Game 2 matchup scheduled for Tuesday.

During the Curry era, Golden State is 12-1 straight-up and 4-9 against the spread in 13 playoff games where they were favored by 10 or more points at home. The Warriors are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven home playoff games according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

Not having Leonard (left ankle sprain) leaves a void for San Antonio, but the Spurs are 6-2 ATS without their all-star small forward this season. That includes their series-clinching win against the Houston Rockets in the second round. One can take for granted that a team under Gregg Popovich’s coaching guidance will find a way to adapt.

San Antonio will need to find ways to get PF LaMarcus Aldridge away from Warriors SF Draymond Green on offense, as well make greater use of PF Kyle Anderson. Jonathon Simmons has also proven capable of replacing Leonard’s scoring.

Over 11 games as the underdog this season, the Spurs are 7-4 SU and 8-2-1 ATS.

Job one for Golden State, which is 18-2 SU and 8-10-2 ATS over its last 20 home games, will be slowing down the Spurs after allowing 111 points at home on Sunday. They usually are tough on defense at Oracle Arena, where the total has gone under in 13 of their last 20 home games. Offensively, the absence of Leonard should free up space for PF Kevin Durant, since San Antonio won’t have a matchup for the four-time NBA scoring champion.

That said, the Warriors will need perimeter shooting from their supporting cast, not just Curry and SG Klay Thompson. With SF Andre Iguodala (knee) questionable, Golden State might be hard up for a complementary shooter to hit open threes.

The other big variable for Golden State is that assistant coach Mike Brown is running the bench in the absence of Steve Kerr (back surgery). Brown does not seem to have Kerr’s deft hand with making the right substitutions, which was why Golden State found itself in a 25-point hole in Game 1.

The total has gone over in 12 of the Spurs’ last 15 games overall and has also gone over in eight of their past 10 road games. The total has gone over in 10 of the Warriors’ last 15 games.

Celtics underdogs, Warriors big favorites for Thursday’s NBA matchups

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Coming off a sixth consecutive win, the Boston Celtics are listed as 5.5-point underdogs against the Washington Wizards with a 218.5-point total in their Game 3 matchup on Thursday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Celtics lead the Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-0, but overcame a slow start in Game 2. A letdown at some point soon is perhaps inevitable, especially for a team with chronic rebounding problems. Thomas’ backcourt mate, Avery Bradley (right hip pointer), also has an injury situation that bettors should monitor.

Boston is 6-3 SU and ATS in its last nine road games against Southeast Division teams, according to the OddsShark NBA Database. The Wizards and star point guard John Wall are 8-2 SU and ATS in their last 10 home games against Atlantic Division opponents.

The Wizards are favorites for Thursday, but picking up the win rests on finding someone – anyone, really – to be a viable second look on offense after Wall. Shooting guard Bradley Beal has had issues getting freed up in the series, and Washington will also need to give C Marcin Gortat some help in his matchup with Boston’s Al Horford (15 points, 12 boards in Game 2).

Also on Thursday, the Golden State Warriors are 12.5-point betting favorites against the Utah Jazz with a 204-point total.

Even though their shooting was ice-cold during a defeat in Game 1 of the series, Gordon Hayward and the Jazz were able to improve to 7-0 ATS in their last seven road games against Pacific Division teams. The Jazz also shot above 50 percent in all three of their games after a loss during their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Golden State is 19-1 SU and 11-7-2 ATS in their last 20 home games as a favorite of at least 10 points. The Warriors, mindful that the Jazz allowed a league-fewest 96.8 points per game, seem to have doubled down on their commitment to defense, with forwards Kevin Durant and Draymond Green looking to force turnovers that facilitate a transition game.

The Warriors, who are 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 home games in May, were able to get their quota of three-point attempts in the opener, launching 29. Both PG Stephen Curry (1-for-4) and SF Andre Iguodala (0-for-6) will be looking for better efficiency.

The total has gone under in seven of the Jazz’s last 10 road games against the Warriors at online sports betting sites. The total has gone under in 13 of the last 20 Warriors’ home games when they were favored by at least 10 points.