‘No Jontay Porter’

Larry Nance Jr. has all the confidence in the world in the New Orleans Pelicans as they prepare to take on the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the postseason. In fact, the Pelicans forward was so sure of his team’s chances, he jokingly said he’s “betting” on his team to upset OKC, but wanted to make it clear that he’s not actually gambling.

“Respectfully, I’m betting on the Pels,” Nance said. “I’m not betting, no Jontay Porter. I’m not betting on anything, I don’t own a betting app, none of that.”

Larry Nance: Respectfully, I’m bettin on the Pels. I’m not BETTING, no Jontay Porter. I’m not BETTING. I’m not betting on anything. I don’t own a betting app, none of that. pic.twitter.com/0HgTbyXOHr

— Pelicans Film Room (@PelsFilmRoom) April 20, 2024
The video was pretty comical as you can see in real time that Nance realized what he said, and wanted to quickly clarify that he’s not gambling on the Pelicans or anyone else for that matter. Nance brought up Porter, who was recently given a lifetime ban from the NBA after an investigation discovered that he was “disclosing confidential information to sports bettors, limiting his own participation in one or more games for betting purposes, and betting on NBA games.”

While Nance made light of his comments, it’s also understandable why he has so much confidence in his team. The Pelicans are coming off an impressive win against the Sacramento Kings in the Play-In Tournament where they played without Zion Williamson, who sustained a hamstring injury in New Orleans’ first play-in game against the Lakers.

Getting a win like that against Sacramento, especially when the final postseason spot was on the line and to do it without your franchise centerpiece has to instill a ton of confidence in a team. But New Orleans will likely face the Thunder without Williamson as well, who is expected to be re-evaluated in two weeks.

It’ll be a tall task for the Pelicans to knock off the Thunder who have looked like a dominant team for most of the season, but they sure aren’t lacking confidence if the rest of the locker room feels the same way Nance does. OKC and New Orleans will tip off their series on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. ET, so we’ll see if Nance’s confidence results to on-court success for the underdog Pelicans.

Timberwolves vs. Suns odds, prediction, TV channel, live stream, how to watch NBA playoffs online, game time

The Minnesota Timberwolves really hoped they’d be done with the Phoenix Suns when they faced them on the final day of the regular season. The Suns won their first two regular-season matchups by double digits, but if Minnesota could just steal the season finale, it could not only secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference, but relegate the Suns to the Play-In round.

Instead, the Suns made it a clean sweep of the season series, and now the Timberwolves will have to beat them four times out of seven just to make it through the first round. They’ll have to do so while reintegrating Karl-Anthony Towns into the lineup after missing most of the end of the season due to a knee injury, and they are facing a Suns team that, while more recently constructed, has far more playoff experience in the aggregate.

So can Minnesota overcome its recent struggles against Phoenix? Or will the Suns upset the Timberwolves in this No. 3 vs. No. 6 battle? Here’s everything you need to know before Game 1.

Timberwolves vs. Suns
Date: Saturday, April 20 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Target Center — Minneapolis
TV channel: ESPN | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
Odds: Timberwolves -1.5; O/U 214.5
Timberwolves: The Suns were built in a lab to bother Minnesota’s defense, specifically. Rudy Gobert is the league’s best drop-coverage defender. You beat drop-coverage with mid-range jumpers. The Suns took more of them this season than anyone but Chicago and made a higher percentage than anyone but Indiana. Good luck letting Kevin Durant and Devin Booker settle into clean mid-range looks. So what’s Minnesota’s pivot? Can Gobert successfully defend at the level of the screen? Or will head coach Chris Finch have something else up his sleeve?

Suns: We all know Phoenix can score. Getting stops will be the bigger issue. The Suns got a favorable draw in that the Timberwolves are only an average offense. That still doesn’t mean they have an easy answer for Anthony Edwards. Who is Phoenix even going to try on Minnesota’s All-Star guard? Will they deploy all-defense, no-offense specialists like Josh Okogie? Or will they make the best of a bad situation with their scorers?

This is going to be a back-and-forth series, but the initial matchups favor Phoenix. The Timberwolves will need time to adjust their scheme to beat the Suns. For now, I’m taking Phoenix to throw the opening punch. The Pick: Suns -1.5

Back Jalen Brunson over 30.5 points

The No. 7 seed Philadelphia 76ers will head to the Big Apple to face the No. 2 seed New York Knicks in the opening game of their first-round series in the 2024 NBA playoffs on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET. New York finished second in the Eastern Conference with a 50-32 record, while the Sixers clinched the seventh seed by erasing a 12-point halftime deficit against Miami in a play-in game earlier this week. The Knicks won three of the four games between these teams during the regular season, but 76ers star Joel Embiid finished with 30 points and 10 rebounds in his lone appearance during that series. Embiid was listed as questionable due to a chronic left knee injury prior to Tuesday’s game against Miami, but he scored 23 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

He is one of three players with a player prop point total of more than 20 points in the latest Knicks vs. 76ers odds, joining Jalen Brunson (30.5) and Tyrese Maxey (22.5). Which NBA player props should you target with your NBA playoff prop bets on Saturday night? Before making any Knicks vs. 76ers prop picks on sites like PrizePicks for Saturday, be sure to check out the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s proven computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters the 2024 NBA playoffs on a sizzling 88-58 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning more than $2,600. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

For Saturday’s NBA playoff game between the Knicks vs. Sixers, the model has locked in its NBA best bets. You can only see the model’s NBA prop picks at SportsLine.

Top NBA prop bet for Knicks vs. 76ers
After simulating Saturday’s 76ers vs. Knicks game 10,000 times, the model says Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson goes over 30.5 points. Brunson has carried New York since teammate Julius Randle went down with a shoulder injury at the end of January, entering the playoffs as one of the league’s hottest players. He closed the regular season with a 40-point performance against Chicago, marking the ninth time in the last 10 games that he has scored at least 30 points.

Brunson has scored 40-plus points on four occasions during that stretch, including a 61-point explosion against the Spurs at the end of March. He has thrived when his team has needed him the most this season, and he is rested after having the last five days off. SportsLine’s model has Brunson finishing with 32 points in its latest simulations, pointing to the Over 30.5 as the value play in this game. You can see which other NBA picks to back here.

How to make NBA player prop picks for 76ers vs. Knicks
In addition, the model says another star sails past his total and has simulated every Knicks vs. 76ers prop 10,000 times. You need to see the model’s analysis before making any 76ers vs. Knicks prop bets for the NBA playoffs.