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Nets vs 76ers NBA betting picks and predictions: Don’t overestimate Kyrie’s worth to the line

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The Philadelphia 76ers are heavy home favorites over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night as these Atlantic Division rivals play their first game after the All-Star break.

We build the blueprint for betting this marquee matchup on the NBA basketball odds board, from our favorite bets for the side and total to some quick-paying picks and prop plays.

BROOKLYN NETS AT PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (-8, 215.5)

 

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The Kyrie Irving saga continues for the Nets. One of the team’s two major offseason acquisitions is now out indefinitely because of a lingering shoulder injury. Irving has already missed 26 games this season and will not suit up against the 76ers on Thursday as the NBA post-All-Star break schedule finally gets underway.

Philadelphia won its last three games heading into the break and now has the NBA’s best home record at 25-2. Ben Simmons returns from his second All-Star appearance and is averaging 22.3 points, 10 assists, and 8.7 rebounds during the Sixers’ three-game winning streak.

The Nets also entered the All-Star break on a winning note with seven victories over their last 10 games. Brooklyn is 7-2-1 ATS in the first quarter over that stretch. Expect Philadelphia to have more of a post-All-Star hangover as two of their starters (Embiid, Simmons) both took part in Sunday’s game.

Prediction: First Quarter Nets +2.5

FIRST HALF

Brooklyn is currently clinging to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings as they prepare to make a playoff push without their leading scorer. The Nets are 8-12 with Irving in the lineup this season and 17-16 without him.

The Sixers are 24-30-1 ATS overall in the first half and 4-5-1 over their last 10 games, as they have struggled to get off to consistent starts this season. Brooklyn led 57-54 at the half the last time these teams played at Wells Fargo Center. Expect a similar scoreline in this game.

Prediction: Nets +4.5 First Half

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Spencer Dinwiddie has scored at least 20 points in each of his last three games as the scoring guard will now shoulder the offensive load with Irving sidelined. Dinwiddie is averaging 24 points on 42.6 percent shooting in three games against the Sixers this season.

The last Net to register four 20-point games against Philadelphia in one season was Stephon Marbury (2000-01). Dinwiddie is a good bet to join this exclusive group and exceed his point total prop.

Prediction: Spencer Dinwiddie Over 21.5 Points (-104)

TOTAL BET

These two teams combined for 228 points in their last meeting at Barclays Center back on January 20. Tobias Harris had 34 points on 14-of-20 shooting as the game sailed over the relatively low total of 218. The Over is 2-1 in the three matchups between these two teams this season.

Philadelphia surged into the All-Star break with an impressive 110-103 win over the Clippers. The win featured a spectacular closing performance from Josh Richardson who scored 17 of his 21 points in the final quarter. It’s the most points scored in the fourth quarter by a 76ers player all season.

Richardson was playing in his third game back from a hamstring injury. With the shooting guard rested and back in the mix, expect the usually inconsistent Philadelphia offense to find a rhythm and help push this game over the number.

Prediction: Over 215.5

SPREAD BET

The Nets are 1-5 on the road against Atlantic Division opponents this season but luckily in this one, they don’t need to win, just cover. Brooklyn is 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall

The Nets’ offense has been more efficient without Irving on the floor this season as guards like Caris LeVert have had a chance to shine. LeVert is averaging 24 points over his last five games and should have a favorable matchup in this game as Simmons will likely be guarding Dinwiddie.

Considering the inconsistencies Philadelphia has had this season with sustaining maximum effort, the Nets are a good bet to cover a big number as both teams get settled in after a long All-Star layoff.

Prediction: Nets +8

Longshots to consider when betting the Shoemaker Mile

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Monday’s Shoemaker Miles Stakes at Santa Anita Park is a great race for a number of reasons. For starters, the Shoemaker Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race that offers the winner a guaranteed spot in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

The race also features last year’s Preakness Stakes winner, War of Will, making his season debut. Despite his triumphs on the dirt in 2019, War of Will started his career on the turf and his pedigree suggests that he’s very likely to be just as successful on the grass. That said, the Shoemaker Mile will be his first start off of a six-month break, and I’m going to try to take a swing or two with some horses who could upset the apple cart at longer odds.

Let’s start out with the horse on the rail, Without Parole. He won the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes going a mile at Ascot back in 2018. His three other career wins have all came at this mile distance as well. Granted, he hasn’t won in six races since the St. James’s Palace but he did finish a fast-closing third two starts ago in a much tougher U.S. debut in the TVG Breeders’ Cup MileIrad Ortiz Jr. rode Without Parole in that race and he will reclaim the mount on him again on Monday.

Without Parole has only had one race this year and it was in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in which he finished second to last. However, he had several excuses right from the start of that race when he got squeezed coming out of the gate. He also raced in traffic throughout and got cut off several times in the stretch before Frankie Dettori — who had come from Europe to ride him at Gulfstream — finally just wrapped up on him. The Pegasus World Cup Turf also was a race that didn’t allow him to run on Lasix (furosemide) after he’d shown significant improvement racing on Lasix for the first time at the Breeders’ Cup.

Stream the 2020 Shoemaker Mile live here

How much of a factor might Lasix be for some horses? Well, let’s next look at the horse who finished last in the Pegasus World Cup Turf: Next Shares. In his following start (back on Lasix) in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes, Next Shares finished third (beaten just a neck) to River Boyne. Both Next Shares and River Boyne return in the Shoemaker Mile and I prefer the former as a pace play who has plenty of back-class. If you rewatch the Kilroe Mile, Next Shares covered a lot more ground than River Boyne. With a similar effort, Next Shares could certainly turn the tables.

The other thing to like about Next Shares is that his trainer, Richard Baltas, has entered speedster Neptune’s Storm in the Shoemaker Mile. That horse, along with Voodoo Song, should ensure a very brisk pace up front — they’ll also be kept honest by Blitzkrieg and War of Will, both of whom usually race on or near the lead. All of that speed adds up to good news for Next Shares. He’s a Grade 1 winner who has always done his best running when he’s had some pace to run into. The other two keys for him (like all stalking or closing-type runners) is clear running room late, and hopefully he’ll get that with Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez taking the mount.

Lastly, we should take a look at True Valour. It’s hard to make much of an excuse for his flat finish in the Kilroe last out, but he’s truly performed better than what his results on paper might indicate. In the Thunder Road Stakes in February, he looked pretty keen early and it took him a few strides to settle down without throwing his head around and fighting his rider. Turning for home, it was clear that jockey Andrea Atzeni had plenty of horse under him but was just waiting for some running room. It ended up coming too late because River Boyne was in a better spot and had already taken command. True Valour did split horses nicely in the closing stages and was half a jump away from finishing second.

If you go back to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, True Valour had excuses there, too. He was up on heels early and he again took a little bit of time to settle down into a comfortable stride. Then, turning for him, he was just waiting for running room but instead got stuck behind a wall of horses. True Valour ended up steadying pretty badly and lost all chance at that point. I’m a little worried about how headstrong he tends to be early in races, but there’s a scenario here that could have at least two horses battling for the lead early and opening up some daylight on the rest of the field. That means he’ll be less likely to be running up on anyone’s heels and it also ensures that he’ll have a nice setup. Whether he can navigate clear passage late in the race is a separate matter.

Longshot Selections

#1 Without Parole

#3 Next Shares

#2 True Valour

Watch the Shoemaker Mile on Monday, May 25 from 6-8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

How to bet an exacta on a horse race

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Betting an exacta can present a challenge on several levels.

There is, of course, the primary need to analyze past performances and decide which horses are going to finish first and second.

Yet because of the inherently lower payoffs as opposed to what you’ll find in a Pick 3 or Pick 4, you’ll need to structure your wagers effectively in order to turn your selections into a profitable wager.

For starters, an exacta can be a simple wager. If you like two horses equally, you can just box them in the exacta and collect so long as they finish 1-2 in any order. If you like one of them a little more, you can then bet more on the one you prefer, say $10 on a 1-2 exacta and $5 on 2-1.

If you’re a little more uncertain, make sure you structure your bet around the size of the field and the probable payoffs.

If you like a longshot, the higher probable payoffs give you the cushion you need to wager on more combinations and still turn a nice profit.

But if you’re dealing with favorites or horses at relatively low odds, you have to wager more efficiently to preserve your profit.

In a field of six or less, you’re best to either focus on one horse or box two of them instead of boxing three or more horses because of the small payouts the bet will most likely generate.

In a field of seven, a wise strategy would be to box your top two choices and then, if you are worried about other horses, play them top and/or bottom other the other horses. For example, box 1-2, then bet 1-2 over 3-4 and 3-4 over 1-2. This way you are getting coverage on four horses without having to box them.

Once you get an eight-horse field, as long as there is not an overwhelming favorite, you can expand the number of horses you box since the payoffs will typically be higher, giving you a better opportunity to offset the inevitable array of losing tickets in a boxed wager.