The Daily Sweat: The Nuggets are road underdogs while the Celtics are road favorites

The Denver Nuggets can get one game away from the Western Conference Finals with a win as an underdog on Friday night.

The Nuggets are 4.5-point underdogs at the Phoenix Suns after winning the first two games of their playoff series at home. The Suns enter Game 3 without Chris Paul after he suffered a groin injury in the second half of Game 2, and Paul looks unlikely to play for at least the next three games of the series.

Phoenix needs to win at least twice over the next three games to extend the series for a potential Game 6 at home.

The Nuggets’ wins in each of the first two games of the series have come by double digits. Denver used a surge at the end of the second quarter on the way to an 18-point win in Game 1 and then got 39 points from Nikola Jokic in a 10-point win in Game 2.

The Suns will need massive games (again) from Kevin Durant and Devin Booker to get a win on Friday night. Durant and Booker have combined for 115 points over the first two games of the series, as Durant had 29 in Game 1 and Booker had 35 in Game 2.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) and Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) in the second half of Game 2 of an NBA second-round playoff series Monday, May 1, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Can the Denver Nuggets go up 3-0 over the Phoenix Suns? (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Who wins Game 3 in Philadelphia?

The 76ers and Celtics enter their Game 3 tied at 1-1 after Boston blew out the Sixers in Game 2. Philadelphia stole a win in Game 1 without Joel Embiid on the floor and was totally uncompetitive with him on Wednesday night.

The Celtics won Game 2 by 34 points as they outscored Philadelphia by 19 in a decisive third quarter. Embiid played 27 minutes in his return from a knee injury and scored 15 points on nine field goal attempts. All five of Philadelphia’s starters were -19 or worse in their time on the floor.

That performance means Boston is a road favorite ahead of Game 3. The Celtics are 1.5-point favorites to win and take a 2-1 series lead. That small spread makes it worth taking the Sixers on the moneyline at +110 if you believe they’ll win straight up. We like the idea of the Nuggets covering the spread and the Sixers bouncing back and getting the win.

Stars are favorites at the Wells Fargo

The list of favorites after the first round at the Wells Fargo Championship is star-heavy. Xander Schauffele shot a 5-under 66 during Thursday’s first round and is the favorite to win the tournament at +500. First-round leader Tommy Fleetwood (6-under) is at +1000. In between Schauffele and Fleetwood on the board are Rory McIlroy (+700) and Patrick Cantlay (+750), while Justin Thomas (+1400) and Tom Kim (+1600) are right behind.

Who cashed tickets on Thursday

Warriors bettors were happy with their 127-100 win over the Lakers to even their first-round series at 1-1 before it heads to Los Angeles. The Florida Panthers got a second consecutive road win over the Toronto Maple Leafs to go up 2-0 in that second-round series, while the Dallas Stars beat the Seattle Kraken 4-2 to even their NHL playoff series at 1-1.