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Will Embiid's Sixers even series in Game 2?

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The opening weekend of the NBA playoffs featured some duds. Game 1 blowouts created less excitement for an otherwise intriguing opening round. Home teams went 8-0 in Game 1 for the first time since 2013.

There are three Game 2s on tap for Monday night. Let's get to our best bets.

76ers @ Knicks (-6, O/U 207.5)

The 76ers got off to an encouraging start in Game 1 before Joel Embiid's injury on a marvelous dunk sent him to the locker room. Embiid returned but wasn't himself. The reigning MVP was already nursing a knee injury entering the series.

Embiid is questionable for Monday and will likely play, but he isn't healthy. Still, Embiid at 70% might be enough to win Game 2.

Game 1 boiled down to the Sixers' dominance with Embiid on the floor and incompetence with him off it. Philadelphia was plus-14 with Embiid on the court and minus-21 without him. He played 37 minutes.

Embiid has to play at least 40 minutes a night for the 76ers to win this series. It may be challenging given his nagging injury, but Philadelphia can't survive significant Embiid-less minutes.

The Sixers' game plan allowed the Knicks' Josh Hart - a 31% 3-point shooter - to launch triples from deep. Philadelphia tried to hide a hobbled Embiid on Hart down the stretch. Hart drained four threes, the most he's made this season. Nick Nurse's risk outweighed the reward in Game 1, but it's a bet the head coach is likely willing to make again.

New York shot 45.7% from three, uncharacteristically high for a 36.9% 3-point shooting team. That's hard to replicate even though Jalen Brunson struggled, going 1-for-6 from deep (8-for-26 overall plus five turnovers).

The Knicks play with the NBA's slowest pace. However, they're the league's best offensive rebounding team, which leads to extra possessions.

The Knicks had a 51.8% offensive rebounding rate against the Sixers, the third highest by any team in a game this season. Philly must prioritize the glass, even if that means playing two-big lineups with Embiid and Paul Reed.

This is a tactical matchup as the Knicks try to exploit Embiid's injury and the Sixers attempt to maneuver with a less-than-100% center. After both teams had a chance to go to their corners and recalibrate, Round 2 will go to the 76ers.

Pick: Sixers +6

Jalen Brunson: Over 30.5 points

Brunson shot 30% from the field and 16% from three in Game 1. Those splits are significantly lower than his 47% and 40% season averages, but that's playoff basketball. The physicality, added intensity, and more focused game plans make it challenging for stars. But this isn't Brunson's first playoff rodeo; he's excelled in previous postseasons.

Despite the poor shooting night and few free-throw attempts, Brunson still finished with 22 points. Expect him to rebound in Game 2, especially as the Knicks target Embiid in the pick-and-roll.

Odds: -125

Evan Mobley: Under 14.5 points

Mobley has become a willing shooter but not a reliable one. Since returning from injury in late January, he's averaging more than 1.5 3-point attempts per game after rarely attempting them in the first few months.

The Cavaliers have encouraged Mobley to shoot. Cleveland plays a two-big lineup with Mobley and Jarrett Allen; if Mobley isn't a shooting threat, it creates clumsy spacing for Cleveland's guards to operate as defenses pack the paint.

Mobley has connected on threes at a surprisingly high rate, opening up the Cavs' offense. He drilled two in Game 1 against the Magic, but that's unusual. He finished with 16 points. The threat of Mobley's shooting should lead to the Magic more closely contesting his shots. Don't expect multiple 3-pointers again.

Odds: -110

Lakers team total: Over 108.5 points

Game 1 between the Lakers and Nuggets followed the same script it always does. The contest was competitive to start before the Nuggets' offensive execution allowed them to pull away in the second half.

Game 2 might follow a similar pattern, but the Lakers' offense should have more success. The Nuggets' defense isn't anything extraordinary. LeBron James and Anthony Davis generated virtually any look they wanted in Game 1 before James ran out of gas.

Los Angeles' supporting cast failed to help. Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, and D'Angelo Russell combined for 33 points. The Lakers shot 27% from three and still scored 103 points. L.A. doesn't parade in threes but typically connects on 37% of its deep looks. Expect more to fall and the Lakers to surpass 108 points.

Odds: -110

Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X @soshtry for more betting coverage.

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