2024 NBA playoff picks, Game 1 best bets from top model

Game 1 of a first-round series in the 2024 NBA playoffs features the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks colliding on Saturday. The Knicks won the season series 3-1 over the Sixers. New York went 27-14 at Madison Square Garden this season. Meanwhile, Philadelphia notched a 22-19 record on the road. Julius Randle (shoulder) will miss the entire postseason for the Knicks.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Knicks are 3.5-point favorites in the latest 76ers vs. Knicks odds from SportsLine consensus. The over/under for total points is 208.5. Before making any Knicks vs. 76ers picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from the proven computer simulation model at SportsLine.

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.

Now, the model has set its sights on Sixers vs. Knicks and just locked in its picks and NBA playoff predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Knicks vs. Sixers:

76ers vs. Knicks spread: New York -3.5
76ers vs. Knicks over/under: 208.5 points
76ers vs. Knicks money line: New York -161, Philadelphia +137
NYK: The Knicks are 44-37-1 against the spread this season.
PHI: The 76ers are 48-35 against the spread this season.
76ers vs. Knicks picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the 76ers can cover
Center Joel Embiid is listed as questionable (knee), but he is widely expected to play. He remains of the most impactful players in the NBA. The seven-time All-Star owns a nasty face-up game and will knock down perimeter jumpers with ease. Embiid averages 34.7 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. On April 12 versus the Magic, Embiid had 32 points, 13 rebound and seven assists.

Guard Tyrese Maxey thrives as a shot-creator for the 76ers. Maxey will attack the paint to either score or dish the rock to a teammate. The Kentucky product also has a reliable jumper on the outside to space the floor. Maxey logged 25.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. He dropped 19 points and six assists in the Play-In win over the Heat. See which team to pick here.

Why the Knicks can cover
Forward OG Anunoby is one of the best defenders in the league due to his ability to guard any position 1 through 4. Anunoby has very active hands to alter shots and get into passing lanes. The Indiana product averaged 14.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season. On March 12 against the 76ers, Anunoby notched 14 points and four boards.

Guard Josh Hart continues to be a high-impact player. He is a tenacious rebounder and is always running the floor. The Villanova product is an active cutter while being a pesky defender. Hart logged 9.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game. In his last contest, Hart totaled 12 points, 10 boards and four assists. See which team to pick here.

How to make 76ers vs. Knicks picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 213 points. The model also says one side hits in well over 50% of simulations. You can only get the model’s pick at SportsLine.

So who wins 76ers vs. Knicks, and which side hits in well over 50% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Knicks vs. 76ers spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned more than $2,600 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.

Nuggets coach says week ‘has not been easy’ for Michael Porter Jr. after NBA ban, jail sentence for brothers

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone spoke to reporters on Friday about recent off-court events that occurred this week involving the brothers of forward Michael Porter Jr.. On Wednesday, the league announced the lifetime ban of Porter’s brother, Jontay Porter, for betting on NBA games, and among other things, disclosing confidential information to sports bettors. It was then announced on Friday that Porter’s younger brother, Coban Porter, was sentenced to six years in prison for killing a woman in a DUI crash in 2023.

Porter Jr. was not at practice on Friday, as he was attending Coban’s sentencing in Denver, but Malone as well as Porter Jr.’s teammates spoke about how Porter Jr. has handled the situation.

“It has not been easy for him,” Malone said. “That’s why I give him credit, because he’s carrying so much in his heart and on his mind. For him to go out there and do the job that he’s doing, it speaks to how much strength that young man has.”

Porter spoke at his brother’s sentencing on Friday, mentioning how he looked up to his younger brother.

“I truly don’t think I’d be in the position I am today as a professional basketball player without a brother like Coban pushing me every day,” Porter Jr. said. “He would get up earlier than me, work out harder than me. I know it’s not often that a big brother looks up to a younger brother, but that is how it was for me.”

Porter also said at the hearing how he was the first to hear about the car crash as police officers called him the morning of January 22, 2023.

“He said, ‘Coban has been in a fatal accident.’ He didn’t specify if Coban was the one who died or if it was someone else,” Porter Jr. said. “I understand your family’s pain and hurt. When he didn’t specify what it was, I felt that. I know that if I were in your shoes and it was reversed, I would have a lot of feelings as well.”

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray said that while he hasn’t talked to Porter Jr. about either situation, he and the rest of the team support him as he deals with his family matters.

“I don’t think we’ve spoken to him about it. That’s just not something we talk about,” Murray said. “We’re just keeping it professional here and we all support him. He’s handling it really well. Obviously, it’s not easy. But yeah, we’re just letting him deal with it.”

While Porter Jr. was not at practice on Friday, he’ll likely be in the starting lineup for the Nuggets as they begin their title defense against the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday night. Porter Jr. is the third-leading scorer for Denver, averaging 16.7 points and seven rebounds, in a year where he’s played 81 games, the most in his career.

Knicks vs. 76ers TV channel, live stream, how to watch NBA playoffs online, game time, odds

The New York Knicks’ reward for earning the second seed in the Eastern Conference? A matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers and the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid.

It is unclear, however, how close Embiid will be to his MVP-caliber form. The Sixers fell to the seventh spot because he had surgery to address a meniscus injury in his left knee in February, and didn’t return until April. Embiid’s play toward the end of the regular season was encouraging, but he had to limp off to the locker room in Philadelphia’s second-to-last regular-season game, sat out the finale and looked far less than 100% against the Miami Heat in the Play-In.

The Knicks had their share of injuries, too. On the same night in late January, Julius Randle suffered what turned out to be a season-ending shoulder injury and OG Anunoby hurt his elbow, which required surgery and sidelined him for 27 of their remaining 36 games. New York overcame this and finished 50-32, largely thanks to the brilliance of Jalen Brunson, who averaged 31.6 points on 58.5% true shooting (with a 35.6% usage rate) from February 1 onward.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of Saturday’s series opener.

76ers at Knicks
Date: Saturday, April 20 | Time: 6 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden — New York
TV channel: ESPN | Live stream: ESPN app
Odds: Knicks -3.5; O/U 209.5
Knicks: New York isn’t afraid of this matchup, and Brunson, who ended the regular season by scoring 35-plus points in six of the final seven games (and 30 in the other one), will surely test Philadelphia’s stars defensively. Will Embiid be in a deep drop when Brunson runs high pick-and-rolls? Will the Sixers willingly switch Tyrese Maxey onto him? The Knicks should feel great about how they’ve played with Brunson and Anunoby on the court — in 636 regular-season minutes, they scored 125 points per 100 possessions and allowed 101.7 per 100 — but there could be some trepidation about the offense in the few minutes that Brunson is on the bench.

76ers: In theory, Philadelphia is a more complete team than it was when James Harden was around, but that’s only remotely true if Embiid is at or near the top of his game. There are tons of smaller stories from the Sixers’ regular season, but the two biggest ones are simple: Embiid got even better after his MVP season, and the team became less equipped to handle his absence. It is ironic, then, that while neither Embiid nor Maxey were great against Miami, they were saved by Nicolas Batum knocking down 3s and Buddy Hield attacking closeouts. Now that Philadelphia is facing a better opponent than that the undermanned Heat, can its stars and role players thrive at the same time?

If healthy, Philadelphia is the biggest threat to the Boston Celtics in the East, but that’s a mighty big if. Had Embiid not been seen ambling around uncomfortably earlier this week, it would have been much easier to pick the Sixers to win this game (and this series). After that, though, it feels almost disrespectful to pick against New York. The Pick: Knicks -3.5