Top 3 NBA Betting Picks for Thursday, June 17th (2021)

The NBA Playoffs. What an exciting and turbulent ride the 2021 postseason has been thus far. Injuries continue to dominate the storylines, but we are still getting to witness some amazing basketball. Case in point, the last two nights, we had two thrilling upsets follow a superhuman performance from Kevin Durant on Tuesday. We will get another dose of KD tonight as the Brooklyn Nets look to put away the Milwaukee Bucks. 

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1. Nets -6 | -113 at DraftKings Sportsbook

I am not entirely sure why the Bucks are listed as such large favorites here. What is even more perplexing is that the spread has been rising and sat at -5.5 on the Bucks when I started writing and from -3.5 yesterday. Yes, the Bucks are at home, and Kyrie Irving remains sidelined, but James Harden should be more effective, and KD will be KD. I understand the premise behind making the Nets road underdogs, and at -3 or -3.5, perhaps the Bucks would grade out as the value, but at -6, the value is squarely with the Nets.

I will be keying Nets moneyline on a couple of parlays tonight, but the spread is where the value lies. The Nets have a 48 percent win probability, straight up, with the spread, they are at a 58 percent probability to cover, making them one of the shrewdest bets we have seen in the playoffs so far. Don’t overthink this one. Take the Nets and the large cushion. 

2. James Harden Over 15.5 Points | -113 at DraftKings Sportsbook

James Harden was abysmal on Tuesday night but played a full complement of minutes and is bound to be more effective tonight. 15.5 with Kyrie sidelined would be a ‘gimme’ for a healthy Harden but may be tighter than otherwise with him still clearly at less than 100 percent. A sub 16 point night is not an impossibility for Harden. He did manage to score 15 or less in four separate games this season, but the odds are against it. He took 10 shots in Game 5 when playing as a decoy, scoring eight points.

With more aggressiveness and several inches closer to returning to form, Harden should be good for at least 16 points. Kevin Durant will still look to dominate in rare form, but if Jeff Green cannot get it going, we can be sure that Harden will be looking to pick up the slack, regardless of whether or not he is back to an MVP level. This is the top prop of the day and worthy of inclusion in parlays at books that allow you to do so. Tap for one unit and look to key elsewhere. 

 3. Kevin Durant Over 6.5 Assists | -159 at DraftKings Sportsbook

Kevin Durant will be in full takeover mode once again in Game 6. However, the value for this prop appears to be squarely on the under. KD has posted seven or more assists just once in his last 10 contests and averaged just 5.6 on the season. So why has the sharp money come in almost exclusively on the over? You guessed it—Tuesday night. KD went bonkers with 49 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists, showing off the complete game many put past him when discussing the best in the NBA.

While hitting 10 assists again may be a bit of a stretch, especially if James Harden is more effective, he will have the ball in his hands enough to put himself in a position to impact the game on a larger scale. He still may prove to be more decoy than superstar ready to perform at an elite level but should be the recipient of several KD assists. KD will have a sky-high usage rate once again and will be looking to facilitate whenever possible. The juice here is too heavy based on the trends so go for the partial unit return

NBA Prop Bets

Kyrie Irving Prop Bet Odds
Blake Griffin Prop Bet Odds
Devin Booker Prop Bet Odds
Aaron Gordon Prop Bet Odds
Michael Porter Jr. Prop Bet Odds

 Check out our NBA Prop Bet Cheat Sheet for the top bets of the day >>

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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