NBA Betting News and Notes Friday, April 25

NBA Betting News and Notes Friday, April 25

NBA Playoffs

DeRozan bounced back from 3-13 Game 1 effort with 30 points in last game, as Raptors evened series; Toronto is -19 in turnovers (37-18) in series, but were +22 on boards in Game 2, with 19 offensive rebounds. . Nets are 11-48 from arc in series; teams split pair in this building this season. Raptors lost four of last five visits here overall. Nets lost five of last seven games, but are 24-17 vs spread at home this year.

Washington won four of five vs Bulls this season- they've won last six games overall, with last four going over total. Chicago lost three of last four visits here, losing by 13-4-3 points. Higher seeded teams that went down 2-0 in series have won only three of 27 series. Bulls lost four of last five games, with five of last six going over total. Favorites are 8-11 SU, 5-14 vs spread; over is 13-6 in NBA playoffs so far this month. .

Aldridge had 89 points, 26 boards in pair of road wins to open series; Portland won 11 of last 12 games; they've won last four home games, all by 6 or less points, but Houston won five of their last seven viits here. Blazers had lost five of last six games with Rockets before this series- last nine tilts in series went over total. Harden is 14-47 from floor this series; if that number doesn't get better, this will be quick series.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Friday, April 25

Eastern Conference Tips
By Sportsbook.ag

Toronto (49-35) at Brooklyn (45-39)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Toronto -4.5, Total: 191

The Raptors look to steal a win back from the Nets when the two teams meet for Game 3 in New York on Friday evening.

Toronto was in a must-win situation on Tuesday night and was able to pick up the 100-95 victory (ATS push) to even up the series at 1-1. The Raptors won despite committing 20 turnovers and being outscored by eight points in the third quarter. They crushed their opponent on the glass with a 52-30 rebounding advantage Toronto has now won seven of its past 10 games (3-6-1 ATS), and now hits the road where it is a solid 22-19 SU (25-15-1 ATS) this season.

Brooklyn's loss on Tuesday drops the club to 2-5 SU (1-5-1 ATS) in the past seven contests, but it is happy to return home considering its stellar 28-13 SU and 24-17 ATS records at Barclays Center. Over the past three seasons, the Nets hold a slight 8-6 SU advantage (6-6-2 ATS), including 4-2 SU (3-2-1 ATS) at home where Over has occurred in four of those six meetings. Both teams have multiple favorable betting trends for this contest, as the Raptors are 15-6 ATS (71%) after having lost two of their previous three games this season, and are 31-15 ATS (67%) after failing to cover the spread in two or more consecutive games over the past three seasons.
   
However, the Nets are 15-7 ATS (68%) revenging a road loss versus an opponent this season and 13-5 ATS (72%) in home games in the second half of this season. A win for the Raptors would help them to reclaim their home-court advantage in this series.

Toronto needed a big performance from SG DeMar DeRozan (22.0 PPG in series) in Game 2 and they certainly got that. DeRozan played 38 minutes and finished with 30 points (9-of-21 FG, 12-of-14 FT) after scoring just 14 in Game 1. He will need to continue to attack the basket and use his athleticism to take advantage of the slower Nets who attempt to defend him.

PF Amir Johnson (9.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG in series) had a good game for Toronto on Tuesday as well with 16 points (8-of-10 FG), nine rebounds, two blocks and a +12 rating in 37 minutes. Johnson had just two points in Game 1 and the Raptors will need him to continue playing well going forward.

PG Greivis Vasquez (14.5 PPG, 8.0 APG, 3.5 RPG in series) has given the Raptors some huge minutes off the bench this series with a near double-double in just 27.0 MPG. His +12 rating tied Johnson for the game's best mark in Game 2. Vasquez is able to give starting PG Kyle Lowry (18.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.0 APG in series) some rest, as well as play alongside him in two point-guard lineups. Lowry had 14 points (4-of-11 FG), nine rebounds and six assists in Game 2, but he has struggled to find his outside shot in these playoffs, making just 11-of-29 FG (38%).

C Jonas Valanciunas (16.0 PPG, 16.0 RPG in series) has played some of his best basketball in the playoffs with two straight double-doubles, but he has turned the ball over 11 times so far in this series. The Nets have not had an answer for his size (6-foot-11), and Toronto would be wise to keep feeding him in the post.

The Nets were unable to steal Game 2 in Toronto and a lot of that had to do with SF Paul Pierce (11.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2.0 SPG in series) losing his Game 1 magic. After hitting some huge shots in the series opener to finish with 15 points, Pierce had just seven points on 2-of-11 FG (0-of-6 threes) on Tuesday. If Pierce is not making jumpers, the Nets will have trouble winning this series.

PG Deron Williams (19.5 PPG, 4.0 APG in series) had 15 points and five assists in Game 2, but he was not efficient shooting the ball (5-of-15 FG, 2-of-6 threes) and seemed a step slower than he did in Game 1. The move back to Brooklyn for Game 3 could re-energize the Nets’ superstar.

SG Joe Johnson (21.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.0 APG in series) had 18 points (7-of-13 FG) in 37 minutes on Tuesday, and his size has given the Raptors some trouble on the perimeter, so the Nets will continue to isolate him going forward. One player who was a huge spark for Brooklyn off the bench was PF Mirza Teletovic (8.0 PPG in 17.5 MPG in series). The sharpshooter came in and scored 14 points (5-of-11 FG, 3-of-6 threes) in just 23 minutes of play. He had just two points in Game 1, and his offense will be very important to this Nets team, especially if Pierce is off from outside.

C Kevin Garnett (9.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG in series) was much better offensively in Game 2, scoring 13 points on 5-of-6 FG, compared to his five points on 1-of-5 FG in Game 1.

Chicago (48-36) at Washington (46-38)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Washington -3, Total: 181.5

The Wizards look to take a commanding 3-0 series lead on Friday night when they head back home to host the Bulls for Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

Chicago had a comfortable 10-point lead with less than seven minutes remaining in Game 2, but allowed Washington to come roaring back to tie it up and eventually win 101-99 in overtime. The Wizards are now two wins away from securing their first playoff series victory since 2005, which was the only year they have won a postseason series since 1982. They are a pedestrian 22-19 SU (16-23 ATS) at home this season, but they have been rolling with six straight wins (SU and ATS).

The Bulls have been a strong road team this season at 21-20 SU (20-20-1 ATS), but are just 1-4 (SU and ATS) in the past five games overall, shooting under 40% FG in both road games during this timeframe. Over the past three seasons, Washington is 7-5 SU and 8-4 ATS against Chicago. Four of the five games played between these teams in the nation's capital over the past three seasons have gone Under the total. Over the past two seasons, the Bulls are 15-3 ATS (83%) in road games on a Friday night, but they are also a stellar 27-14 ATS (66%) off a home loss in the past three seasons. However, the Wizards are 24-13 ATS (65%) when playing six or less games in 14 days over the past two seasons, and are also 26-16 ATS (62%) after one or more consecutive overs this season.

The Bulls desperately needed a Game 2 victory, and despite their spectacular effort defensively, they were unable to pull out a win in overtime. PG D.J. Augustin (20.5 PPG, 5.0 APG in series) was huge off the bench for Chicago, finishing the game with a team-high 25 points (10-of-22 FG, 4-of-8 threes) and seven assists in 41 minutes. Augustin also led his team with a +8 rating in his 41 minutes, and his speed off the bench really helps open up the floor for the Bulls offense.

PF Taj Gibson (17.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.0 BPG in series) also was big for Chicago off the bench in Game 2 with 22 points (7-of-17 FG), 10 rebounds and three blocks in 36 minutes. His athleticism and strength inside gave the Wizards' frontcourt some serious problems. C Joakim Noah (15.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.5 APG in series) continues his efforts to will his team to victories but he cannot do it all by himself. Noah had 20 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks in 46 minutes of play on Tuesday, but not all was great as he had five turnovers, five fouls and a minus-4 rating for the game. Noah has struggled defensively at times, but what it really comes down to for Chicago is a lack of perimeter scoring.

SG Jimmy Butler (10.5 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG in series) had just six points on 2-of-9 FG in Game 2 and will need to start hitting his shots with consistency if the Bulls are going to claw their way back into this series.

The Wizards made the ultimate statement as they went into Chicago and came away with not one, but two road victories as the lower-seeded team in this series. One of the biggest reasons for the success of this Washington team is the play of PF Nene Hilario (20.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.5 SPG in series). He was injured late in the season, but is looking healthier now than he ever has. In Game 2, the big man scored 17 points while also pulling down seven rebounds before fouling out. He has made 19-of-30 shots (63% FG) so far in the series, while really giving Noah trouble on both ends.

SG Bradley Beal (19.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 4.5 APG in series) hit some huge shots down the stretch on Tuesday to help get the Wizards back into the game and ultimately win. He had 26 points (9-of-20 FG, 4-of-7 threes) and seven rebounds after scoring just 13 points in Game 1. PG John Wall (16.0 PPG, 6.5 APG, 5.5 RPG, 2.5 SPG) wasn’t necessarily efficient scoring the ball with 16 points (6-of-15 FG) in 44 minutes in Game 2, but he was making excellent decisions late in the game and finished the contest with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.

SF Trevor Ariza (13.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 5.0 APG in series) provided a well-rounded stat line of eight points, eight rebounds, seven assists and a game-high +12 rating on Tuesday, while the bench also pitched in with SF Martell Webster, PF Trevor Booker and PG Andre Miller combining for 27 points on 10-of-15 shooting.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Friday, April 25

Friday’s NBA Playoff Picks
By: David Purdum 
Sportingnews.com

The Portland Trail Blazers’ best player is going off. The Houston Rockets’ top scorer is way off. This series shifts to Portland for Game 3 on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), and something has to change or else it’s over.

Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge has lit up the Rockets for consecutive 40-plus-point performances, lifting the Blazers to a pair of wins in Houston. Aldridge is shooting 59.3 percent from the floor. He buried the Rockets with a barrage of mid-range jumpers in the first two games.

“What can they do to stop him?,” Portland point guard Damian Lillard asked rhetorically after the Blazers’ 112-105 Game 2 win on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Houston guard James Harden has made only 14 of 47 shots and reportedly got rattled by a reporter noting his struggles in an interview after Game 2. Frustration appears to be setting in.

Harden averaged 30.2 points in four games against Portland during the regular season, but managed only 18 points off of 19 shots Wednesday.

While the Rockets prefer to run, they seemed OK with pounding it in to center Dwight Howard early in Game 2. Howard had 25 points in the first half, but a second scorer didn’t step up, and he had only nine points in the second half.

The Trail Blazers won outright as 5.5- and 6.5-point underdogs in Houston to improve to 18-9 ATS as dogs this season. Portland opened as a 3-point favorite in Game 3 on Thursday, with the total between 215 and 216 as of Friday morning. The Rockets are 6-11-1 ATS as underdogs this season.

Portland had a losing record against the spread at home this season (19-22 ATS) and has had trouble in recent meetings with the Rockets in the Rose Garden. Houston is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games at Portland.

Game 2 was the ninth consecutive Houston-Portland game to go OVER the total.

The Linemakers’ lean: Will somebody please wake James Harden up? He’s been given his chance to shine in the playoffs -- at home -- as the star of a very good team that can make noise in the West, but he’s been shown up each time by Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge. In Game 2, Harden had five turnovers and shot 6-for-19 from the field. There's only one way for Harden to go from here, so there should be a noticeable improvement tonight. Expect him to be much more assertive and Dwight Howard's unheralded performances to continue -- he's been solid against against Portland all season.

Even though these teams have gone OVER in all six of their meetings this season, surprisingly, there hasn't been much of an adjustment on the total, which, as of Friday morning, can be found for as low as 215 at the South Point.

We like Houston in a bounce-back game with their season on the line to cover the 3-point spread, and we have smaller recommendation on the OVER.

Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets (-5, 191)

After a humbling loss at home in Game 1, the upstart Raptors bounced back with an impressive performance in a 100-95 win over the Nets. Toronto out-rebounded Brooklyn 52-30 and held veteran guard Paul Pierce to only seven points to even the series, 1-1.

Brooklyn opened as a 4-point home favorite for Friday’s Game 3. The line had been bet up to -5 as of Thursday. The total was sitting at 191.

The Raptors are 21-11 ATS as underdogs. The Nets are 24-17 ATS at home.

The Linemakers’ lean: Toronto could be up 2-0 in this series. The Raptors' problem has been hanging onto the ball. Turning the ball over 17 times in Game 1 cost them a seven-point loss, and in Game 2, they turned the ball even more -- 20 times -- yet still won by five. Toronto’s has had a huge edge on the boards, out-rebounding the Nets 97-67, and home court isn't going to help the Nets much there. The Raptors went 26-15 ATS in road games during the regular season and should come away with another road cover tonight. The play is Toronto +5.

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards (-3, 182)

Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau has been praised for finding a way to get his offensive-challenged roster into the playoffs. Does he have another miracle adjustment to rejuvenate the Bulls in Game 3 against the Washington Wizards? Like Houston, Chicago lost the first two games of its series at home.

Chicago has the worst offensive efficiency of any playoff team. It’s showed throughout back-to-back losses to the Wizards, especially in the fourth quarter. The Bulls have squandered double-digit leads in the fourth quarters of both games.

The Blazers and Wizards are only the third and fourth teams to have won the first two games on the road of a first-round, seven-game series. In the 2005 Western Conference playoffs, Houston opened with two wins at Dallas. The Rockets lost and failed to cover the spread in Game 3 and would go on to lose the series. In 2008, the Utah Jazz won at Houston twice and went on to win the series. The Jazz won and covered in Game 3.

The Wizards are 21-11 straight-up since the All-Star Break, and have covered the spread in eight of their last 10. They’ve also covered in eight of their last 10 against the Bulls.

The Linemakers' lean: This series has offered the playoff's best brand of basketball, with both teams playing at an extremely high level and neither turning the ball over much. The Bulls held opponents to 43 percent field-goal shooting during the regular season, but Washington, with a healthy Nene, has hit 48 and 47 percent, respectively, in the first two games -- and they did it on the road.

Offensively, the Wizards keep coming full-throttle at the Bulls from every position. Chicago doesn't have that ability, but they do have the best defense in the NBA, and we expect a standout defensive performance from them in Game 3. While Washington and OVER bettors cashed in the first two games, we'll look for the opposite correlation parlay tonight with Chicago to the UNDER.

We like the Bulls +3 and UNDER 182.5, with the side being the top play.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Friday, April 25

History, betting trends against Bulls and Rockets
By Jason Logan
Covers.com

Going down 0-2 to a lower seed in the first round of the NBA Playoffs is nearly a death sentence. Only two of the previous seven higher-seeded squads have fought back to win the series in the past 24 years of postseason basketball.

The Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets find themselves under this ax, having lost their first two games of the opening round at home. In the Eastern Conference, No. 4 Chicago has been stunned twice by No. 5 Washington, while out West, No. 4 Houston has lost two straight to No. 5 Portland.

Sportsbook.ag currently has the Bulls listed at +380 to come back and defeat the Wizards, who are priced as -480 series favorites. The Rockets are sitting at +350 to erase that 0-2 hole and win the series against the Trail Blazers, who are listed at -440.

Before the NBA extended the first round from a best-of-five format to best-of-seven in 2003, the five higher-seeded teams which lost their first two games at home went on to win the series just once – the 1992-93 Phoenix Suns versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, Phoenix failed to cover in all five of those games - including the final three - a trend that has shown up when the higher seed drops the opening two games of the first-round set. Since 1990, those higher seeds are just 6-9 ATS (9-6 SU) in the remainder of the series following back-to-back losses at home in the first round.

There have been two top seeds fall in the opening two games under the best-of-seven format: 2004-05 Dallas Mavericks and 2007-08 Houston Rockets. Dallas managed to battle back and win the first-round series 4-3 over Houston, going 3-2 ATS in the final five games. The 2007-08 Rockets, however, lost to Utah in six games in the opening round, finishing the final four games 3-1 ATS after going 0-2 SU and ATS in the first two.

Both the Bulls and Rockets are set as 3-point road underdogs in their respective Game 3s Friday night.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Friday, April 25

Rockets at Blazers - Game 3
By Kevin Rogers
VegasInsider.com

Only three teams in the first round of the NBA playoffs head into Game 3 of their series up 2-0. Expectedly, Miami took the first two contests from Charlotte, while Washington rallied for a pair of road victories at Chicago. Out west, the Blazers went on the road to take two games against the stunned Rockets, as Portland is in a prime spot to advance to the second round, as long as they can take care of home-court.

Portland rallied from a 13-point deficit in Game 1 at Houston to beat the Rockets in overtime, 122-120 to cash outright as a 5½-point underdog. LaMarcus Aldridge dominated the Rockets with a 46-point, 18-rebound effort, while Damian Lillard wore down the Houston backcourt in his playoff debut with 31 points. The Rockets actually built a five-point lead in overtime, but Kevin McHale’s club shot just 26-of-40 from the foul line, while James Harden missed 20 shots from the floor.

Game 2 barely went ‘over’ the total of 215 as the Blazers held off the Rockets, 112-105, to cover as 6½-point ‘dogs. All six games between these teams this season have finished ‘over’ the total, while Aldridge stepped up again for Portland with a 43-point output. Portland erased an eight-point deficit after the first quarter, as Harden and Chandler Parsons combined to misfire on 23 shots from the floor. In seven of nine quarters (including overtime of Game 1), the Blazers have outscored the Rockets, but now the target is on Portland’s back heading home.

VegasInsider.com handicapper Vince Akins has several solid trends that back the Blazers tonight. According to Akins, the Rockets are 0-8 ATS since Mar 06, 2012 on the road with at most one day of rest when they have lost their last three games SU and ATS. When Harden doesn’t shoot well, this Houston team doesn’t recover. In Akins’ database, the Rockets are 0-7 ATS since December 31, 2013 after Harden shot worse than 33% from the field.

From a totals perspective, handicapper Stephen Nover feels tonight’s contest will dip ‘under’ the total of 216. Nover explains, “Both matchups were lucky to go ‘over.’ They should have been ‘under.’ It took overtime to push Game 1 above the total. It looked like Game 2 was going to go under, too, but 17 points were scored during the final 67 seconds in a flurry of free throws.” Nover makes an excellent point on the struggles of Houston’s All-Star shooting guard, “Harden's been cold for a while now as he finished the regular season shooting 36.1 percent from the floor during the last five games.”

The Blazers have won 31 of 41 games at the Moda Center, but put together a 19-22 ATS record at home. Portland has captured seven of its last eight home contests, but the Blazers covered just three times in this span. In two home meetings in the regular season with the Rockets, Portland dropped a 116-101 decision in early November as two-point favorites, as Houston shot a blazing 54% shooting from the floor. In the second matchup at the Moda Center in mid-December, Aldridge put up a ridiculous line of 31 points and 25 rebounds to lead Portland to a 111-104 win as two-point favorites.

The Rockets opened up the series as a -195 (Bet $195 to win $100) favorite to advance to the second round. However, following a pair of home defeats, the tables have turned as the Blazers are now a -440 favorite to win this series. If you believe Houston can come back and win four of the next five games, the Rockets are listed at +350 (Bet $100 to win $350), which isn’t crazy since Houston has won two of the last three visits to Oregon.

The Blazers enter tonight’s action as a three-point home favorite, while the total is sitting between 215 ½ and 216. The Rockets own a 1-5 SU/ATS record in their last six road games, as things tip off at 10:35 PM EST and the game can be seen on ESPN.

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