NBA Betting News and Notes Tuesday, April 29

NBA Betting News and Notes Tuesday, April 29

NBA Playoffs

Washington won seven of last eight games overall, with last six going over total, but they haven't won playoff series since '05; can they take care of business and eliminate Bulls here? Chicago lost five of last seven games, with six of last seven going over. All four series have gone over total; Bulls lost previous two games here, by 9-2 points. Wizard bench is just 8-24 from floor last two games; win here gives starters little rest.

Last three Griz-Thunder games went OT, after OC won opener by 14; despite OTs, team that led at halftime won all four series games. Both Thunder wins stayed under total; both Memphis wins went over. OC is 22-86 from arc in last three games, shooting under 40% from floor in all three games- five of their last eight games went over. Griz outscored OC 28-16 in 4th quarter to force OT, after blowing 5-point lead in last 1:20.

Numbers don't really matter in Warrior-Clipper series, which became a media circus with off-court issues dominating. Do Clippers want to be playing anymore? They didn't practice Monday. NBA will probably ban Sterling indefinitely this afternoon, in which case this becomes total crapshoot. LA won nine of its last 14 games, with 11 of those 14 going over the total. Warriors won seven of last eleven games overall; under is 48-36 in their games this year, 25-18 on road. If somehow NBA doesn't ban Sterling this afternoon, Clippers aren't going to win.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Tuesday, April 29

Western Conference Tips
By Sportsbook.ag

Memphis (52-34) at Oklahoma City (61-25)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Oklahoma City -6, Total: 186.5

After playing three straight overtime games, the Thunder and Grizzlies square off in a pivotal Game 5 on Tuesday night with the winner gaining a 3-2 lead in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

Oklahoma City squandered a 14-point lead on Saturday night, but was able to come back and win Game 4, 92-89 in overtime. Through the first three games this series, the team was relying way too much on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Those two once again struggled from the field, but PG Reggie Jackson scored a playoff career-high 32 points with nine rebounds, and made all the plays down the stretch to get the victory. A big reason why the Thunder were able to get the victory was the domination on the glass, as the team outrebounded Memphis, 58-49 with 20 offensive boards. This series has been extremely competitive, and free throws will likely play a huge role in the game.

On Saturday, the Thunder were able to connect on 90% FT (18-of-20), while the Grizzlies made a dismal 57% FT (13-of-23). Memphis has dominated inside throughout the series in the first three games, but posted a mere 40-36 advantage in points in the paint for Game 4. Memphis has to hit better from the three-point line (6-of-20 on Saturday), to help open things up for Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in the post. This club is also a mere 6-23 ATS (21%) after three straight games of committing 14 or less turnovers this season, but is also 27-14 ATS (66%) versus very good teams (6+ PPG margin) in the past two seasons.

While the Grizzlies are an excellent team on two days' rest this season (10-5-1 ATS), it is a pedestrian 24-19 SU (20-21-2 ATS) on the road and 10-15 SU (12-13 ATS) as road underdogs. Oklahoma City is 35-8 SU (24-18-1 ATS) at home this season, but is just 32-28 ATS after an SU win and 34-34-2 ATS when favored. There are no significant injuries for either team.

Marc Gasol (17.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 4.3 APG this series) had another big performance for the Grizzlies in Game 4, leading the team with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while adding four assists and two blocks. He continues to dominate from the free-throw line extended, opening up opportunities for teammates in the paint.

One of those guys was SG Tony Allen (12.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 2.0 SPG this series), who finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds in Saturday's loss. He was especially dominant on the offensive glass, grabbing 10 offensive rebounds. But if the Grizzlies are going to win this series, they are going to have to get a more out of star PF Zach Randolph (18.3 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.3 APG this series). While those numbers aren’t bad, he has shot only 36% from the field, which is a far cry from his 47% FG clip during the regular season. The athleticism of Serge Ibaka and physicality of Kendrick Perkins has given Randolph a lot of problems.

SF Mike Miller (5.0 PPG, 3.8 RPG this series) and SG Courtney Lee (10.8 PPG on 46% FG in series) are the two best 3-point shooters on the team, and they connected on 4-of-11 from deep in Game 4.

Saturday was a struggle for PG Mike Conley (17.3 PPG, 9.0 APG, 5.3 RPG, 2.3 APG this series), who finished with 14 points on a woeful 5-of-16 from the field and 0-6 from three-point range. The Grizzlies missed a golden opportunity with the Thunder stars struggling, and they can't bank on them having another poor performance again.

Oklahoma City SF Kevin Durant (28.5 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.3 BPG, 1.3 SPG in series) and PG Russell Westbrook (24.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 5.5 APG, 1.3 SPG in series) combined to score only 30 points in Game 4 on a brutal 11-of-45 FG (24%) and 2-of-13 threes. The duo had more turnovers (12) than shots made from the field (11). The fact that the Thunder were able to get the victory with their two stars struggling so much, is a huge accomplishment. But despite the poor shooting, each contributed greatly in other ways, as Durant grabbed 13 rebounds with four assists, two blocks and two steals, while Westbrook finished with nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

PG Reggie Jackson (11.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG in series) has shown the ability to dominate a game, and he chose the right night to do this. He was able to get his 32 points on only 16 shots (11-of-16 FG), while knocking down all eight of his free-throw attempts. He is similar to Westbrook in the fact that he can get to the rim often, and he also played terrific defense against Conley.

PF Serge Ibaka (14.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.5 BPG in series) posted a strong double-double of 12 points, 14 rebounds (5 offensive) and had five of his team's 11 blocked shots. C Kendrick Perkins (4.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG in series) is not putting up huge numbers, but he has been huge for the Thunder in terms of defending Randolph.

Reserve SF Caron Butler (4.5 PPG on 27% FG in series) was able to hit two three-pointers from the outside, and will need to continue to knock down long-range jumpers to help open up more driving lanes for Westbrook and Durant.

Golden State (53-33) at L.A. Clippers (59-27)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Los Angeles -6.5, Total: 210.5

A back-and-forth series heads back to L.A. on Tuesday night as the Clippers try to tame the “splash brothers” and take a 3-2 series lead against the Warriors.

The momentum has been swinging wildly in this series through the first four contests, and has seen two games decided by four points or less as well as two blowouts, one by each club. Golden State crushed the Los Angeles in Sunday's Game 4 as 1.5-point home underdogs, prevailing 118-97 while shooting an incredible 55.4% from the field. The Warriors were finally able to play their game that helped them into the playoffs as they drained 15-of-32 threes while forcing 19 turnovers.

The Clippers could not find their rhythm, making just 33-of-77 shots (42.9% FG) and 10-of-31 threes (32.3%), while getting little contribution from starting C DeAndre Jordan or anyone on their bench not named Jamal Crawford. Golden State should feel fairly comfortable playing away from the confines of home, as it is 25-18 SU (24-19 ATS) when playing on the road this season.

On the other hand, L.A. should be ecstatic to go home since it is one of the best teams in front of its fans this season, going 35-8 SU and 22-21 ATS. So far on the year, these two clubs have split their eight matchups (SU and ATS) while the Warriors hold a slight 9-7 SU edge (10-6 ATS) over the past three seasons.

Bettors should be aware that Golden State usually plays very well in April, as the club is 20-6 ATS (77%) in this month over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the Clippers are an impressive 13-2 ATS (87%) when coming off of an upset loss this season.

The only injury of significance in this contest is that of C Andrew Bogut (ribs) for the Warriors, and he is expected to miss the entirety of the postseason.

Over the first three games of this series, Golden State was unable to get its long-range shooting down, hitting just 21-of-77 threes (27%). The Warriors lit it up in Sunday's Game 4 though, making 15-of-32 threes (47%), which helped them get an early lead and keep it throughout the game.

PG Stephen Curry (21.8 PPG, 9.3 APG, 1.8 SPG in playoffs) took charge in the contest, tying a franchise playoff record with five threes in the first quarter and making 7-of-14 overall on his way to a near triple-double (33 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds). He finally decided to come out and take charge in the series as he took 20 field-goal attempts in the game, his highest total so far in the postseason.

SG Klay Thompson (17.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG in playoffs) fouled out of Sunday's game, but not before getting 15 points, five rebounds and five assists in just 29 minutes on the floor. He already has two performances of 22+ points in this series, and his long-range game is important in order for Golden State to have a chance.

PF David Lee (14.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG in playoffs) has surprisingly not had a double-double in any of his past three games, but was very efficient in Game 4, scoring 15 points (7-for-11 FG) to go along with two steals.

SF Andre Iguodala (11.3 PPG, 4.5 APG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) hit both of his three-pointers and 6-of-8 shots on Sunday while being the main facilitator on the team with nine assists.

The Clippers had the top offense in the league during the regular season (107.9 PPG), but have failed to crack the 100-point mark in either of their past two games while shooting just 44.8% FG and 30.5% threes combined.

PF Blake Griffin (26.0 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.5 SPG in playoffs) has been the key player in this series, and when he has scored more than 30 points, the team has won. He will need to be more involved in the next game if the team does not want to suffer another upset loss, as he took only 14 shots on Sunday, and 13 shots in Game 1, while averaging 21 attempts in the team’s wins.

PG Chris Paul (17.8 PPG, 8.5 APG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 SPG in playoffs) had only six assists in Game 4, and is averaging 4.3 turnovers per game, a much higher mark than the 2.3 TOPG that he squandered during the regular season. He has not been able to be as much of a nuisance on the defensive side of the ball in the past two games either, and after getting nine steals in the first two contests, he has just three steals in the past two games.

C DeAndre Jordan (9.0 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 4.3 BPG in playoffs) had a very disappointing effort on Sunday, putting up a goose egg in the points column while taking just one shot and getting a series-low six rebounds and two blocks over 25 minutes on the floor. He was a force in the paint over the previous three games, recording five blocks in each contest.

SG Jamal Crawford (14.3 PPG in playoffs) had averaged just 10.3 PPG over the first three contests in this series, but exploded for a team-high 26 points on Sunday. He was the only player off the bench to have any effect on the game as the rest of the L.A. reserves combined to score just 12 points on 5-of-19 shooting.


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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Tuesday, April 29

Game of the Day: Grizzlies at Thunder
By Covers.com

Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder (-6, 186.5)

Series tied 2-2.

There was a different star on the big stage to keep Oklahoma City from falling into a big hole and the Thunder look to take a 3-2 series lead when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday. With Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook suffering through horrific shooting performances, backup guard Reggie Jackson stepped up as the premier option with a career-best 32 points in Saturday’s overtime win. Each of the last three games has gone into overtime.

Jackson’s exploits allowed Oklahoma City to regain homecourt advantage and keep the Thunder from needing to reel off three consecutive victories. The Grizzlies blew a five-point lead late in regulation of Game 4 – Jackson scored the final five of the fourth quarter for Oklahoma City – as poor free-throw shooting (13-of-23) and lack of killer instinct came back to haunt them. Memphis guard Tony Allen has taken on the task of guarding Durant and helped hound the league’s scoring champ to 5-of-21 shooting. Westbrook struggled his way to 6-of-24 from the field and is shooting 19.4 percent from 3-point range in the series.

LINE HISTORY: Oklahoma City opened as high as -6.5 but has been bet down half a point. The total opened 187 and early action trimmed it to 186.5.

INJURY REPORT: Memphis - N. Calathes (Out - Suspension)

WHAT SHARPS SAY: "The Thunder cruised to a blowout victory in Game 1 of this series, but it's evolved into a war since. I don't think the Grizzlies will be short on confidence in Game 5, even after letting a terrific opportunity to take full control of the series slip away in overtime on Saturday night. With that being said, this is obviously the pivotal game of this series and I don't believe we're being asked to lay an unreasonable price with the Thunder, who have to realize the importance of grabbing this one before heading to Memphis for Game 6. In fact, given Oklahoma City's long-term dominance at home, I believe this line is a little short at -6. No doubt the betting majority will agree, perhaps pushing this number up closer to tipoff." - Covers Expert Sean Murphy.

WHAT BOOKS SAY: "Oklahoma City opened -6 and still remains at that number with us. Looks like we may have a fairly big decision on game as 77 percent of the cash on Grizzlies and 73 percent of bets backing them as well. Memphis has gone 2-0-1 ATS in last three games in series after OKC comfortably covered in Game 1." - Mike Perry, Sportsbook.ag.

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Power forward Zach Randolph had his worst outing of the series with 11 points in Game 4 and is just 10-of-34 from the field over the past two games. His substandard play caused him to spend a lot of time on the bench in the second half of Saturday’s game and Memphis needs him to put on a much better display on Tuesday. Randolph is shooting just 36 percent from the field in the series despite averaging 18.3 points and he was one of the culprits of the Grizzlies’ poor free-throw shooting as he missed four of his five attempts.

ABOUT THE THUNDER: Jackson was a non-factor over the first three games when he averaged five points on 3-of-19 shooting before going 11-of-16 in Game 4. Both Durant and Westbrook recognized they were struggling and acquiesced to the third-year pro, who single-handedly prevented Oklahoma City from losing in regulation. “I was seeing it in their eyes – they wanted me to keep going,” Jackson told reporters. “I was bringing it up and they weren’t stopping me. We lean on our two stars but their shots weren’t going.”

TRENDS:

* Home team is 4-1-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Grizzlies are 8-3-2 ATS in the last 13 meetings.
* Over is 15-6 in the last 21 meetings in Oklahoma City.
* Grizzlies are 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings in Oklahoma City.

COVERS CONSENSUS: 51 percent of bets are on Memphis +6 while 71 percent are on Over 186.5.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Tuesday, April 29

Tuesday's Playoff Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards
VegasInsider.com

Wizards at Bulls

This best-of-seven series heads back to Chicago for Game 5 with Washington (47-39 straight up, 46-39-1 against the spread) looking for the kill shot. The Wizards took a 3-1 advantage by winning Sunday's Game 4 by a 98-89 count as two-point home favorites. Trevor Ariza was the catalyst with a team-best 30 points and eight rebounds. Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat added 18 and 17 points, respectively, while John Wall finished with 15 points and 10 assists.

In Sunday's losing effort, Taj Gibson scored a game-high 32 points by making 13-of-16 shots from the field. Jimmy Butler added 16 points for the Bulls, who trailed by 10 at the end of the first quarter, by 15 at intermission and by 20 going into the final stanza. Joakim Noah finished with 10 points, 15 boards and five assists.
   
After allowing fourth-quarter leads to get away in Games 1 and 2 at home, Chicago (49-37 SU, 42-43-1 ATS) won a 100-97 decision at Washington in Friday night's Game 3 at Verizon Center. The Bulls won outright as 2.5-point underdogs, while the 197 combined points soared 'over' the 180.5-point total. Mike Dunleavy Jr. erupted for a game-high 35 points thanks to a 8-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

For Tuesday's Game 5, most books have the Bulls installed as 4.5-point favorites with a total of 183.5. Gamblers can back the Wizards on the money line for a +170 return (risk $100 to win $170).

Sportsbook.ag has the updated series price as Washington -550, with the Bulls available at +400 on the comeback.

The 'over' is 46-40 for the Wizards, 26-17 in their road assignments.

The 'under' is 48-38 for the Bulls, 27-16 in their home outings.

The 'over' has hit in all four games of this series and is on a 7-1 run in the last eight head-to-head meetings between these Eastern Conference rivals.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

Grizzlies at Thunder

Trailing this first-round series 2-1 in Game 4 at Memphis, Oklahoma City (61-25 SU, 44-39-3 ATS) pulled even thanks to Saturday's 92-89 overtime win as a three-point 'chalk.' The 181 combined points stayed 'under' the 188-point total despite the extra session. On a night when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined to make only 11-of-45 shots from the field, Reggie Jackson exploded for 32 points off the bench to lead the Thunder to victory. The Boston College product made 11-of-16 attempts from the field and converted all eight of his trips to the charity stripe. Durant scored 15 points, pulled down 13 rebounds, dished out four assists, made two steals and blocked a pair of shots. Westbrook finished with 15 points, nine boards, seven assists and three steals, while Serge Ibaka produced 12 points, 14 board and five blocked shots.

In the Game 4 loss, Marc Gasol tallied 23 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots for the Grizzlies, who made just 13-of-23 free throws compared to 18-of-20 for the Thunder. Mike Conley Jr. had 14 points and 10 assists, while Tony Allen had 14 points and 13 boards. Allen's defense on Durant throughout the series has been nothing short of sensational.

Prior to his Game 4 eruption, Jackson had made only 3-of-19 shots in the first three games of this best-of-seven set.

This series has featured three consecutive overtime games. The only other time that's happened in NBA postseason history was the epic 2009 series waged between the Celtics and Bulls.

In Game 3, Memphis (52-34 SU, 38-44-4 ATS) won 98-95 as a 2.5-point home underdog. Conley led the way with a team-best 20 points and Zach Randolph produced 16 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Durant and Westbrook had 30 points apiece in the losing effort, but Durant made only 10-of-27 shots from the field and missed all eight of his attempts from 3-point range.

Randolph was held to a series low 11 points in Game 4. He has drained just 10-of-34 shots in the last two contests.

Westbrook has made only 19.4 percent of his 3-pointers in this series.

Assuming OKC's veteran reserve guard Derek Fisher gets playing time in Game 5, he'll break Robert Horry's record for career playoff games with his 245th appearance in postseason history.

The 'under' is 45-41 overall for the Grizzlies, 27-16 in their road assignments.

The 'over' is 44-42 overall for OKC, 22-21 in its home games.

The updated series price at Sportsbook.ag: OKC -330, Memphis +265.

Tip-off is slated for 9:35 p.m. Eastern on NBA-TV.

Warriors at Clippers

For Game 5 at Staples Center, most books have Los Angeles (59-27 SU, 47-38-1 ATS) listed as a six-point favorite with a total of 210. Bettors can take the Warriors to win outright for a +240 payout (risk $100 to win $240). For first-half wagers, the Clippers are favored by 3.5 with a total of 106.

Golden St. (53-33 SU, 44-39-3 ATS) won Game 4 in blowout fashion just 24 hours after a TMZ report rocked the Clippers organization. The website released a tape of a conversation between owner Donald Sterling and his ex-girlfriend in which Sterling (allegedly) makes racist remarks. The NBA is expected to come down hard on Sterling on Tuesday and it's almost inconceivable that he'll be able to keep the team pending the Association taking care of everything from a legal standpoint. In protest before Game 4, the Clippers went to midcourt and each player removed his warm-up top featuring the team's mascot. The undershirts were turned inside-out to hide the mascot.

Whether it was being distracted by the controversy or not, the Clippers got blasted by a 118-97 score in Game 4. Golden St. won outright as a two-point home underdog behind the stellar play of All-Star guard Steph Curry, who had 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists compared to only two turnovers. Andre Iguodala added 22 points, nine assists and four rebounds. David Lee, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson chipped in 15 points apiece.

Jamal Crawford had a team-high 26 points for L.A. in the Game 4 setback. Blake Griffin added 21 points but his plus/minus rating was -22. Chris Paul had 16 points, six assists and five rebounds, but he committed four turnovers.

After losing Game 1 in large part due to Griffin's foul trouble, the Clippers bounced back to win Games 2 and 3. In Game 3 at Golden St., L.A. captured a 98-96 victory but disappointed its backers by giving up a backdoor cover as a 2.5-point underdog. The Clippers were outscored by nine points in the fourth quarter and failed to take the cash due to abysmal 10-of-23 shooting from the free-throw line. Griffin scored 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while DeAndre Jordan finished with 14 points, 22 boards and five blocked shots.

Jordan was held scoreless and took only one shot in 25 minutes of playing time in Game 4.

Draymond Green was inserted into the starting lineup for Golden St. in Game 4. He played 41 minutes and finished with four points (just four shots attempted), five rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocked shots. Those stats certainly don't jump off the paper, but Green had the best plus/minus rating of the game at +33.

The 'over' is on a 6-1 run for the Warriors, who have seen the 'under' go 25-18 in their road contests.

The 'over' is on a 10-3 run in the last 13 meetings between these Western Conference rivals.

Sportsbook's updated series price: L.A. -330, Golden St. +265.

TNT will have the broadcast at 10:35 p.m. Eastern.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Tuesday, April 29

NBA Playoff Picks
By: Marcus DiNitto 
Sportingnews.com

In Tuesday night NBA playoff action, the Wizards can advance to the second round with a win in Chicago, while the West features a pair of series tied at two games apiece, one marred by the ugly situation surrounding Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Washington Wizards at Chicago Bulls (-4.5, 183.5)

After a convincing win at home on Sunday, Washington is up 3-1 with a chance to end this series with win on the road tonight. The Wizards have proved themselves up to the task of beating the Bulls in Chicago – in fact, they’re 3-0 at United Center this season, including Games 1 and 2 of this series.

Still, Chicago is a 4.5-point favorite around Las Vegas for Tuesday’s contest. That spread marks little to no adjustment from Games 1 and 2,when the Bulls were laying 4.5 and 5, respectively. Getting this number of points with a team that’s 5-2 straight up against the favorite on the season has to intrigue underdog bettors.

Meanwhile, all four games in this series have gone OVER the total. But in this case, there’s been more of an adjustment by the bookmakers. Tonight’s 183.5 ties the Game 4 number as the highest of the series. The Game 1 number was 177.5 and it’s moved up steadily from there.

The Linemakers’ lean: This spread suggests the Bulls are better – or at least higher-rated – than the Wizards, which may have been the case before this series started, but after four games, it’s clear that no longer holds. Washington is the better team. They won two of three in the regular season and now three of four in the postseason.

The Wizards’ most impressive performance, in fact, may have been in Game 4, when they shot a series-worst 40 percent but still won by nine while playing without the suspended Nene. The Bulls have played well, but they don’t have any defensive answer for the diverse attack of the Wiz, and they lack a consistent scorer to rely on. Who does Chicago key on? Who will get the points for the Bulls?

Because the Wizards have been so consistent and the Bulls have fallen into playing Washington’s style, expect another Wizards-to-OVER combination. The total is inflated from the Game 1 number, but we’re not sure the adjustment is big enough. Take the points and OVER.

Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder (-6.5, 186.5)

The last three games in this series have gone into overtime, making a 6.5-point spread seem awfully juicy. On the other hand, it’s the shortest number OKC’s been asked to lay at home this series, so favorite players may see value on the Thunder here.

The two games in Memphis were marked by the Grizzlies’ remarkable defensive performance on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Ironically, each star had 30 points in Game 3 (a loss) and 15 points in Game 4 (a win). They shot a combined 30-for-98 from the field and 6-for-34 from 3-point range over the two games.

The Game 5 total has bounced between 186.5 and 187, in either case the lowest number of the series.

The Linemakers’ lean: Only Atlanta’s 39.1 field-goal percentage in the playoffs is worse than Oklahoma City’s 39.9. Memphis has given the Thunder all they can handle, which has led to poor shooting and turnovers by Durant and Westbrook. The Thunder should shoot better at home – they can’t really be any worse – and will force a faster pace, which makes this a good OVER play.

It’s the lowest total of the series, and with a quicker pace expected, the main play is OVER. We’ll also offer a small lean to the Grizzlies, even though tonight’s spread is the lowest of the three playoff games at Oklahoma City.

Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers (-6.5, 210.5)

With the cloud of Donald Sterling hovering over them, the Clippers were listless on Sunday, handed a 118-97 loss at Golden State. The series heads back to L.A., tied at two games apiece, and as the Sterling situation festers, handicappers ponder how the Clips will respond.

"I just thought they were the tougher team and it wasn't even close,” L.A. coach Doc Rivers said after his team’s blowout loss in Game 4. “Should have been a first round knockout.".

The Game 5 number at South Point was bet down from L.A. -7 to -6 on Monday, an indication bettors aren’t sure the Clippers will be ready to fire so soon after the situation around their owner erupted. The Clippers, though, were asked to lay bigger numbers at home in Games 1 and 2.

But Game 4 wasn’t the first blowout of the series – the Clippers ran the Warriors out of the gym in Game 2, 138-98. That was the Clippers’ only cover of the series so far.

After the total was adjusted down to 209.5 for Game 4, there’s been a correction in the other direction, although Game 5’s 210.5 isn’t as high as the totals for the first three games of the series.

OVER is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these teams in Los Angeles.

The Linemakers’ lean: A bad loss in Game 4 alone would have made the Clippers’ return to L.A. ripe for a bounce-back play. But because of Sterling, this feels like a bounce-back scenario of epic proportions. The crowd is going to be absolutely nuts, the Clipper players are going to be fired up, and it has the look of a wipeout. Maybe not a 40-point win like in Game 2, but a game where they just unleash some pain and the emotions that dragged them down from Game 4 build up into an angry boomerang.

The spread is light, so lay the points; and if L.A. covers, the game is most likely to go OVER the total as both previous games at Staples Center did. The plays are on the Clippers and OVER

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