A Look At Tonight’s NBA Playoff Action
NBA Playoff Game Preview & Betting Lines
By Dan Favale
Toronto Raptors (-4.5) vs. Miami Heat (+4.5)
Has there been an uglier playoff series than this second round date between the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat? No. No, there hasn’t. The games have been difficult to predict, and the process by which the outcomes are reached has been incredibly tough to watch.
Complicating matters are the absences of Hassan Whiteside for Miami and Jonas Valanciunas for Toronto. Neither will play in Game 5, changing the look and feel of both offensive attacks considerably. And on top of that, though a 4.5 point spread for a home team, the Raptors, may not seem like much, it’s not the ideal number. Just two of the first four games have been decided by four points, and no contest has been decided by more than seven. And three of the first four games, mind you, have needed an overtime to reach a resolution.
Nothing less should be expected in Game 5. This is has been a tightly contested matchup through and through, and both teams continue to stack up well against one another on both sides of the ball. And with that in mind, the Heat should be the pick. There’s a strong chance they even win this one with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan struggling struggling so much offensively.
The Pick: Heat (+4.5)
Golden State Warriors (-13) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (+13)
Well, Stephen Curry unexpectedly returned in Game 4 for the Golden State Warriors, and the Portland Trail Blazers felt his presence. He struggled through the first three quarters, but once the fourth quarter and overtime rolled around, he was unstoppable, displaying quick handles, quicker feet and the unprecedented shot-making ability that has now earned him two league MVP awards.
The Blazers, as a result, are done. If they were going to make this a series, they needed to win Game 4 in Portland. They are a resilient bunch, and head coach Terry Stotts will have them ready to go to war in Game 5. But the Warriors won both of their matchups at Oracle Arena this series by double digits…without Stephen Curry in the lineup.
That matters a whole lot. Oracle Arena is their safehaven, and this will be the first chance in weeks that the home crowd will have an opporutnity to see their superhuman point guard take the floor, in uniform, fully healthy and ready to go.
Double digit spreads are often lines you want to avoid during the postseason, since any playoff team can beat any other playoff team in any given game; it’s the series matchups that are easier to predict. But if you’re not going to stay away from this one, there really isn’t any reason to pick the Blazers. If they win, if they even cover this spread, it will be a real surprise, and likely because the Warriors uncharacteristically struggled in all facets of the game.
The Pick: Warriors (-13)
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