Monday NBA Playoff Betting Tips
Hard Court Betting Lines Analysis
By Eric Uribe
Over/under 210 points — Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers (-7.5)
The late-season struggles that marred Cleveland didn’t suddenly disappear in the postseason like most predicted. Yes, the Cavs narrowly took Game 1 109-108, but it was more a matter of surviving than winning. A buzzer-beating shot by the Pacers’ C.J. Miles — not Paul George — clanked off the rim, saving the defending champions from a jarring loss.
The Cavs struggled late again as Indiana rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Free-throw issues also plagued Cleveland, as they went 14-of-27 from the charity stripe. The Pacers outrebounded the reigning champions 50-43, too.
Heading into game two, expect the Cavs to shoot better from downtown. Indiana’s defense dared LeBron James and Kyrie Irving to drive inside most of game 1. They did successfully on multiple occasions, however, Cleveland’s starters failed to knock down the open shots. Altogether, the starters went 6-from-21 from deep.
Game 1 may have been a different outcome had George taken the shot. He went off for 29 points and seven assists on Saturday and he appears to have the champions number. A little over two weeks ago, he dropped 45 points against them. Until Cleveland finds a way to stop him, expect another blow up performance from George.
The fact that the Cavs shot so badly from three-point range and the free-throw line in game one, yet still won, leads us to believe they’ll take a 2-0 lead. No way they repeat the dismal shooting on Monday, making an over and Cleveland covering the spread the likely option here.
Pick: Cavs (-7.5)
Over/under 188.5 points — Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs (-11)
This weekend was filled with wire-to-wire game 1 matchups with the exception of this series as San Antonio handed Memphis a 111-82 shellacking — the biggest margin of victory during the weekend.
While the Grizzlies seem to play the Spurs tooth and nail in the regular season — they won two regular season games against them this year — the postseason is another story. After Saturday’s beatdown, Memphis has now dropped nine playoff games in a row to San Antonio.
The Grizzlies got off to a fast start on Saturday, taking a 18-7 lead midway through the first quarter. From there, it was all bad. Memphis played the game without defensive stalwart Tony Allen (he’ll miss the entire series with a calf injury) and it showed. MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, who would’ve drawn a matchup with Allen, absolutely torched the Grizzlies. Amid “MVP!” chants, Leonard hung 32 points.
The worst part about Saturday’s blowout was it gave the Spurs a chance to rest starters for Monday. They sat all of their starters but one for the entire final quarter as their lead swelled to as much as 36 points. That’s bad news for Memphis in Game 2.
Point guard Mike Conley needs to play up to his $153 million contract billing. Ok, that may be impossible, but 5-of-14 shooting simply won’t cut it. Conley finished Game 1 with just 13 points.
It’s not all on Conley, though, Memphis need to find bench production. They were outscored 39-25 by the Spurs reserves, including the usual consistent Zach Randolph going 3-of-13 from the field.
There’s no way the Grizzlies can play that bad on Monday. However, it’s apparent that Gregg Popovich has San Antonio in playoff mode and we don’t seem them regressing all that much in game two. It won’t be a 29-point rout again, but the Spurs will still cover.
Pick: Spurs (-11)
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