NBA Playoff Game Betting Lines
NBA Playoff Games Preview & Team Comparison
Charlotte Hornets (-2.5) vs. Miami Heat (+2.5)
The Charlotte Hornets’ Game 3 drubbing of the Miami Heat is something they can take into Game 4. Head coach Steve Clifford blitzed Miami with traditionally sized lineups, going super big, with Marvin Williams at small forward, in hopes of dictacting style and pace. And it worked. But it’s not clear if it can work long term—or at least long enough to ensure the Hornets have a shot at winning this series.
Nicolas Batum is still injured, and while he hasn’t ruled out playing again this series, or even in Game 4, his return is unlikely. And even if he does return, it’s even less likely that he’ll be 100 percent. The Heat have the positional versaility to combat the Horents’ bigger lineups, but they also have the ability to run small, in an effort to force certain Charlotte players, such as Al Jefferson, off the court.
This is no doubt a series in which play styles will vary by game, maybe even quarter. But the Heat have the obvious talent edge, and a one game letdown on the road isn’t, at this point, enough to predict another.
The Pick: Miami Heat (+2.5)
Oklahoma City Thunder (-14.5) vs. Dallas Mavericks (+14.5)
Although the Oklahoma City Thunder lead the Dallas Mavericks 3-1 in this series, with each of their three victories coming by double-digit point margins, this isn’t your average formality matchup. The Thunder are going to win, make no mistake. But there is a certain chippiness to these games that we just cannot ignore.
Dallas gutted out an 85-84 win in Game 2, before dropping two straight tilts at home. Oklahoma City can smell blood and, most importantly, rest.
Still, slotting the Thunder as 14.5 point favorites in an elmination game, even on the heels of their three blowout wins, is a risky proposition. This is the kind of game you steer clear of if you can. If you’re so inclined to bet, however, the Mavericks are the more intriguing option. They have been able to keep pace with the Thunder in two of these four games, and head coach Rick Carlisle is a master of getting players to respond when the stakes are highest.
And with the Mavericks facing elimination, there are no higher stakes for them at the moment.
The Pick: Mavericks (+14.5)
Portland Trail Blazers (+3.5) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (-3.5)
The Portland Trail Blazers breathed new life into this series with an imressive win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 3. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum finally caught fire at the same time, and the Blazers defense was able to keep the Clippers offense in check.
As for whether that model is sustainable, we don’t know. Lillard and McCollum drilled some pretty tough shots—looks they won’t knock down at high clips forever.
But home-court advantage was always going to play a huge part in this series. Los Angles and Portland had nearly identical home records during the regular season, and the Blazers have shown they can pick apart measurably better opponents when playing on their home floor.
Indeed, the Clippers’ excess of star power is harrowing. It took poor shooting performances from Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick for the Blazers to survive Game 3, and DeAndre Jordan is due for an explosion.
Nevertheless, the Blazers are something else at home—something special. They may not get encore efforts from both Lillard and McCollum, but members of their supporting cast are overdue for a good performance. This team should be able to grind out one more victory for the series, and there’s no game they’re more likely to win than this one.
The Pick: Blazers (+3.5)
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