NBA playoffs, betting odds, picks, schedule: Here’s why you should eye underdogs in possible sweep situations

We’ve officially reached the point in the first round in which teams are in legitimate danger of going home every time they step on the floor. The lack of the typical ebbs and flows of a series make it harder to predict when exactly that will happen, though. Normally, an underdog down 3-0 at least has home-court advantage in their favor for Game 4. But in the bubble? All that matters is what kind of basketball a team is playing. 

But the lines reflect that lack of a home-court advantage. The teams in danger of getting swept on Sunday are getting quite a few points. It’s understandable given the strength of the favorites, but at a certain point, the line becomes far too long for a favorite to reliably cover. That is the case on Sunday, and it is reflected in today’s best bets. 

All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks: Clippers -7.5

As dangerous as the Luka Doncic injury appears for Dallas on paper, what’s even more concerning for the Mavericks is the likely regression coming for the Clippers. Paul George isn’t going to shoot 7 of 33 forever. Montrezl Harrell is going to work his way back into shape. Dallas has played above its head in this series while the Clippers have been far worse than expected. As things begin to tilt back in their direction, this sort of win against the less-than-complete Mavericks should be relatively simple. 

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers: 76ers +8

The lines were a bit too forgiving for Philadelphia earlier in the series, but this one seems about right. Boston has beaten Philadelphia by exactly eight in two of the three games in this series. With their backs against the wall, Philadelphia should come out a bit hotter than Boston in this one. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll win, but they’ll go down swinging, and giving up eight points on a team like that is too risky to abide. 

Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors: Nets +13

The Raptors have games in this series in which they hit 22 and 18 3-pointers. In that sense, the final scores are a bit lopsided. While the Nets certainly aren’t equipped to hang with the Raptors at the moment given their injuries, all it takes to cover a 13-point spread is some basic shooting luck. The Raptors have had too much of it in this series. With little to play for in this game besides a couple of extra days off, if the shots aren’t falling, the Nets should be able to stay within 13. 

Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz: Over 216.5

Denver’s defense being bad in Games 2 and 3 was predictable. Utah found exploitable matchups and, well, exploited them. Denver’s offense can’t possibly play worse than it did in Game 3, though. For all of Michael Porter Jr.’s struggles, he’s just rarely going to take only six shots in a game. Jamal Murray is an inherently streaky player, but 26 points across two games is unrealistic even for him. The Nuggets may not win this game or series, but it won’t be because of their offense. We’ll see more scoring on Sunday. 

Who wins and covers every NBA Playoff game? Visit SportsLine now to see the uncanny predictions from an advanced computer model that’s up $4,750 this season. 

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