Last Updated: 2019-05-21
We head to Game 4 in Toronto tonight, where the Raptors will be looking to even the series, while the Bucks seek to rebound from Game 3’s loss and put themselves in position to end the series in Milwaukee. The Bucks are favored by 3 after opening as 1-point favorites but are getting close to 70% of the wagers in the game. The total has dropped from 220 to 217 with 55% of the wagers on the under.
The Bucks had plenty of chances last game, but didn’t do themselves any favors by going 22 of 33 at the foul line. If they shoot their average, they most likely win in regulation, so they have to be a little disappointed from that perspective. That nullified a rebounding advantage and played a part in the final outcome.
After starting out a bit slow, the Bucks’ defense turned it up a notch in the second half to allow themselves to get back in the game, but it wasn’t quite enough, as Milwaukee didn’t play very good offensively throughout the majority of the game.
The Raptors did enough to win at home, but they also can play better and have to make more shots, as 42.5% from the field is the best-shooting game they’ve had in the first three games of the series. The Raptors did hit a few 3-pointers last game, which helped and they’ve been pretty average in the series so far.
With the Warriors having wrapped up their series it will be interesting to see if the Bucks come out with a little more urgency tonight than they did in Game 3 when the Raptors came out strong, which you’d expect when a team is down 2-0 and playing in front of the home fans.
If the Bucks are a little more ready to play that could change the complexity of the game, as the Bucks still are one of the best defensive teams in the league, even though they don’t always play like it and would rather outscore people at times. But when Milwaukee has a little edge to its game, they can keep the opposition from scoring and think the Bucks will bring a bit of defense tonight.
Obviously, we’re not getting the same value on the under as when it was at 220, but still think there’s a little bit remaining, so will go ahead and take this one to land under the number.
END OF MAY 21 PICKS
The two teams expected to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals will do just that beginning tonight when the Toronto Raptors travel to Milwaukee for the opening game of the series. The total opened at 218 and is now 217.5 with two-thirds of the wagers coming in on the under in a bit of a surprise, as the public tends to like overs, but not so far in this one.
The most surprising thing in relation to the total isn’t the number of wagers on the under, but instead is the lack of movement, as .5 isn’t that big of a move considering the number of wagers, especially for a playoff game where more bettors are involved on a regular basis.
The teams were pretty inconsistent with their regular season games, as the Bucks won the first game 124-109, but then escaped with a 104-99 victory in Toronto in the rematch. The Raptors came away with a 123-116 victory in Milwaukee and the Bucks took the season series with a 105-92 win in Toronto in January, so it’s been 3.5 months since the teams faced off.
There are a couple of different ways of looking at this one, with the most obvious being the two games played in Milwaukee were definitely the two highest-scoring games the teams have played, while the two in Toronto were more defensive struggles.
The first game saw 198 attempted field goals, which was easily the highest of the three games, as the others saw 181, 163 and 172. There were 27 and 30 combined free throws attempted in the two games that landed under the total and 47 and 58 foul shots taken in the two games that landed over the number, so once again, a correlation between free throws and overs comes into play.
With the Bucks stinking it up offensively against the Celtics, have to think they’ll put a little more emphasis on offense here, but the key is how the Raptors approach the game, as they lost both low-scoring games and split the two that saw more points, so can see Toronto trying to play at a faster tempo. Toronto added Gasol since the Bucks saw them last, while Milwaukee added Mirotic at the deadline.
A bit of a tough game to get a handle on, but going to take a shot on the over. Can’t ignore the two games played in Milwaukee and wouldn’t be surprised to see the Raptors try to match Milwaukee on the scoreboard.
END OF MAY 15 PICKS
Two games on today’s slate, where the two favorites to win each conference, Milwaukee and Golden State, are awaiting the winners to get the conference finals started.
Philadelphia at Toronto: This total has climbed a little bit from the opening of 208.5 and is now 209.5, which is probably due to the public, who is on the over to the tune of two-thirds of the wagers. Not so sure this is a high-scoring game however, and want no part of the over in this one, even if not factoring in the public.
Defense has been the key for both teams so far and when it’s this late in the series, both teams have been able to see what worked and what didn’t, so expecting both squads to come and out and give solid effort on both sides of the court. Of course, the game situation could change a lot of that, but am expecting the Raptors to play one of their better defensive games.
The Sixers are making too many turnovers in this series and with them being the more offensive-oriented team, that could make it tough for this one to get over the number.
Portland at Denver: The total in this one has moved from 212.5 to 213.5 with three-quarters of the wagers coming in on the over and it’s hard to disagree with that. This series has been a little bit different than the Toronto series in that teams have scored 110 points and still losing, even if we don’t factor in the overtime game, so this series seems to be a little more conducive to trying to outscore the opposition.
Both teams have attempted at least 28 free throws in each of the last three games and it’s no surprise that all three have gone over, as in playoff games where both teams attempt at least 28 foul shots, the games go over at a 150-68-1 (68.8%) clip. While you can’t really predict the number of free throws that are going to be attempted, you have to expect the number to be a bit on the high side, just due to the way the games have been called.
If you look at games where both teams attempted 28 or more foul shots the previous game, you’re looking at an over ration of 56.3%, so still not bad and a bit of a decent angle for those looking to do something on today’s game.
Not real thrilled with the over being such a public play, but it does look like that’s probably the way to go in this one.
END OF MAY 12 PICKS
Even though Kevin Durant will miss tonight’s game against the Houston Rockets, bettors haven’t stopped taking the over in this one, which has moved from 212 to 214 with more than 70% of the early wagers coming in on the over.
Both games played in Houston went over the total, as the Rockets forced the tempo a bit, and have to believe they’re going to try and do the same thing in this one, with Golden State being a bit shorthanded due to the loss of KD.
Golden State will have a smaller line-up without Durant and may be more willing to run with the Rockets in this spot than they normally would, as the offense won’t be going through Durant and instead should be a little more varied.
Of course, it could come down to how Curry shoots from the outside for Golden State and he hasn’t been all that great in the playoffs, but he did do enough for the Warriors t oget the home victory in Game 5 and take a 3-2 advantage.
The Rockets are also pretty dependent on the 3-pointer for their points and in the games they’ve struggled from long range, they simply haven’t been very good, but it’s too late in the season to change your spots at this stage and the Rockets shouldn’t look to do too much out of the ordinary.
Houston was a more offensive-oriented team at home and didn’t always show the same defensive intensity they did when they were the visiting team, and believe they’ll look to outscore Golden State in this one, so will be on the over in this one, although once again, never thrilled with being on the same side as the majority of bettors, but believe there is a bit of rationale behind the over in this spot, especially when you factor in the fact that the total is much lower than we’ve seen in any of the first five games of the series.
Durant may score plenty of points, but it’s a more deliberate attack with him in the line-up and think the extra possessions we should see will be enough to overcome the distinct possibility of some lower shooting percentages.
END OF MAY 10 PICKS
Another two games in the NBA tonight, with what are likely the marquee games in each conference, at least from a fan standpoint.
Milwaukee at Boston: The total in this one has dropped a little bit at most places and is now 221, which is slightly higher than we’ve seen the past couple of games and the result of back-to-back overs. The betting is pretty well split on the total here.
The Celtics have gotten away from their defense the past two games and have been saddled with consecutive losses. While they lost by just seven points last game, much of that has to do with free throw shooting, where the Celtics were 30 of 32 and the Bucks were just 24 of 36. If both teams are closer to their season averages, the Bucks win going away instead of having the outcome undecided late in the game.
The Celtics should be able to look at the three games and see that they need to do what they do best and that’s slow things down and play tough defense. If the Bucks keep scoring 123 points, Boston has little chance of winning the series. They may win one more game, but I’d like Milwaukee’s chances.
Have to go with the under in this one, as I think the Celtics try to get the game going in their preferred style.
Golden State at Houston: We’ve seen a slight reverse move in the total of this one, as the number opened at 222 and is now 220.5 at the majority of sportsbooks. But the reverse moves haven’t really fared all that well so far during the playoffs.
We’ve now seen the last couple of games sneak over the total – Game 3 had just gone over before the overtime – and each team won a game, so a little difficult to predict what the teams will look to do in this one. Both can play defense when they want to, while both can also play an offensive-minded game, so there isn’t a real advantage to either team by dictating the pace and playing a certain type of game.
Both teams were over 42% on 3-pointers last game and not sure they’ll both be able to maintain that pace, so could see a little rationale for playing the under here, but one of those games where I’m in no real hurry to take a stand on the total one way or the other.
END OF MAY 6 PICKS
The Warriors and Rockets will battle it out in Game 3 tonight, with the series moving to Houston and the Rockets will try to avoid going down 3-0 in what for all practical purposes is a must-win game for the Rockets. The total opened at 222 and is now pretty much split at sportsbooks between 221.5 and 222 depending on your betting outlet.
Both teams were pretty average from the field last game, with Houston hitting 46.8% and the Warriors knocking down 46.2% of their field goal attempts. The Rockets were decent from 3-point range, going 17 of 40 (42.5%) and were also 20 of 25 from the foul line.
The Warriors had 14 more field goal attempts than Houston last game, which was the result of fewer turnovers and eight more offensive rebounds. The Warriors weren’t quite as good on their 3-point attempts as the Rockets were, but were also solid from the foul line.
Basically, this total is likely to depend on Houston’s 3-point shooting. The Rockets put up an average of 45 3-pointers per game. The Warriors are pretty decent when it comes to defending the 3-pointer, so something will have to give in this one.
Houston is capable of playing solid defense when the case is called for, but that’s something we don’t always see in their efforts, as Houston coasted through the regular season at times, as did Golden State. The Rockets can win a shootout against nearly every team, but Golden State and Milwaukee may be the two teams Houston is likely no hurry in running up-and-down the court with.
The Rockets have dropped the last three games, although all of them have been by six points or less, so Houston is going to need to come up with a couple more stops to turn the tables on Golden State.
Going to take the under 221.5 in this one, while obviously if you can find 222 I’d bet there, but will go ahead and use the 221.5, since that’s available everywhere, while not all sportsbooks have 222.
Even though the last game managed to sneak over the total, it took quite a few things going right for over bettors to see the game land over the number. Don’t think we’ll see quite so many things go that way in this one, with at least one team shooting in the low 40% range, so will take a shot on this one landing under the number.
END OF MAY 4 PICKS
A pair of decent games in the NBA today and both of them have relatively early starts, so we’ll get right to it.
Boston at Milwaukee: The total in this one opened at 224 and has just hit 222.5 at most outlets, as we’ve seen two-thirds of the wagers come in on the under. The teams were all over the place during the regular season, with final scores ranging between 195 and 230 points, with 227 points scored in the other meeting, so not really a whole lot to go on.
The Celtics were 1-3 in totals in their opening series, but the Pacers are nothing compared to the Bucks offensively, while Milwaukee can play defense, but that’s not the strength of the team.
Boston was 19-13 in totals when the number was 220 or higher, while the Bucks were 41-28, so both teams are in the 59% over range against this type of number.
Still, would much rather watch a game here before jumping in and see how each team looks to match-up against the other and what they do to try and create mismatches. If I absolutely had to play the game would probably lean to the over, but it’s pretty much a coin flip right now.
Houston at Golden State: The total in this one opened at 225.5 and is now 224 with more than 70% of the wagers coming in on the over. I have it pretty close to the number, but think the under is probably the way to go in this one.
The Rockets’ offense gets all of the attention, but Houston is one of the top defensive teams in the league when they want to be, which isn’t all that often. But this series is likely a time when the Rockets will look to play hard on both sides of the ball. Houston did play better defense away from home during the year, especially when you factor in the competition, and my ratings have them 4 points better in away defense than at home, even though the stats show just a modest increase in defense.
The Warriors were actually slightly worse on defense at home, but the real season is just starting for Golden State and this is a Houston team that should have them focused, especially after dropping a pair of games to the Clippers. Will take a shot on the under, although would most likely just stay clear of this one if it was a regular season game.
END OF APRIL 28 PICKS
Just a single game in the NBA tonight, as the Golden State Warriors visit the Los Angeles Clippers trying to put away their first-round Western Conference playoff series, which has taken longer than predicted, as the Warriors have managed to lose straight-up twice as 14-point or larger favorites. Favorites that large have posted an 895-41 straight-up record dating back to the 1995-96 season, which translates to 95.6%, so it’s unusual to see it happen at all, let alone twice in the same series.
After the Clippers won earlier this season, the Warriors responded with a 132-105 victory and bettors are expecting more of the same, as Golden State is favored by 10 with a total of 233 for tonight’s game.
As I said before last game, the Clippers biggest need was to shoot the ball better and they did just that, hitting 54.1% from the field, but in no way did I think they’d pull the outright upset, but don’t expect Los Angeles to have the same amount of success shooting the ball tonight, either, so will take a shot on the under 233.
One thing the Warriors have done all season is play better defense after a loss, which was the case earlier this series, as the 105 points they allowed to the Clippers ties for the second-fewest points allowed this series, which has basically been decided by Golden State’s defense. The Warriors have allowed 104, 105 and 105 points in their three victories, while allowing 135 and 129 in their two losses.
The Warriors are one of the better defensive teams in the league when they want to be, although during the regular season we didn’t always see that, as the Warriors showed a tendency to try and outscore some teams, but with this being a Game 6, have to believe Golden State will make the defensive effort they’re capable of.
The Warriors have scored 121 points or less in three of the five games played so far and the Clippers will have to do a better job on defense, which is obviously a bit of a concern here, but think Golden State will be more concerned with trying to pick-up the win and getting out of the series healthy than will be trying to run up the score, so will go ahead and play the under 233 in this one even though the line has dropped against us a little bit.
END OF APRIL 26 PICKS
A pretty busy day in the NBA, as games begin at 3 p.m. EST and run well into the evening, as there are roughly 10 hours of televised action today.
Philadelphia at Brooklyn: The total in this one opened at 233 and has dropped a couple of points to 231, even though we’re seeing a few more wagers coming in on the over. The total is the highest of the four games so far, but has to be expected with the 76ers scoring more than 130 points in each of the last two games. The Nets held the 76ers to 102 points in the opener, but Philadelphia has averaged 138 points over the last two games. The officials have been a godsend for over bettors this series, as we’ve seen a minimum of 61 foul shots.
Denver at San Antonio: The total here opened 211 and is now down to 208 even though we’re seeing 55% of the wagers come in on the over. I can’t see both teams shooting around 50% in this one, as was the case in the last game. Denver also hit more than 50% from 3-point range last game, so things should crashing back down to earth a little bit in this one, as both teams can play pretty good defense, so will take a shot on the under in this one.
Milwaukee at Detroit: The total in this one has moved from 217 to 216 even though we’ve seen more than 60% of the early wagers come in on the over. The Bucks have been hitting their shots, while the Pistons haven’t and have to think Detroit plays a little better defense in this one, but it’s a question of how many points they can score without Blake Griffin. Detroit was a little better defensively in Game 2, but gave up nearly the same number of points, as the game was close enough the Bucks didn’t ease up in the second half as they did in the opener.
Houston at Utah: This one opened at 216 and is still there, although we’re seeing a few 215.5s. The first two games have been right around the number, with the Rockets doing their part and the Jazz not very good from the field in either game and even worse from 3-point range. I have this one at 215, so will just sit this one out.
END OF APRIL 20 PICKS
A couple of interesting games on the NBA slate from a totals perspective and a few trends than come into play on several of the games.
Philadelphia at Brooklyn: The total in this one opened 226.5 and has now been bet up to 228.5 this morning, as it was in the 227 or 227.5 range around 9 a.m. EST. So far, just 53% of the wagers have come in on the over, so a move that’s likely being driven by a few larger wagers, but wouldn’t be surprised to see more over bets come in during the day s the public starts to get their wagers down. I made the total on this one 227, so will be staying away, even though teams who scored at least 130 points in the playoffs have gone 15-7 in totals their next game.
Denver at San Antonio: The total on this one opened 212 and is now 209 with 53% of the wagers coming in on the under and I’ll also be on the under in this one. My numbers have this one a little bit higher, but it’s more of a case where both teams have been guilty about not playing defense at times during the regular season, but both can play defense when they really want to, which should be the case here. The Spurs were a fair under team at home during the regular season, while Denver was a decent under team once they got on the road, so expecting a low-scoring defensive battle here.
Golden State at Clippers: The total on this one opened 237 and it is now 235.5 with 63% of the early wagers coming in on the under. I have it at 238 and it does fall into the above 15-7 totals record that the 76ers are in, but the Warriors have been a strong under team after a loss in the playoffs, going 6-22 their last 28 attempts. Golden State went under the total following all five losses in the post-season a year ago, and didn’t allow 100 points in any of the five.
During the regular season, the teams did have a couple of shootouts, including the rematch after the Clippers won the first meeting between the two. Would probably lean to the under if I had to play, just based on the tendencies of the Warriors, but will just stay away.
END OF APRIL 18 PICKS
Once again, lines were a little late being posted in the NBA, where we have a full slate of games, so we’ll get right to it.
Indiana at Detroit: The total in this one opened at 207 and is now down to 205.5 with pretty good two-way action. I have this one at 204.
New York at Orlando: This one opened at 212.5 and has held steady with 58% of the early wagers coming in on the over. I have this one at 209.
Chicago at Washington: Another game that has held steady, this one opened at 228 and is still there even with close to 65% of the early wagers on the over. I made this one 229.
Philadelphia at Atlanta: This one has dropped a little bit after opening at 240, it’s now 238 with 60% of the wagers on the under. I have it at 232, so would agree with the move, but in no rush to play this one.
Boston at Miami: The total here opened at 212 and has climbed slightly to 212.5 even though close to two-thirds of the wagers have come in on the under. I have this one at 210.
Toronto at Brooklyn: The total on this one opened at 225 and has climbed to 226 despite more than 55% of the early wagers on the under. I made this one 228 and will take a shot on the over here.
Charlotte at New Orleans: This one has dropped from 232 to 231, while I made it 236, but no interest in taking a stand on Pelican games for the remainder of the season.
Minnesota at Dallas: This one has moved from 222 to 223.5, while I have it at 226.
San Antonio at Denver: This one has held pretty steady at 213, which is where it opened, while I have it at 220, but have to wonder about Denver’s mental state here after losing last night in the Bay Area.
Utah at Phoenix: The total on this one opened at 220 and has inched up slightly to 220.5, while I made it 220, so nothing happening in this one.
Memphis at Portland: This one opened at 216 and I have it at 221, but will stay away from this one.
Houston at LA Clippers: This one opened at 229 and is still there with pretty good two-way action. I made this one 229 and will just stay away.
END OF APRIL 3 PICKS
Running a little bit late due to the oddsmakers being late with the NBA numbers, so we’ll get right to it.
Lakers at Oklahoma City: The total on this one opened 224.5 and has stayed there despite more than 70% of the early wagers coming in on the over. I have it at 226 and 230, so the numbers would lean to the over, but have been staying clear of the Lakers a little bit and the Thunder don’t give a lot of confidence right now, as they’ve been woefully inconsistent lately, so a game I’ll just stay clear of.
Atlanta at San Antonio: The total here opened at 227 and has been bet up to 229 with more than 75% of the early wagers coming in on the over, while I have this one at 228 and 226, so will go against the grain in this one and take a shot on the under. The Hawks are going to be ever thinner up front than normal, with John Collins expected to miss the game and rest, which might make it difficult for the Hawks to score as well as they have been recently. The Spurs haven’t been playing well and think Popovich has seen enough out of that from his players and will be on them to play some defense.
Houston at Sacramento: This total came out a little bit lower than I expected and even 60% of the wagers on the over weren’t enough to keep it from dipping another half-point. The total opened at 226.5 and is now at 226 at the majority of sportsbooks. I made it 221 and 225, but was hoping public perception would have this one in the upper 220s, but will just stay away from this one, as there’s really not much value in taking the under at the current price.
Denver at Golden State: This one is a bit strange, as the total opened at 222 and is now down to 219.5 despite more than two-thirds of the wagers coming in on the over. Another game where I had been looking at the under, but definitely not now after seeing the line move. Both numbers were calling for the Warriors to win 116-108, so the numbers like the over, but wouldn’t touch that side after the Rockets learned their lesson against playing a fast-paced game against Golden State. Just passing.
END OF APRIL 2 PICKS
Coming off our first really bad day in a while in the NBA, so will look to try and get back on track a little bit. Things are definitely getting a bit tricky, with injuries, players sitting, etc., although it’s easy to over-think things, as I did yesterday, passing on a few games that I gave too much consideration to a certain aspect, only to see if come back and bite me in the butt.
Detroit at Indiana: This one opened at 210 and has dropped all the way down to 205 with a little more than 60% of the wagers on the under. I have this one at 197, but always tough to go under such a low number. Games with a total of 205 or lower are 16-18-2 this season, so really nothing there.
Miami at Boston: This one opened at 212 and has inched up slightly to 212.5, while I have it at 212, so just one I’ll stay away from.
Milwaukee at Brooklyn: Tough loss for the Bucks yesterday and now they have to try and regroup against the Nets in short order. This one opened at 226.5 and has been bet up slightly to 227.5, while I made it 229.
Orlando at Toronto: Could be a good game here, where the total opened at 214.5 and is up slightly to 215.5 on pretty good two-way action. I have this one at 217, so another one pretty close to the number.
Chicago at New York: This one moved from 212.5 to 215.5 and I have it at 220, so will follow the crowd and take the over in this one, although not real thrilled to be on the same side as the betting public.
Portland at Minnesota: This one opened 223 and is now up to 224, while I have it 226 and will stay clear.
Philadelphia at Dallas: This one has pretty much stayed at 220.5 with 60% of the wagers coming in on the under, while I have it at 219, although that is likely a little high considering the Dallas injury situation.
Charlotte at Utah: This one has moved from 218 to 219.5 after more than 70% of the early wagers came in on the over. I ‘m right at the opening number with a projection of 218.
Cleveland at Phoenix: The total in this one has moved from 220 to 223.5, while I have it at 224, so most of the value has gone out of the over here.
END OF APRIL 1 PICKS
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