NBA playoffs betting odds, picks: Can Clippers turn it around on the road?; more of the same in Nets-Celtics

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At the end of Game 2 earlier this week, the Lakers and Suns were barreling toward the under on the 209.5 pre-game total. With 50 seconds left on the clock, the two teams had combined for 194 points. LeBron James hit a 3-pointer that put the Lakers up by nine, and with so little time left, logic suggested that the Suns would give up from there. They didn’t. Thanks to their commitment to fouling and prolonging the game, the two sides would combine for 14 more points in the final 41.1 seconds. The total landed at 211. Over tickets cashed. 

How about Game 3 between the Blazers and Nuggets? The pre-game total was set at 227.5. With 43 seconds left, Denver led by eight with the total at 214. It didn’t matter. Portland fouled, and thanks to one of the wildest displays of shot-making in recent memory, the Nuggets and Blazers combined for an astonishing 21 points in the last 43 seconds. They zoomed past the pre-game line to get to a total of 235. Overs once again cashed. 

This is a tiny sample, but if you’re a live bettor, this is a trend to keep an eye on. Once a game gets into intentional foul territory, there are cheap points to be had if you grab the live over. This is the playoffs. Teams are desperate to extend games. Leading teams are exhausted and don’t want to play any more defense. There’s money to be made here. But there’s also money to be made on the Friday games, so let’s dive into those. 

All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

Latest Odds:

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets didn’t make 3-pointer until midway through the second quarter of Game 1 and they still covered this spread in that matchup. They nearly covered it three times over in Game 2. I hate to be this simplistic about a pick but… if you’re planning on picking Boston… did you watch Game 2? These teams aren’t in the same universe from a talent perspective. Changing venues isn’t going to fix that. The pick: Nets -7.5

Game 1 went one point over this total. Game 2 didn’t come close, and that should be viewed as the baseline for this series. The Knicks have one of the worst offenses of the playoffs and they play at the slowest pace in the NBA. The playoffs slow games down even further, and with Julius Randle struggling, there just isn’t an obvious way for the Knicks to make up those lost points. The pick: Under 211.

Latest Odds:

Los Angeles Clippers

The Mavericks shot 57.7 percent on wide-open 3’s in the first two games and 42.5 percent on tightly guarded 3’s. Those numbers aren’t going to sustain, but beyond that, do you really want to bet on the comfortable team over the desperate one? The Clippers are going to throw the kitchen sink at a Mavericks team that doesn’t have obvious adjustments to make here. The Clippers might still lose this series, but if they have any fight left in them whatsoever, we’ll see it in Game 3. The pick: Clippers -2

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