Yesterdays Results: 4-2
All Time Results: 68-67-2, +2.5 Units
Boston Celtics -3 @ Indiana Pacers – 1 Unit
Despite all of their professional pride, there is surely a part of each Pacer that is looking forward to Cancun next week. The Celtics have proven themselves the better team, decisively: now beating the Pacers 5 consecutive times since April 5th. Winning today only ensures the Pacers a flight back to Boston, where the series likely ends there. Historically home teams facing a 0-3 whole have shown a propensity to pack it in: going 23-31-3 ATS (42.6%) since the 2002 playoffs. A win in this scenario simply does not mean all that much for a team that’s down & out.
Conversely, a win for the Celtics would be a huge boon. For one thing, a sweep would be a thorough refutation of all of the loud media naysayers. More than a psychological boost, having extra time to rest up and prepare for a monstrous Milwaukee squad is quite an enticing carrot.
The Celtics have found a rare equilibrium that they will be psyched to continue. Not only is Kyrie Irving cementing his position as one of the games best point guards, but all the other key Celtics are also excelling at the same time. Boston boasts 6 players averaging double figures this series: Irving, Tatum, Brown, Morris, Horford & Hayward.
Hometown hero Gordon Hayward & Co. have had no problem winning in Indianapolis in recent years. Celtics are 5-2 ATS in last seven at Indiana, and would be 6-1 ATS were it not for a miraculous game-winning three by Victor Oladipo in November.
Over the past month, the Pacers have been exposed as a below average team without Oladipo, their best offensive, and defensive player. The Pacers are 4-12 SU since March 14th. 1-4 ATS in their last five at home, and 4-17 SU in their last 21 against playoff teams.
Orlando Magic Under 101.5 vs. Toronto Raptors – 1 Unit
The Raptors look like they are enjoying clamping down on the Magic right now, each key player relishing their assignment from Kyle Lowry on DJ Augustine to Kawhi Leonard on Aaron Gordon.
After their shock loss in Game 1, the Raptors came out with defensive masterclass in Game 2, holding the Magic scoreless for the first five minutes. After allowing 14 threes at a 48% clip in Game 1, the Raptors have held the Magic to only 28% shooting from range since. Even when they did hit almost half their threes, the Magic still only managed to score 104 points.
Knowing that the 76ers will be a completely different animal in round 2, the Raptors want to cement their identity as a clean efficient offensive team and one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Magic don’t have the shooters or individual play-makers to match the Raptors blow for blow. If the Magic want to keep this close, they’ll need to stifle the Raptor’s offense.
Golden State Warriors @ LA Clippers Over 235.5 – 1 Unit
LAC is a league-best Over team at home, with the total going Over in 67% of their home games so far this season, 29-14. The Clippers love to run and gun, especially at Staples.
The trend is even more pronounced recently. The Over is 9-2 in the last 11 home Clippers games and 4-0 in the last four.
We can expect an increased paced in the beginning of the 2nd and 4th quarters without DeMarcus Cousins in the lineup for the Warriors. Many of his post-ups will be replaced with Quin Cook and Klay Thompson threes, increasing the likelihood and frequency of breaks the other way.
The Warriors defensive intensity could be turned back a significant amount after retaking commanding control of the series last time out. Since that blow out victory, they have had 2 days to luxuriate in LA and will now have to try focus their body rhythms to lock in for an Easter Sunday matinee.
Golden State Warriors -9 @ LA Clippers – 1 Unit
Even without a thorough defensive performance, I expect the Warriors to walk away with this one. The mantra has been true for years: You don’t beat Golden State in a shoot-out. The oddness of their Game 2 loss notwithstanding, the Dubs are just too explosive not too run away with this thing by the end of 48 minutes.
Over the last 8 NBA seasons: 7+ point road favorites are now 20-0 SU, 19-1 ATS, a trend that continued when the Bucks covered last night in Detroit.
The trend seems far too coherent to be noise. It’s just a lot of fun to blowout teams on the road when possible.
Here’s the analogy I think of: When I’m playing an NBA 2K Season, what games do I want to play and what games do I simulate? The regular season – 90% simulated. When it comes to the first round of the playoffs I might not play every game – but I’m a lot more likely to play a road game because of the novelty. I have killed teams in my building all year – but to have both the pomp and circumstance of the playoffs combined with the novel design of the road court and road colors – that’s a game I want to play. It’s fun to dominate in different backdrops on the biggest stage.
Conversely, NBA teams that know they are far worse than their opponents feel extra pressure to maintain their dignity at home. When things start to go south, the awkwardness rings replete in the arena. We’re paying for season tickets to see these guys? For this individual match-up, I expect a lot of Warriors fans enjoying the show as well.
Warriors are 6-0 ATS in last six playing on two days of rest.
Clippers are 1-6 ATS in last seven overall & 0-4 ATS in last four at home.