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Saturday Hard Court Game Day Bets
NBA Playoffs Game Odds Analysis
By Liam Davis
Are we about to bet on the Toronto Raptors just because they're 0-3 against the spread this series and overdue for a victory in some form?
But there are other things, too.
The Raptors have to make adjustments to their defense. Anything they do admittedly may not work. Giannis Antetokounmpo can bend space and time and rims. On offense, though, they are only going to get better. DeMar DeRozan didn't make a field-goal in Game 3. That is not a typo. Kyle Lowry has struggled basically all series. Serge Ibaka is hot and cold. None of the other complementary pieces have popped.
One of them eventually will, while at least one of Lowry and DeRozan, if not both, will have a trademark offensive outing. They're too good to hold back for four games, even when they play a one-on-one-heavy style that becomes easy and predictable to defend.
Make no mistake, the Milwaukee Bucks are good. They may even win this series. But they won't win the three-point battle against Toronto forever. Game 4 should belong to the Raptors.
The Pick: Toronto Raptors (+2)
Conider this: The Washington Wizards' starting five has logged 40 minutes through the first two games of this series. During that time, they are an astounding plus-37. Plus. Thirty. Seven.
The Atlanta Hawks don't stand a chance at hanging with that five-man combination if they plan on trotting out the same starting lineup of their own. And as head coach Mike Budenholzer already announced, they don't have any intentions of changing.
That makes it hard for us to bet on the Hawks here, as favorites. They've done an okay job of hanging around in the previous two games, but their coverages on John Wall have been crud, and they're getting outshot from beyond the arc.
Road games are harder to win in the playoffs, but we've seen enough from this Wizards group to know they have such a victory in them.
The Pick: Washington Wizards (+2.5)
No team in the NBA posted a better defensive rating on the road during the regular season than the San Antonio Spurs. And only one team notched a better point differential per 100 possessions: The Golden State Warriors.
Do we really think the Spurs are going to respond with anything other than a road victory after getting rocked by the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 3?
Kawhi Leonard, with the exception of the Game 3 letdown, has been sensational. So, too, has Tony Parker. Though the Grizzlies will be able to contain the latter, the former is knocking down threes, scoring off the dribble, dropping off passes to his teammates and defending his butt off. Expect him to be the difference in this one.
The Pick: San Antonio Spurs (-3.5)
So let's just call it like we see it: This spread is a mistake. It has to be.
First off, Kevin Durant practiced on Friday after missing Game 2 with a strained left calf. Players don't typically go through full practices if they're not playing the next day.
Second, his status doesn't matter. The Golden State Warriors won by 29 points without him in Game 2. Through two contests, they're now a plus-41. Playing on the road changes things, but we should still expect a double-digit victory from the same Warriors team that coasted in Game 2 without Durant and with poor shooting performances from Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-6)
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