Wednesday NBA Playoff Best Value Bets
Hard Court Betting Predictions
By Eric Uribe
Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards (-5)
John Wall flexed his muscles, as he crawled Washington out of a halftime deficit to win game one 114-107. Wall finished the game with 32 points and 14 assists. It was a superstar performance that masked some of the Wizards issues.
For one, Atlanta won the game on the glass, outrebounding Washington 48-42. Moreover, the Hawks went to the foul line a whopping 39 times to the Wizards 17. Lastly, Washington’s second unit gave up a double-digit first quarter lead. Those three glaring issues give the Hawks hope of tying the series.
While Wall will get his points, Atlanta has to contain Markieff Morris better if they want to change their fortunes. The big man torched the Hawks down low to the tune of 21 points and four blocks. Paul Millsap was tasked with guarding Morris most the game and it quickly became chippy. Millsap quipped after game one that Washington was “playing MMA.”
The Hawks couldn’t stop the pick and roll in the first matchup and until they find a way to slow down Wall, we’re betting against them.
Pick: Washington (-5)
Over/under 223 points: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets
Lets call it like is, Houston’s 118-87 Game One victory was an absolute beatdown. For a series with so much hype, it was a disappointing start.
Thunder head coach Billy Donovan is no slouch and adjustments will be made. Most importantly, Oklahoma City can’t be pushed around inside anymore. In the first game, the Rockets scored 62 points in the paint and 31 second-chance points. It was stunning turn of events considering the Thunder’s size down low was suppose to be their advantage in this duel.
The defensive lapses down low were a result of Oklahoma City’s scheme. They tried to take away the three-point shot with consistent pressure on the perimeter. It worked, as Houston went 10-of-33 from beyond the arc, but to the Rocket’s credit, they took what the defense gave them and punished the Thunder in the paint. Houston has to be licking their chops as they have a counter for whatever defense Oklahoma City throws at them.
Furthermore, Russell Westbrook is due for a bounce-back game. The MVP front-runner committed nine turnovers and shot 6-of-23 from the field last time around. You know Westbrook is just plotting his revenge in Game Two. That, along with the Rockets prolific offense, points toward an over in this one.
Portland Trail Blazers at Golden State Warriors (-13.5)
While the final score of 121-109 may have not showed it, Portland gave Golden State every ounce of fight they had in them. After three quarters, this game was deadlocked before the deeper Warriors pulled away.
Still, the Trail Blazers were far from roll overs. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum put on a scoring clinic, as they went off for 34 and 41 points, respectively. However, that’s the problem. Both played as well as they could have, combining for 75 points, as they still lost by double digits.
Nine players not named Lillard or McCollum logged minutes for the Blazers and they tallied 34 total points. The next highest scoring player was Evan Turner at 12 points. The reserves shot 3-of-14. This is a two-man team and you can’t really expect the backcourt duo to have another sensational outing like they did in game one.
Golden State’s defense — not just its offense — really is something special. They way they clamped down in the fourth quarter, stifling Portland to 21 points, was a thing of beauty. The Warriors roll in this one again.
Pick: Warriors (-13.5)
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