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NBA Playoffs: Weekend betting guide

Is Rajon Rondo pointing the finger at the right person?

Editor’s Note: Jeff is a sports and whiskey enthusiast with the humor of an adolescent boy. Follow him on Instagram @jspringmeier for stereotypical millennial photos. 

By JEFF SPRINGMEIER

Now I’m a big gambler when it comes to Sundays in the fall, but betting the NBA is vicious monster.  You never know who is going to show up to play defense and who is going to try to just throw up prayers from behind the arc (cough… Rockets … cough).  This can make it nearly impossible to place bets on these games.  But if you are like me, you have that itch that can’t be scratched, mainly because my doctor told me to leave it alone or it will spread. I mean, uh… the gambling itch!  Sometimes I think to myself “What’s the over for the construction on 290?” or “How long is it going to take to flip my sh*t on my afternoon commute.”  I needed a release, so the NBA it was.  Regular season NBA betting is a buffoonery, but most teams decide to show up for the playoffs. This all being said, I’m going to run through some of my betting thoughts for this weekend’s games, and if you take my novel advice, I’m sure you will lose most of your money.

All lines taken from Westgate Superbook*

Celtics vs. Bulls (-1), O/U 207.5: Friday 4/21 6:00 PM CT– Series Chicago 2-0

First off, I hate betting NBA playoffs when a team is up two games.  You can’t account for the intangibles such as Thomas’s family loss, Celtics extremely poor rebounding, Bull’s exceptional play, and what I like to call the “underdog factor.”  The last aspect is self-explanatory, I just figured you may think I’m analytical if I put it in quotes.  Even though, I’m not going to place the bet, I think the Celtics will take Game 3. Horford needs to step us game in the front-court and put a body on someone.  No bet.

Rockets vs. Thunder (-2.5), O/U 224.5: Friday 4/21 8:30 CT – Series Houston 2-0

The Thunder, at the end of last game, looked like a 12-year old AAU team, with one kid who hit puberty before everyone else.  Russ did too much and looked gassed in the fourth.  He went 4-18 and a lot of his misses were short, a sure sign of fatigue.  I’m not betting on this game either because the Rockets might get too comfortable with the series lead and Westbrook probably will play with a vengeance. No Bet.

Clippers (-1.5) vs. Jazz, O/U 197: Friday 4/21 9:00 CT – Series tied 1-1

Without Golbert, Jazz have no answer for Griffin or Jordan down low. As favorites, Clippers are about 55% ATS and as underdogs the Jazz are 35% ATS. Both teams are averaging over 100 per game and should have fresh legs coming off a 3-day rest.  I’m going L.A. and the over.

Raptors vs. Bucks (-2), O/U 195.5: Saturday 4/22 2:00 PM CT – Series Milwaukee 2-1

I honestly don’t know enough about these teams to place my hard-earned money on them.  One thing I do know is that the Bucks are a fun team to watch.  The “Greek Freak” is a beast and Jason Kidd has his team clicking on all cylinders.  Toronto’s undersized guards are no match for the Buck’s lockdown D.  While I’m looking forward to tracking Milwaukee’s progress over the next few years, right now I have no bet.

Wizards vs. Hawks (-3), O/U 209.5: Saturday 4/22 4:30 PM CT – Series Washington 2-0

Again, series that have a two-game difference are always unpredictable.  If I were to put down some dough, I would go with the Wizards.  Wall and Beal are playing lights out on both sides of the ball and their supporting cast is finally coming around.  I look forward to their next match up. No Bet.

Spurs (-3.5) vs. Grizzlies, O/U 189: Saturday 4/22 7:00 PM CT – Series San Antonio 2-1

Grizzlies handed it to the spurs last night.  I’ve said it before, the glue that holds Spurs together is denture cream.    While they never light up the box score, Gasol, Ginobli and Parker’s experience contribute in a big way.  Last night they combined for 6 points. The Spurs seemed sloppy and undisciplined with their half-court game as well.  That all being said, I think Pop will get them ready game 4 and put a beating on the Grizzlies.  I’m taking San Antonio at -3.5.

Warriors (-5.5) vs. Trail Blazers, O/U 217: Saturday 4/22 9:30 CT – Series Golden State 2-0

I’m not going to touch this game.  Warriors are playing like the 2017 NBA Champions and Portland looks like two-kids in a basketball uniform trying to pass as professionals.  No Bet.

Cavaliers (-3) vs. Pacers, O/U 211.5: Sunday 4/23 12:00 CT – Series Cleveland 3-0

Series that are 3-0 have no interest to me.  But in all honesty, depending how my earlier bets hit, and how much cash I blow in midtown this weekend, I may put some money on the table.  George and James have been putting on an offensive show and I’m sure Kyrie and Kevin will decide to show up. I’ll take the over at 211.5.

All in all, NBA betting is a dangerous game.  I’m clearly a novice and probably shouldn’t be the one giving out advice.  Dig deep into the numbers and trends within each match-up and maybe, just maybe, you’ll come out with a little extra pocket change for that homeless guy at the stoplight you’ve been avoiding.

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