I've already used this space to make this plea once, but I am again going to implore you to look into the Clippers series price against the Mavericks. After their Game 3 victory, most books have them somewhere close to even money to beat Dallas in that series, but that win was far more encouraging than it looked. My primary reason for believing in the Clippers was shooting variance. Dallas was hitting an unsustainable amount of 3-pointers in the first two games and that was bound to regress. It didn't in Game 3. Dallas made 20 3-pointers, a total the Mavs matched only six times in the regular season, and they still lost.
The Clippers committed to a defensive strategy in Game 3: They let Luka Doncic get his points, but committed to slowing down everyone else. It worked despite their poor luck. Eventually, the Mavericks are going to stop shooting like the Dream Team. If they couldn't even beat the Clippers with perfect shooting luck, where are they going to stand without it?
Betting markets are dictated largely by public sentiment. It doesn't matter which team should win if bettors don't believe that team is actually going to win. Nobody wants to believe in the Clippers right now. After what happened in the bubble, a 2-0 home deficit to Dallas convinced the world that they were choking yet again when the true culprit was poor shooting variance. This team overcame a 17-point deficit in Game 3 when the entire basketball world was calling them choke artists. If you don't think they have the mental toughness to complete this comeback, I don't know what to tell you. I've put my literal money where my mouth is on this. I'd recommend you do, too. Now onto Saturday's slate.
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All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
The Heat have no answers for the Bucks aside from getting lucky and making a bunch of 3s, as they did in Game 1, which they still lost. They're shooting 41 percent on 2-pointers in this series. The paint has been completely walled off, and with Giannis Antetokounmpo locking up Jimmy Butler, the Heat just haven't been able to generate alternative means of scoring. Vegas is granting the Heat respect with this spread that they simply don't deserve. Let's call them what they are in this series: first-round roadkill standing between a championship contender and their true goal. The Bucks should complete the sweep comfortably on Saturday. The Pick: Bucks -5
The Nuggets and Blazers scored 21 points in 43 seconds at the end of Game 3. There is no pretense in this series. It's all offense. All three games thus far have exceeded the Game 4 total, which actually dropped by half of a point after Game 3. As we've discussed in the Dallas series, shooting variance can throw things off for a short period, but the quality of shots available to Denver and Portland in this series has been so high that the baseline total is well over 200. It's hard to imagine any low-scoring games in this series. The Pick: Over 227.5
Game 1 was an outlier, but Game 2 was proof of what a difficult matchup the 76ers are for the Wizards. Washington relies very heavily on two players for shot-creation. Philadelphia might have the two best perimeter defenders in basketball in Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle. Russell Westbrook scores most of his points at the rim. The 76ers have an elite rim protector in Joel Embiid. Amazingly, this total is actually lower than the Denver-Portland total. It seems highly unlikely that a game with that much firepower will have less scoring than one featuring the NBA's No. 2 defense. The Pick: Under 228
It got lost in the brilliance of Ja Morant's 47-point masterpiece, but Utah scored 141 points in Game 2 without a single player topping 25. They don't have Brooklyn's top-end talent, but the Jazz's offensive depth is unlike anything in basketball. With Donovan Mitchell healthy, it's nearly impossible to slow the Jazz down without a truly elite defense. Memphis, on the other hand, is more manageable. Morant probably isn't going to score 47 again in Game 3. The Grizzlies needed every one of those points just to stay within 12 of the Jazz. Utah didn't need such a stellar individual performance to beat the Grizzlies by double digits. The Pick: Jazz -5