The Portland Trail Blazers may be seeing a ray of light right now, and that would be something for the Memphis Grizzlies to worry about. After losing seven straight games to Memphis, Portland was able to stay alive on Monday night with a 99-92 victory on its own home floor, using a 31-17 fourth-quarter to get it done. The Blazers trailed by 10 points with eight minutes left, but they were desperate, and they played like that kind of team. Memphis will continue to play without its starting point guard, as NBA playoff betting picks action gets underway at 9:35 PM ET at the FedEx Forum in Memphis.
Mike Conley was missing from the Memphis lineup on Monday, as he had surgery to repair bones in his face that were smashed as a result of an inadvertent elbow thrown by CJ McCollum of the Blazers. Because Conley is such a defensive stalwart, it is very difficult to replace him when it comes to dealing with the likes of Damien Lillard. And that was very much in evidence; Lillard was just a 27% shooter in the first two games of the series, but he has come back pretty strong, chalking up 22 points in Game at 3 and an outstanding 32 points in Game 4. He is getting a lot of support from McCollum, who has suddenly come alive, coincidentally after dealing Conley the accidental blow. McCollum has shot 61.5% in his last two games, and he is attacking the basket in a way which has made Memphis coach Dave Joerger very uncomfortable.
Memphis Grizzlies -5.5/Portland Trail Blazers +5.5
Over 190 points -110/Under 190 points -110
Portland is going to make a serious attempt at becoming that rarity – in fact, the only team in NBA annals to come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a series – they’re going to have to get a better performance out of LaMarcus Aldridge, their All-Star power forward who is likely to leave as a free agent after these playoffs are over. Aldridge has constantly been pushed away from his best spots by the Memphis defense, and once again was flustered on Monday, as he shot just 6-22. He is shooting only 34% for the series, and it is really hard to find any path to a winning formula when that is happening.
BetAnySports customers also cannot ignore the fact that Memphis has just been dominant over a long period of time against Portland. They had won seven straight meetings until the Blazers came up with that great fourth-quarter run in Game 4 of this series, and Portland has also most of the last six games it has played in Memphis. Now, on the other side of the coin, Marc Gasol has not had a tremendous time of it shooting out of the pivot for the Grizzlies, with just a 37.5% accuracy rate. Maybe there is a lot of upside there; maybe there isn’t. But along with Randolph, Memphis’ two big guys down low shot just 13-36 in the last game.
Don’t look now, but the Brooklyn Nets are very confident they may be able pull off a surprise in their Eastern Conference playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks. It would seem very unlikely, since the Hawks finished the season with a record of 60-22 and are the top seed in the East, while the Nets struggled with inconsistency all season long, finished just 38-44 and basically backed into the final conference playoff position. Obviously BetAnySports customers know there’s a big difference between being down 3-0 and 2-1, and Brooklyn is in a position where they can even things up on Monday night as they take on the Hawks in basketball betting action that is scheduled for 7 PM ET at the Barclays Center.
The Nets are trying to follow a similar formula to that of the Memphis Grizzlies, and that is no surprise since their coach is Lionel Hollins, who developed and promoted the idea of pounding the ball inside and getting physical. The Nets have to be able to play a physical game against Atlanta, because they are not going to be able to run with the Hawks. And they got some nice play from their people on the front line in Game 3, in which they won by a 91-83 score. Brook Lopez had 22 points and 13 rebounds, while Thaddeus Young gained some redemption. Young had an awful outing in Game 2, scoring just two points. Afterward, he made an apology to his teammates and vowed that it would not happen again. Well, he came out with a fire in his belly on Saturday, scoring 18 points with eleven rebounds. Still, Atlanta had a 50-30 edge in the paint, and their own center, Al Horford, has been calling on his teammates to find ways to get easier baskets. So Lopez had better be ready.
Atlanta Hawks -4/Brooklyn Nets +4
Over 195.5 points -110/Under 195.5 points -110
When you look at it, one of the keys to victory for Brooklyn in Game 3 was the play of Bojan Bogdanovic, who shook off two very disappointing outings and came up with 19 points out of the backcourt. Out of all the rookies in this year’s playoffs, he has the best single-game performance. The Nets got off to a 31-16 first-quarter lead, then, after the Hawks went on an 11-0 run, they scored 18 points in a row to take command. The Nets did almost no running at all; in fact, the only had two fast-break points on the evening. No, their game is to control the pace, and that did bother Atlanta, according to forward Paul Millsap, who scored 18 points but only shot 7-18 from the field.
BetAnySports patrons know that it was a lousy shooting night all around for the Hawks, who hit less than 36% of their attempts. Kyle Korver, the league leader in three-point shooting, was held without a triple for only the third time this season. And Atlanta’s bench shot just 8-27. In fact, the Hawks are just 39% over the first three games of this series, and one of the calling cards of this team on its way to the #1 seed was its ability to run the offense in a super-efficient manner, which included ball movement and high-percentage tries.
Look for the Nets to get more playing time to backup point guard Jarrett Jack, who had to play the last 16 minutes of Saturday’s game after Deron Williams left with what apparently is tendinitis. That may wind up being “addition by subtraction,” as Williams has not been productive, making just two of his 15 shots over the last two games.
April 25, 2015
The 2015 Major League Baseball season is in full swing with a 15 game line up on Saturday. As we start to look around at the listings of top games to watch as well as bet on the first game that stands out is the Chicago Cubs traveling to Cincinnati to take on the Reds.
The Reds enter this contest as a +104 betting option as they send Anthony Desclafani to the mound. Desclafani has been brilliant for the team this year in three starts going 2-0 with a .86 earned run average. After allowing two runs over six innings in his season debut, the Reds starter has allowed just four hits, zero runs over his next 15 innings.
Taking the mound for the Chicago Cubs is right-hander Jake Arrieta who hasn’t looked to bad himself this season. Over his first three starts, Arrieta has pitched 20.2 innings allowing just four earned runs. Now these team’s starters look to keep this contest under the over/under of seven runs. The two have combined to allow just six runs over their first six starts.
This matchup has been one sided over the past few seasons as the Cubs are just 17-35 against the Reds and just 13-27 over their last forty meetings in Cincinnati Reds. While this contest might feature the two hottest pitchers in baseball the other contest we will have our eyes on is the Detroit Tigers hosting the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians send Trevor Bauer to the mound while the Tigers will oppose them with Alfredo Simon. These two pitchers have combined to go 5-0 with a 1.35 earned run average to start the season. Despite Bauer’s success to start the season, the Tigers opened up as a -126 favorite in this contest on Saturday.
Simon will be making his second start of the season against the Indians after a 5.1 inning performance in their first meeting. The Tigers starter finished allowing three earned runs, two walks and just three strikeouts but the Tigers offense picked him up scoring eight runs. Since that contest, Simon has allowed just one earned run over his last 15.1 innings.
This series has been pretty much one sided of late as the Tigers are 35-16 over their last 51 games against the Indians. The Tigers have posted a 6-1 record the last seven times they have had umpire Chad Fairchild behind home plate.
Along with these two contests a few other contests that stand out from Saturday include the Washington Nationals taking on the Miami Marlins. The Nationals send Stephen Strasburg to the mound while the Marlins send out Tom Koehler. On paper based on stats this doesn’t look like a good contest but both of these starters are better than their records. The Nationals enter this contest a 1.5 run favorite as the Marlins are just 6-11 on the season.
The Dallas Mavericks were stuck for answers in Game 2 of their Western Conference playoff series against the Houston Rockets. And now they will have more of a puzzle to solve as they try to get things closer to even, returning to their home floor. With Houston up 2-0, NBA playoff betting action will get underway at 7:05 PM ET at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. And don’t forget that while this game is in progress.
Game 2 was tight for quite a while, and in fact the Mavericks led to briefly in the fourth quarter. But then Houston took control. One key man off the bench was Josh Smith, who filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in just under 26 minutes of action. And Dwight Howard, who was limited to 17 minutes in the first game because of foul trouble, asserted himself quite nicely, with a game-high 28 points and 12 rebounds. What does Dallas have in the way of answers? We’ll see, but they will have to do it without two members of their starting lineup.
Dallas Mavericks pick/Houston Rockets pick
Over 215.5 points -110/Under 215.5 points -110
One thing that is for certain is that Dallas has to get better offensive production out of its starters. In fact, the starting five for the second game shot a collective 32%. The good news, we guess, is that after turning the ball over six times in the first quarter, the Mavs only committed four the rest of the way.
But NBA bettors know this has to be a healthy team, and it is not at the moment. Chandler Parsons, the guy who came over from Houston with the big free-agent contract, is finished. His knee requires surgery, so the 37 minutes he put in during Game 1 will be his last action of the season. And Rajon Rondo, who was inept with just one assist and four personal fouls in Game 2 before being benched in the second half, ostensibly with a back injury, will be out for the duration as well. Coach Rick Carlisle has expressed that this is the last Rondo will be seen in a Dallas uniform, thus ending what BetAnySports patrons know was a rather tumultuous tenure.
Carlisle has been talking about getting some “energy” into the arena for this matchup. He implies that the late-arriving crowd tends to hurt his team, and that can’t happen here. What will help more for the Mavericks is to keep James Harden off the free-throw line. Harden was 13-13 from the charity stripe, and the goal on the part of Carlisle is to hold him under ten attempts from there. But the Rockets had advantages all over; they scored a whopping 60 points in the paint, and that is not a glowing endorsement of Tyson Chandler, who is normally an eraser in the middle.
At the moment, the Milwaukee Bucks are starved for offense, and there probably aren’t a lot of places they can get it. But they better find some answers in a hurry, or they are going to be “toast” in their best of seven series against the Chicago Bulls. A 91-82 defeat on Monday left Milwaukee down two games to none, and desperate for victory is this series shifts to the Bradley Center. Basketball playoff betting action will begin at 8:05 PM ET, and there will be plenty of fast and furious wagering after the tipoff, as BetAnySports customers get to play sides, totals and props through the magic of Live Betting Extra.
Milwaukee’s attack is rather disjointed. One of the people they were counting on to make a difference in this series, Giannis Antetokounmpo, has shot just 25% over the two games. Michael Carter-Williams has only five assists thus far, and Milwaukee has been ranked #26 in Offensive Rating in the NBA since his acquisition. That isn’t going to get it done here.
That Chicago could have come back from a nine-point deficit in Game 2 despite only having to fast-break points is an indication of their superiority in the half-court. And even though they managed only eleven points in the first quarter, they also forced Milwaukee into some bad shots, so they were down only five points at that juncture. The rest was fairly easy.
Chicago Bulls -2.5 vs. Milwaukee Bucks +2.5
Over 187 points -110/Under 187 points -110
Here’s a clue – most NBA teams can manage at least 50% shooting once they get into the paint area. Milwaukee hit just 18 of its 43 attempts inside the paint in Monday’s game, which is an atrocious 42%. It would be okay, we guess, if they had a hot hand from the perimeter, but they hit only 23.5% from three-point range as well. In neither of these two games has Milwaukee achieved 40% shooting. And it’s a shame, because they turned the ball over only four times on Monday.
Meanwhile, when it comes the ball-handling, Chicago has really been getting the job done. Some patrons have been amazed at the distribution they’ve shown; out of the 69 field goals they have scored in two games, 51 of them have come by way of an assist. That’s an extremely strong 74%.
Apparently Jimmy Butler is causing all kinds of matchup problems for the Milwaukee defense, and Jason Kidd must come up with some answer as to how to deal with him. Butler had 31 points in Game 2, and he shooting 54% over the first two games. The danger for the Bulls is that they might rely on the three-pointer too much. Actually it’s kind of unusual, because only 27% of their shots in the regular season were from downtown, but in the two victories over Milwaukee, they have shot triples 41% of the time. What happens if they start missing the mark in enemy territory?
The Boston Celtics have been a scrappy bunch in the first two games of their playoff series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But they are certainly outgunned. Will they have some better luck once they touch down in Beantown? We are going to find out on Thursday night, as NBA betting pick action in Game 3 of this Eastern Conference playoff series gets underway at 7:05 PM ET at the TD Garden.
So far the Cleveland starters have outscored Boston’s starting five to the tune of 176- 85. Boston has gotten some substantial contributions off the bench from Isaiah Thomas, the little spark plug who was acquired from Phoenix before the trade deadline. But it’s a case of accepting the good with the bad; Thomas has committed nine turnovers in the two games thus far, and has made only 12 of his 28 shots.
Boston has also sent Cleveland to the line far too many times – a total of 59 times in this series thus far, to be precise. Maybe they will get some better calls from the officials in front of the home crowd. That seems to be the pattern in the NBA.
Cleveland Cavaliers -4.5 vs. Boston Celtics +4.5
Over 203.5 points -110/Under 203.5 points -110
Boston’s starters were abysmal from the field in Game 2, hitting only 35%. Avery Bradley has been a liability for this team, making less than one third of his shots. And the starting forwards – Evan Turner and Brandon Bass – may just three out of 17 field-goal attempts. Help needs to come from somewhere other than Thomas, and perhaps Jared Sullinger, who played 22 minutes on Tuesday, will see his role increase.
You may have been amazed by the way Lebron James and Kyrie Irving took over matters for Cleveland in the fourth quarter of Game 2. They combined to score ALL 24 points for the Cavaliers in the final stanza, and Irving, who had never played in a post-season game before this week, has 56 points in the two games thus far.
Also, the Cavaliers have to be commended for taking advantage of free throw opportunities. They sank 24 out of 26, and also beat out Boston in the category of second-chance points 20-19.
Cleveland has taken 60 triples thus far, and that’s probably something to Boston’s long-term advantage, since the Celtics are fourth best in the NBA at defending the three-pointer. JR Smith has experienced a dry well, going just 1-8 from downtown in Tuesday’s game. What the Celtics may want to try doing is to turn up the volume on offense, as they did play at one of the fastest tempos in the league this season. But they only have 13 fast-break points in the two games. Go figure.
Take note that James has a perfect 13-0 record in series where his team gets out to a 2-0 lead. There’s not a lot of room in this impost for the Celtics, but if they can keep the Cavs under control from the perimeter and get a few more calls (or, rather, get a few LESS called against them), they have a chance to really make a game of it.
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