We’re going back to the Bay Area for Game 5 of the NBA Finals — a series that’s once again tied. Here’s a complete breakdown of Monday’s matchup, plus our own betting picks for Game 5 of the Finals.
NBA Finals Game 5: Point Total Pick
Ironically enough, the series over/under has trended the exact direction this series has — back-and-forth. Game 1 was an over, followed by under, then over again, and under last time out. This trend makes picking the Game 5 total rather dicey. Here’s where the best online sportsbooks currently stand on it:
|Over 212 points||-110||-110|
|Under 212 points||-110||-110|
We pretty much know Steph Curry is having himself a night come Game 5. He’s been a machine this whole series long — proving himself to be the court’s best player whenever he’s on it. Curry poured in 43 points in Game 4 to help Golden State avoid an elimination game here. His series average is now a whopping 34.3 points per game (on 50 percent shooting from the field and 49.3 percent from 3-point range). All this against a historically-good Celtics defense too.
We also believe Curry will, finally, get some help from his supporting cast — which has largely been dormant after four games. That’s just the benefit of returning home; role players are more likely to contribute than when on the road.
But on that note, we’re actually quite confident Boston will bring their A-game to San Francisco. Why? Because this C's team has yet to lose two games in a row in the postseason. Similarly, we expect a bounce-back performance, which should help bring this game into over territory.
NBA Finals Game 5: Spread Pick
The spread has hovered around three and four points every NBA Finals game so far — and this one is no different. And to no surprise, the top NBA betting sites have pegged the Warriors as the spread favorites:
|Golden State Warriors (-3.5)||-110||-110|
|Boston Celtics (+3.5)||-110||-110|
Draymond Green is the X-factor of Game 4, and this series, for that matter. More times than not, he’s the engine that makes this team go. His ability to guard anyone and man the rim allows the Dubs to play its small-ball offense. However, he’s now had back-to-back games to forget (a combined four points in each). It got so bad that his mother was tweeting her dismay at his performance. We’re not done, though. It also got so bad that Steve Kerr completely yanked him from Game 4 deep into the fourth quarter— a move that ended up working to perfection.
Though, that’s not a game plan we’d bet works again. The NBA Finals has become a best-of-three series, and we have a tough time seeing the Dubs winning it if Green remains AWOL. As we said before, a return home should remedy some of those issues (the Boston crowd did target him, after all), but not all of ‘em. This tough-nosed Celtics team is getting to him, and that’s not going away all of a sudden.
We’re picking the Celtics to cover the spread. More than anything else, we just think Game 4 will go down to the wire — and if so, that benefits the Boston spread more, especially if they steal the game outright, which we cover next.
NBA Finals Game 5: Moneyline Pick
|Golden State Warriors||-170||-170|
We’ve spent this whole article speaking about Golden State — Curry’s heroics and Green’s disappearing act. But we’re turning our attention to the C’s as we make our Game 5 pick.
Just as we expect Curry and Green’s playing trends to continue, we believe the same of Jayson Tatum. And, of course, that’s a downward-spiraling trend. Despite the somewhat cringy “homages” to Kobe Bryant, Tatum has looked like the furthest thing from the Black Mamba while on offense. Tatum is averaging a subpar 22.3 points per game this series.
On the surface, Tatum’s struggles are shooting. He’s hitting a paltry 33.4 percent of his shots — a figure that’s been memed online because it’s actually lower than Curry’s entire point average during the Finals. But more than just missed shots, it’s a lack of aggression that’s stopping Tatum in his tracks. Between not finishing at the rim or passing up wide-open shots, Tatum’s lack of confidence is obvious.
Inner confidence issues rarely get fixed in the middle of a seven-game series, little less the Finals, where everything is magnified. The greats like Michael Jordan and the aforementioned Kobe could probably do it, but a fringe superstar like Tatum won’t. Boston isn’t winning this game on the road with a so-so Tatum. No way. They’ll compete hard, as they’ve done throughout the series, but Golden State still takes the game.
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