It's down to four: the Bills, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Packers. Who earns a Super Bowl spot? Who covers the spread? Over or under on the points? We answer each of those burning questions in this detailed NFL conference title game preview. Read this before you put any money down on the games!
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Monday Over Under NBA Playoff Bets
Hard Court Over Under Predictions
By Dan Favale
Offense ruled the day during the Indiana Pacers' Game 1 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday. There's no reason for us to expect that to change.
Both teams eclipsed the 100-point plateau rather easily, despite getting suboptimal performances from some of their role players. For Cleveland, we cannot expect Kyrie Irving to shoot 1-of-9 from downtown forever, nor should we anticipate Kevin Love being such a non-factor on the offensive end moving forward. For Indiana, we are going to get better performances from some combination of Thaddeus Young, Jeff Teague and Myles Turner; all of these three won't be forced to defer to Lance Stephenson as second in command for much longer.
Lower-scoring games would be a distinct possibility if either the Cavaliers or Pacers proved to be a stingy team during the regular season. They didn't.
The Cavaliers maintained the second-worst defense in the league, in terms of points scored per 100 possessions, down the stretch, and their transition defense ranked dead last. The Pacers, meanwhile, were middling to above-average on their best nights; that's not enough to slow down the Cavaliers' well-oiled attack.
Through five games now, playoff and regular-season tilts, the average combined score between Cleveland and Indiana is 228.8 points. They've only failed to reach the 210-point mark once.
Postseason basketball tends to be slower and grittier, but only if one of the two teams in question is prone to locking down and turning entire games into glorified slugfests. Neither the Cavaliers nor Pacers fit that bill.
The Pick: Over 209.5
Game 1 between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies wasn't pretty. Though the Grizzlies jumped out to a 13-point lead, the Spurs came storming back, outscoring them by more than 40 points the rest of the way.
We should not bank on things being much prettier for Game 2.
Sure, the Grizzlies should get more offense from Mike Conley and JaMychal Green. They might even be able to slow down the Spurs' efficient three-point shooting. But, overall, they cannot sniff San Antonio's balanced attack. It wouldn't be surprising to see them once again fail to eclipse the 90-point threshold.
The Spurs' balance, however, makes this a difficult pick. They don't play especially fast, but they're insanely efficient. They hung 111 points on the Grizzlies' defense in Game 1—and that was after they stalled out for much of the first quarter.
In the five games these two teams have thus far played, through both the playoffs and regular season, the average final score sits at 185.4—within four points of the current over/under.
Here's the thing: The Grizzlies and Spurs have only actually surpassed that total twice in five tries, with one of them being the last game, a score that was aided by the Grizzlies waiving an earlier-than-usual white flag. That these two teams hit the over in the first game makes us think they're overdue for a collective return to their roots.
If we lose this bet because they go for 190-plus combined points, we'll live with it.
The Pick: Under 189
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