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NBA Over Unders On Monday
By Dan Favale
Toronto Raptors (-6) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (+6)
Believe it or not, this over/under feels almost generous. The average total score for the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors has been 182.5 points—nearly 10 points lower than the offered touchstone. And, on top of that, the two squads have only combined to reach that total once.
It bodes well for the final score that DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry seemed to hit their strides in Game 4, or at least came close to it. Both need to play up to snuff on offense for this tilt to have a chance at hitting the over.
But the Bucks' three-point defense was still tenacious, and the Raptors' own three-point prevention was right there with it. The two teams combined for just 10 three pointers in Game 4. Given this, as well as how the rest of the series has unfolded, there's nothing you can reasonably say or find, as of right now, to make the over feel like a good decision.
The Pick: Under 192
Atlanta Hawks (-2.5) vs. Washington Wizards (+2.5)
This Atlanta Hawks-Washington Wizards has been, in a word, weird. The Hawks closed the season, over the final 31 games, as the worst offensive team in the league, ranking dead last in points scored per 100 possessions. They aren't especially good at spacing the floor, and the Wizards' best lineups, while slumping at the advent of the playoffs, have shown they can lock down for long periods of time.
Sounds like a good under series, even with Washington prone to nightly detonations, right?
The average score thus far has been 215. That mark has only been cleared in one game, but it's been close to getting eclipsed in all three. Only once, by the way, have they combined to score less than 212—and when they did, they totaled 210.
The reason isn't owed to especially efficient offenses. Both the Wizards and Hawks have had their moments, but neither of them are hitting an abnormal amount of threes or posting a top-10 playoff offensive rating.
Instead, this has more to do with the pace. Only the Golden State Warriors-Portland Trail Blazers series has been played at a faster speed. We're seeing extra possessions, more than we're used to, which can be parlayed into extra even when you're not efficient.
The Pick: Over 211.5
Portland Trail Blazers (+7) vs. Golden State Warriors (-7)
This is a fairly low over/under for a Golden State Warriors-Portland Trail Blazers game. Two of the first three tilts have hit a combined score of 230 or more. Only in Game 2, when the Warriors handed the Blazers an absolute beatdown did the final tally miss the 200-point plateau.
The sportsbooks are accounting for 3-0 symptoms. It's hard for teams, like the Blazers, to put forth spirited efforts when they are down 3-0. If they fall behind, we could see a complete mental breakdown that effectively ends the game early and sees the offense pack it in.
That's not the Blazers' overall style, though. And the Warriors will be in for a defensive adjustment if Kevin Durant returns. They themselves might have a 3-0 series hangover, which adversley impacts defensive stands.
Basically, bet on this being closer to a shootout than a defense-oriented matchup.
The Pick: Over 219.5
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