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Over Under NBA Playoff Bets On Friday
Anyone hoping this series would eventually unfold in a way more favorable to the Los Angeles Clippers has been sorely disappointed. The Utah Jazz have, predictably, turned this best-of-seven bout into a sloth-paced affair that emphasizes half-court sets and dwindling shot clocks.
That's why the average score of this series checks in under 200, at 198, even though Utah and Los Angeles are two of the more offensively efficient teams in the league. Neither side is playing with any pace. John Wall has more made baskets in transition (16) than the entire Utah Jazz team for crying out loud.
For Utah, this is by design. For Los Angeles, it's a different story.
The Clippers aren't the world's fastest team anymore, but they have trouble getting out on the break and really getting into their offense in super quick fashion when the Jazz's defense has been so suffocating. Joe Ingles, Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood have done a magnificent job of dissuading a lot of off-ball action, specifically for J.J. Redick, which is how the Clippers get a lot of their opportunities early in the shot clock.
And yet, even knowing all this, an over/under that doesn't sniff 195 feels low for this series. In the wake of Blake Griffin's season-ending toe injury, both the Clippers and Jazz are playing small ball. Those lineups are typically conducive to higher scores, as we saw in Games 3 and 4, because they produce more threes.
No one's saying this is going to be a barn burner. But we are saying one of these team's should crack 100. And given how close the scores have tended to be in this series, that makes the over a fantastic bet.
The Pick: Over 193
Chicago Bulls (+2) vs. Boston Celtics (-2)
The Chicago Bulls have yet to eclipse the 100-point benchmark since Rajon Rondo suffered a fractured thumb in his shooting hand. This is a big deal in the grand scheme of over/under bets. It's harder to bank on two teams eclipsing 200 total points when one of them is struggling to even sneak past 95.
Fortunately for us, the Boston Celtics have picked up a lot of the slack since subbing Gerald Green into the starting lineup for Amir Johnson. They get up and down the floor a bit quicker, they get into their offense faster, they shoot more threes, and they're generally just more difficult to defend—all of which leads to higher scoring totals.
Their Game 5 victory was a perfect example of how the mere threat of what five-out lineups can do is so dangerous. The Celtics attempted 40 three-pointers, but they only made nine. The Bulls, meanwhile, made nine themselves, only it came on 26 shots—14 less than Boston.
The Celtics still scored 108 points. So even if they're not on, they will find ways to score. And that, in turn, should be enough prop up a 200-plus point final score.
The Pick: Over 203.5
This series has caught a lot of people off guard because of the routine way in which it's totaling more than 200 points.
Through the first five games, the average final score between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards has been 211.8—just a hair higher than Friday's over/under. What's more, before the Wizards' 103-99 victory over the Hawks in Game 5, not a single contest saw the two squads total less than 210 points.
This late in the series, Washington and Atlanta have figured out how to guard one another. That factors into how many points either side ultimately scores. The deeper you go, in theory, the smaller the final tallies should get.
But the Hawks and Wizards are also playing at the second-fastest pace in of the postseason right now, right behind the Golden State Warriors. When that many possessions are being generated per 48 points—a little less than 104—it doesn't take much for the final score to balloon well into the 200s.
With this being a crucial Game 6, we're banking on both offenses playing up to snuff, which suggests the over is the way to go.
The Pick: Over 210
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