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Tuesday NBA Playoff Over Under Bets
Hard Court Over Under Comparisons
By Dan Favale
The Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks have now played each other five times this year, including both the regular season and postseason. The average combined score for these contests is 197.8 points—a hair over tonight's over/under.
On only two of those five occasions, though, have they actually eclipsed the 197-point mark, suggesting that this competition will continue to remain a defensive-first affair.
The reasoning his simple, and twofold.
Neither the Bucks nor Raptors play at a particularly frenetic pace. And neither of them passes the ball with insane frequency. They resort to a lot of one-on-one and drive-and-kicks. Those take more time to hash out, ticking precious seconds, and thus scoring opportunities, off the clock.
Granted, both the Raptors and Bucks are capable of detonating for triple-digit point totals on any given night. That's where the second part of our reasoning comes in. Each of these squads is playing very good defensive basketball at the moment. The Raptors finished third in points allowed per 100 possessions out of the All-Star break, while the Bucks propped up a top-eight fortress from March 1 on.
Mix in Kyle Lowry's and DeMar DeRozan's routine playoff slumps, and the under feels like a good bet here.
The Pick: Under 194
Through the five games the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls have now played this year, the averaged combined final score is 201.2—noticeably below tonight's 206.5 benchmark.
Should this be concerning? Only sort of.
The Bulls are not a good offensive team. They ranked in the bottom five of both three-pointers attempted and made during the regular season. But as we saw in Game 1, they are going to let those triples rip, even if they aren't going in.
Combine this style with the Celtics' own floor-spacing model, along with their struggles on the defensive glass, and it would take a lot for Game 2 to become a true defense-first affair. Isaiah Thomas will drag the Celtics to 100-plus points if he has to, and dating back to the regular season, the Bulls have been held to under 100 points just once in seven tries.
Anytime you get to a point where you can, within reason, pencil in both teams for 100-point nights, you're in a good position to work the over when it's set below 210.
The Pick: Over 206.5
The sportsbooks are clearly betting on an offensive explosion from the Los Angeles Clippers, which, on some level, makes sense. The anchor of the Utah Jazz's top tier defense, Rudy Gobert, is out. The Clippers should, in theory, be able to have a field day.
As we saw in Game 1, though, the Jazz's defense isn't yet ready to go down without a fight. They funnel guys into the paint by design when Gobert is on the floor. Now that he's gone, Gordon Hayward, Rodney Hood and Joe Ingles will all become more methodical and precise in the way they execute on the less glamorous end.
That doesn't bode particularly well for over hopefuls. And it most certainly isn't a good sign that these two teams have turned most of their games into a physically plodding affair.
In five matchups with each other this year, the Clippers and Jazz are propping up an average combined score of 188—more than 10 points below Tuesday night's touchstone. Knowing they have only ever even sniffed a 198.5-point plateau twice, it's perfectly reasonable to ride out this under.
The Pick: Under 198.5
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