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Pistons return as big underdogs to NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs

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On Sunday the Detroit Pistons will be making their first NBA playoff appearance since 2009 when they open their first-round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers as +800 underdogs on the NBA series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Pistons ended their seven-year playoff drought with a 44-win campaign, powered by a 10-4 straight-up stretch run that included a 3-1 SU record on the road, and a 112-110 season finale victory in Cleveland as 4-point underdogs.

The win improved Detroit to a surprising 7-2 SU in their past nine visits to Cleveland, but they enter Sunday afternoon’s Pistons vs. Cavaliers Game 1 matchup at Quicken Loans Arena as big 10.5-point underdogs.

The Cavaliers hit the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and are -2565 favorites on the series prices to dispatch Detroit for the third time in as many playoff meetings.

While Cleveland has struggled at times in regular-season dates with the Pistons, they have dominated in the postseason, winning eight straight against Detroit, covering in their past nine and amassing a 14-1 against the spread record in 15 meetings dating back to 2006.

However, the Cavaliers were far from a sure bet in the final weeks of the regular season, going 7-10 ATS in their last 17 games, and 4-5 ATS over their past nine home dates.

Also on Sunday, the Miami Heat play host to the Charlotte Hornets as 4.5-point favorites in a in Game 1 showdown of Southeast Division rivals.

Miami split their four-game season series with the Hornets, but claimed the division crown and the No. 3 seed in the East on the strength of a 10-6 division record, edging out Charlotte and the No. 4 Atlanta Hawks, who all finished the campaign at 48-34.

The Heat struggled to a 5-4 SU regular season finish, 4-5 ATS, but are 11-2 SU in their past 13 home dates.

Charlotte was one of the league’s best teams in the second half, posting a 23-8 SU record in their final 31 contests according to the OddsShark NBA Database, and travel to Miami as intriguing +125 NBA series betting underdogs.

The Hawks open their postseason on Saturday as 5.5-point favorites against the Boston Celtics, who also finished with 48 regular-season wins. Atlanta has won 10 of their last 12 at home, and seven of their past 10 against the Celtics, who are pegged as +170 underdogs on the series prices.

As well, the Toronto Raptors look to claim their first seven-game playoff series win in franchise history as they host the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 on Saturday as 6.5-point chalk. The  Raptors are strong -337 favorites against the Pacers on the series prices.

Sixers, Warriors Road Betting Favorites in Thursday NBA Action

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The Philadelphia 76ers may be facing a regression with the three-ball right as they go into a building where they have not won in a while.

The 76ers are 1.5-point road betting favorites against the Miami Heat with a 216.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in one of the three NBA playoff matchups slated for Thursday.

While the Heat’s series-tying win in the previous game left the 76ers a mere 17-1 straight-up in their 18 most recent games, a more apt sample might come from looking at the teams’ records against playoff-worthy competition.

Philadelphia, whose perimeter shooters including Robert Covington and J.J. Redick combined to go 7-for-36 on three-point shots in Game 2, is just 2-7 SU and against the spread in its last nine road games against Eastern Conference playoff teams. The Heat are 7-0 SU and ATS in their last seven games against Eastern playoff teams.

The OddsShark NBA Database points out that the total has gone over in seven of Philadelphia’s last 10 road games when it was the betting favorite. However, the total has gone under in four of the Heat’s last six home games against the 76ers.

After taking two wins on the road, the New Orleans Pelicans are three-point favorites against the Portland Trail Blazers on the NBA odds with a 216-point total. The Pelicans, who are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games as a favorite of 3.5 or fewer points, have won the backcourt battle so far in the series thanks to Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo.

The total has gone over in six of the Pelicans’ last eight home games against Northwest Division teams. The Trail Blazers have actually taken more shots in the series, so if their luck evens out, there’s a chance for a scorefest.

And the Golden State Warriors, who also have a 2-0 series lead, are three-point road favorites against the San Antonio Spurs with a 206-point total. It’s the first time in 18 years that the Spurs are a home underdog in April (the last time was not a playoff game), but they are much more effective team at home, where they are 9-0 SU and 7-2 ATS in their last nine matchups.

The Warriors are without the injured Stephen Curry, but still have forward Kevin Durant and guard Klay Thompson to help them turn around being 3-7 SU and ATS in their last 10 road games as a favorite of 3.5 or fewer points.

The total has gone over in six of Golden State’s last nine road games during the playoffs in April. However, the total has gone under in six of San Antonio’s last nine home games against Western Conference teams.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

NBA All-Star Weekend Odds: Slam Dunk, Three-Point, Skills Challenge

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One man having serious slam dunk contest buzz means better prices for the other three heading into NBA All-Star Weekend at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Dallas Mavericks rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. is a +170 favorite on the slam dunk contest odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (+220), Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. (+265) and Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (+400) are also in the running.

Smith has taken every opportunity this season to try to “posterize” some of the NBA’s biggest names, which might explain his low price. Mitchell was a late entry who has come on strongly for the surging Jazz and is capable of the upset. As the only forward in the contest, Nance could have a hard time getting the benefit of the doubt from the judges.

The three-point contest is unpredictable by nature but has some familiar faces with favorite Klay Thompson (+210) and defending champion Eric Gordon (+450). Devin Booker (+550), Paul George (+650), Wayne Ellington (+700), Bradley Beal (+750), Kyle Lowry (+1000) and Tobias Harris (+1100) complete the eight-marksman field.

Thompson is converting threes at a career-high 45.4 percent rate, so the Golden State Warriors guard will likely draw a lot of interest. However, Gordon outlasted him in 2017 and will also be in his former home arena. Ellington, who scores more than 75 percent of his points from beyond the arc, stacks up as the sleeper from deep.

The skills challenge lacks the cachet of the other two competitions, but is wide open due to its format that guarantees a guard vs. center matchup in the final. The Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams (+350) is the favorite, but it might be wiser to favor a younger competitor, such as the Denver Nuggets’ second-year guard Jamal Murray (+400), in an event that is staked on speed and shooting.

Al Horford (+500) has the best price of any big man, but the Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen (+700) might have the skill-set more suited for the event. Murray, Markkanen and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (+600) will each be out to be third international player in a row to win the event.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.