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Raptors, Hawks betting favorites ahead of Game 5 matchups

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The Indiana Pacers stunned the Toronto Raptors with a decisive 100-83 victory on Saturday, knotting their first-round playoff series at two games apiece. However, it is the Raptors that remain clear favorites to eventually knock off Indiana, sporting -434 odds on the NBA series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com ahead of Game 5 on Tuesday.

Expectations have been high for the Raptors, who posted a franchise-record 56 wins during the regular season and entered the postseason as a +500 bet to claim their first-ever Eastern Conference title, while Indiana trailed as +6600 underdogs.

But the ghosts of playoffs past continue to dog Toronto, which has never emerged victorious in a seven-game playoff series and rides a 2-7 straight-up run in the postseason into Tuesday night’s Pacers vs. Raptors betting matchup at Air Canada Centre.

Toronto’s all-star backcourt duo has been a massive disappointment in the series, with Kyle Lowry averaging 15.5 points per game while DeMar DeRozan has tallied just 13.3 points per game, including a dismal eight-point performance in the club’s Game 4 loss.

Conversely, Pacers forward Paul George has enjoyed a renaissance in the series, averaging 26.3 points per game, but was held to a series low 19 points in Game 4.

However, the trends favor the Raptors, winners of nine of their past 12 against Indiana, both SU and against the spread, including six of seven in Toronto, while the Pacers have never won a playoff series when seeded lower than sixth.

Also on Tuesday night, the Atlanta Hawks will be trying to bounce back from a pair of losses in Boston when they host the Celtics in Game 5 of their series as 7-point betting favorites.

The Hawks blew a 16-point lead in a 104-95 overtime loss in Game 4 to extend their current postseason losing streak in Boston to nine games.

But with a nine-game SU win streak in playoff matchups with the Celtics on home court, Atlanta is a -222 favorite to knock out their long-time rivals for the first time since 1958.

In other NBA playoff action, the Miami Heat will be gunning for their 17th SU home victory in their past 18 games against Charlotte according to the OddsShark NBA Database – and a 3-2 series lead – when they host the Hornets in Game 5 on Wednesday.

As well, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors will be without reigning MVP Stephen Curry on Wednesday when they look to close out their series against the Houston Rockets with a Game 5 victory. The Warriors are pegged as  9-point betting favorites.

Klay Thompson, Aaron Gordon betting favorites on Three-Point, Slam Dunk contest odds

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It’s been 10 years since NBA All-Star Saturday saw the Three-Point Contest winner keep his title, which is something to keep in mind when assessing the contenders this weekend.

Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors shooting guard, is at +110 odds to win the Three-Point Contest at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic is a heavy -155 favorite on the odds to win the Slam Dunk Contest now that defending champion Zach LaVine is done for the season with a knee injury.

Both events will be held on Saturday in New Orleans, on the eve of the all-star game.

Thompson is slated to have seven challengers, including one past champion, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (+400), who won in 2013. No player has had a three-year gap between wins since the contest’s creation, but Irving is also having a career year as a scorer and his price is tempting.

The Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon (+900) is one of the league’s most prolific perimeter shooters and probably has the most value on the board.

The Three-Point Contest field is rounded out by the Portland Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum (+800), the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry (+900), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young (+900), the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (+1100) and the Dallas Mavericks’ Wes Matthews (+1100).

Lowry being priced where he is might give pause. The point guard has always been more of a slasher than a pure shooter, but added the three-ball to his arsenal this season and is hitting 41.7 per cent of the time, well above his career 36.5% rate.

In the Slam Dunk Contest, it’s not necessarily Aaron Gordon and everyone else competing for second place. Gordon will have to face ratcheted-up expectations after his dazzling runner-up effort in Toronto in 2016. Phoenix Suns rookie Derrick Jones Jr. (+130) is a high flier and his status as something of an unknown could help improve his scores.

The Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan (+800), as a seven-foot center, doesn’t fit the profile of a dunk contest winner. The Indiana Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III (+900) fills out the board on the NBA betting lines for Saturday night.

 

NBA Christmas Day Slate has Warriors, Spurs Among Odds Favorites

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Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors typically manage to cover when they face a close line on the road. The Warriors are listed as 3.5-point favorites on the NBA betting lines against the Cleveland Cavaliers for their Christmas Day matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Warriors are finding their peak form and are 14-2 straight-up and 7-8-1 against the spread on the road this season. The smallest line in any of the ATS losses, though, was 8.5 points.

The main matchup will be Durant against LeBron James, who has helped Cleveland forge a home record of 15-2 SU and 10-6-1 ATS. The Cavaliers are trying to replace injured SG J.R. Smith (right thumb surgery). Star forward Kevin Love (left knee bruise) also has an injury issue, but only had to play 25 minutes during a blowout win on Friday.

The Christmas Day slate begins with the New York Knicks hosting the Boston Celtics in a pick’em contest. The key matchup will be at point guard – the Knicks’ Derrick Rose and the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas. Boston is 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 road games and has found a rhythm since C Al Horford returned from injury.

Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (right knee contusion) could have his minutes closely monitored to avoid aggravating his injury.

The San Antonio Spurs are favored by 7.5 points against the Chicago Bulls in a matchup headlined by two elite small forwards, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard and the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler. It is tough to go against San Antonio being 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS in December home games over the last two seasons, particularly with Chicago’s erratic perimeter shooting.

The Bulls are 4-6 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as a road underdog, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are favored by 4.5 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thunder PG Russell Westbrook is carrying his team which has been inconsistent at home, going 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS this season.

Minnesota has plenty of promise in C Karl-Anthony Towns and SF Andrew Wiggins, but awful defense has kept them from getting into the playoff picture. The Timberwolves are 1-9 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 road games against the Thunder.

And the availability of Chris Paul (hamstring) will weigh heavily on the lines for the Christmas nightcap between the Los Angeles Lakers and Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are also without PF Blake Griffin (minor knee surgery), but D’Angelo Russell and the young Lakers are struggling at 0-4 SU and ATS in their last four divisional games.

The Clippers are 10-0 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as the favorite against the Lakers.