Spurs, Bucks betting favorites for NBA Game 6 matchups on Thursday

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If it’s true that depth wins out the longer a playoff series lasts, then the San Antonio Spurs are due to break the home-team trend in their matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies.

With a chance to clinch in Game 6 on Thursday, the Spurs are listed as four-point betting favorites with a 190-point total against the host Grizzlies at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

However, star guard Mike Conley and the Grizzlies are 4-0 straight-up and 4-0 against the spread in their four home games against the Spurs this season, including two during this series. Moreover, the home team has won all nine games between the Western Conference teams.

San Antonio, which is 5-5 SU and 3-7 ATS in its last 10 playoff games when it was favored on the road, can trust that standout forward Kawhi Leonard will be a handful for Memphis defenders. Despite all the attention paid to him, Leonard still shot a respectable 48 per cent during the two games this series in Memphis.

The Spurs can also count on having one of the most diverse offenses and deepest benches in the NBA, with the likes of SG Patty Mills providing scoring when it’s needed.

Memphis, which is 10-6 SU and 10-6 ATS as a home underdog this season, will try to re-ignite its transition game and re-establish Zach Randolph as a post scorer after he was a non-factor in their Game 5 road defeat. The Grizzles were the NBA’s seventh-best defensive team, but have had trouble keeping San Antonio from generating three-point looks, allowing the Spurs to shoot 42 per cent from downtown.

The total has gone over in eight of the Spurs’ last 10 road games in April, according to the OddsShark NBA Database. The total has gone over in the Grizzles’ last seven home games where they were the underdog.

Also on Thursday, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, who also host a must-win Game 6, are listed as 1.5-point favorites against the Toronto Raptors with a 195-point total.

Milwaukee, which is just 2-7 in its last nine home games against Toronto, must develop a scoring threat other than the ‘Greek Freak,’ but SG Khris Middleton (illness) has been ineffective (7-of-21 shooting) in the past two games.

Toronto has trailed twice in the series, but increased physical play and the switch to a three-guard lineup with Norman Powell replacing C Jonas Valanciunas has helped them turn the series around. The Raptors, who are 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine road games, expect to have a healthy Kyle Lowry running their offense. Lowry soldiered through Game 5 with back stiffness.

The total has gone under in 11 of the Raptors’ last 15 games against the Bucks, including the teams’ last five games in Milwaukee.

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.

Cavaliers Shaky Betting Favorite Against Celtics on NBA Opening Night

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While the sample might not be big enough for a true trend, the Cleveland Cavaliers go into opening night with a dubious track record as a narrow favorite at home.

With some uncertainty over whether – or how much – LeBron James will play after missing most of the preseason with a sprained left ankle, the Cavaliers are listed as 3.5-point favorites against the Boston Celtics with a 212.5-point total in their NBA opening night matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Interestingly enough, the OddsShark NBA Database shows that the Cavaliers are 0-6 straight-up and against the spread since January 2016 when favored by four or fewer points in regular-season home games.

Both Boston and Cleveland had offseason turnover that included trading point guards, with Kyrie Irving heading to the East Coast while Isaiah Thomas moved to the shores of Lake Erie. On top of having their new running mates Irving and SG Gordon Hayward, Boston returns only four of its 10 most-used players from last season.

However, under coach Brad Stevens they are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road games against the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers, who were just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games of last season, have eight new players. James has had little practice time with the Cavaliers’ three new starters, PG Derrick Rose, SG Dwyane Wade and PF Jae Crowder, but with James’ talent and court sense chemistry can come pretty quickly (Thomas is out with a hip injury).

The total has gone over in four of the Celtics’ last five road games against the Cavaliers.

Later on Tuesday night, the defending champion Golden State Warriors are 9.5-point favorites against the Houston Rockets with a 230.5-point total in a matchup between the two highest-scoring teams from last season.

Due to new PG Chris Paul’s various injuries (bruised left shoulder, bruised left knee), the Rockets have had scarcely little time to see how Paul and SG James Harden will work together on the floor. If Paul is good to go in this one, though, he will face the Warriors’ Stephen Curry at each end of the court for the entire game.

The Rockets are 1-11 SU and 4-7-1 ATS in their last 12 road games against the Warriors, but any team that shoots threes as frequently – and often efficiently – as Houston is always a threat.

Golden State, with its big four of Curry, PF Kevin Durant, SF Draymond Green and SG Klay Thompson, almost always lays big-time points at Oracle Arena. While the Warriors infamously laid an egg in their home opener last season, they are 19-1 SU and 14-5-1 ATS in their last 20 regular-season home games with a closing line between 8.5 and 10.5 points.

The Warriors, unlike the other three teams in action on Tuesday, had minimal offseason turnover with 12 players returning from their championship team.

The total has gone under in six of the Rockets’ last nine road games against the Warriors.