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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.

NBA draft betting props set out with Ayton favorite on odds for Thursday

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With DeAndre Ayton taking all the value out of the first overall pick prop, bettors will have to look at the stock on other players in the NBA draft class of 2018.

Ayton, the 7-foot center from Arizona, is an overwhelming -2000 favorite to be selected first in the NBA draft on Thursday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Phoenix Suns hold the top selection and it’s seen as a given they will take Ayton, from right in their backyard.

Slovenian guard Luka Doncic is a nominal second favorite at +1200, with Michigan State power forward/center Jaren Jackson listed at +4000 and the field at +1200.

Suffice to say, bettors will need to spend the final hours on Thursday before the draft refreshing social media feeds for news about teams trading up in the draft order, since that could affect the NBA draft betting props on particular players.

Doncic, the Slovenian guard, offers some higher-risk, high-reward value at +240 to be picked at No. 2 or better (-220 for No. 3 or better). The chance of that prop hitting might rest on whether the Sacramento Kings trade down from the No. 2 spot. If the Kings hang on to it, it’s probably best to lay chalk on the -500 on Duke forward Marvin Bagley III going No. 3 or better (he’s +350 for No. 4 or later).

Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson, who slots in as the third-best big man on the board after Ayton and Bagley III, is +150 to be chosen No. 3 or better and -180 for No. 4 or later.

While the top of the draft is big man-heavy, NBA teams don’t follow the consensus of mock drafts, which means there is value in props on some of the highly-touted guards. Trae Young, who led the NCAA in scoring and assists at Oklahoma, is near even money at -110 to be picked seven or higher and could prove to be the right fit for an early-picking team such as the Orlando Magic, who own the No. 6 overall pick.

Oddsmakers love to dangle props on players with a lengthy college resume, who are coming back into favor as late first-round picks. Guard Jalen Brunson, who helped the Villanova Wildcats win two of the last three national championships, is priced at +115 to be a first-round selection.

And Duke guard Grayson Allen is a key to three props. Allen is -170 to go in the first round and +140 to be chosen in the second (or not at all). Where he falls might also be a key to the over hitting on the 5.0 total for the number of Duke and Kentucky players who go in the first round.

Allen could also secure the over on the 1.5 total on the number of seniors taken in the first round.

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.

Warriors, Rockets Road Betting Favorites on Friday NBA Odds

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Stephen Curry returning to the Golden State Warriors lineup means they will likely get most of the casual betting action, but their track record with tight lines on the road isn’t overly encouraging.

Up 2-0 in the series, the Warriors are 4.5-point road favorites on the NBA betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against the New Orleans Pelicans for Friday night, with a 232.5-point total.

While the Warriors are 18-2 straight-up and 9-11 against the spread in their last 20 games against the Pelicans, the OddsShark NBA Database shows they are just 8-8 SU and 7-9 ATS in their last 16 games on the road in the playoffs when they were favored by five or fewer points.

Defending NBA champion Golden State is also 4-13 ATS in its last 17 games following a straight-up win. The Pelicans, who are led by star forward Anthony Davis and also boast a steady veteran with point guard Rajon Rondo, are riding an impressive run where they are 10-1 ATS over their last 11 games.

The first two games of the series had an extreme disparity in free throw attempts, with the Warriors taking 59 foul shots to the Pelicans’ 20. An anticipation of the calls evening out is one reason for the high total, but it’s reachable, as 10 of the last 12 games in this matchup has finished over.

The total has gone over in 21 of New Orleans’ last 30 home games, including their four most recent.

The Houston Rockets are 3.5-point road favorites against the Utah Jazz on Friday with a 209-point total in Game 3 of a series that is tied 1-1. While Houston finished first overall in the NBA regular season, star guard James Harden and company are just 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.

In contrast, the Jazz, led by rookie guard Donovan Mitchell, are 6-2 SU and ATS this season when they are an underdog at home by 4.5 or fewer points.

The Rockets are also 5-3 SU and 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight road games within the Western Conference. Beating the Jazz on their home floor is doable but won’t come easily, meaning there’s a good possibility of a grinding, one- or two-possession game.

The total has gone under in five of Houston’s last six games after a loss against the spread. The total has gone under in six of Utah’s last eight home games when it was an underdog of 4.5 or fewer points.

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.