Celtics, Hawks, Jazz set as favorites for Friday’s NBA playoff slate

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The Boston Celtics and Isaiah Thomas fare well as a favorite against the Chicago Bulls, plus they’re fully staffed going into a potential clinching Game 6 on Friday.

The visiting Celtics are listed as two-point betting favorites against the Bulls with a 204-point total for Friday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Celtics are 10-4 straight-up and 9-5 against the spread in their last 14 games against the Bulls where they were favored.

Boston is 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS over its last 10 road games against the Bulls, but sticking to the present tense, Chicago is compromised in the point-guard matchup with Rajon Rondo (fractured right thumb) almost certain not to play.

The Celtics, who are 7-4 SU and 7-3-1 ATS in road games this season against Central Division teams, have improved their ball movement over the run of the series, showing why they earned the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. That’s enabled Boston to have a three-pronged attack with Thomas, SG Avery Bradley and C Al Horford (who had a game-high nine assists in Game 5).

The Celtics won Game 5 by 11 points even while shooting only 22.5 percent on three-pointers.

The Bulls, who are 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 home games against the Celtics, will need better three-point shooting than they have had for most of the series. Boston’s defense has made SF Jimmy Butler and PG Dwyane Wade earn everything they get. Chicago, which will start backup Isaiah Canaan in Rondo’s place, has had the edge in rebounding during the series.

The total has gone under in eight of Boston’s last 10 games when it was favored on the road; it has also gone under in nine of Chicago’s last 10 games as a home underdog, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

Elsewhere, trailing 3-2 in their series the Atlanta Hawks are listed as three-point favorites against the Washington Wizards with a 210-point total. While PG John Wall almost always helps Washington hang around in games, they are just 2-9 SU and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games as a road underdog. Bradley Beal has also given Washington a big edge in the shooting guard matchup against Atlanta’s Tim Hardaway Jr.

Over the last two seasons, PF Paul Millsap and the Hawks are 11-1 SU and 9-3 ATS in home games in April. With the backcourt leadership from PG Dennis Schroder, Atlanta has a good chance to stay alive.

The total has gone over in six of Washington’s last 10 road games against Atlanta, with one push. The total has gone under in seven of Atlanta’s last 10 games as a home favorite.

And in NBA history, when a series is tied 2-2 the Game 5 winner wins the series 85 percent of the time. The Utah Jazz, who are listed as 5.5-point favorites against the Los Angeles Clippers with a 192.5-point total, could add to that historic trend at home on Friday.

The Clippers aren’t necessarily DOA without Blake Griffin (toe), whose starting spot could be filled by Paul Pierce, as they are 9-8 ATS as a road underdog this season. But PG Chris Paul will probably need an extraordinary night to give the Clippers a chance.

The Jazz, who have C Rudy Gobert closing down the lane, are 9-1 SU and 7-1-2 ATS in their last 10 home games where they were favored by six or fewer points. Utah had six double-figure scorers in Game 5, as veterans Boris Diaw, Joe Johnson and George Hill soothed any jangled nerves in the team’s ranks.

The total has gone over in six of the Clippers’ last eight road games. The total has gone over in seven of the Jazz’s last nine home games.

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.