Let the odds roll where they may, but may that be in our favor today and everyday. For we enter into the ring each morning with renewed hope, and it hurts the soul to leave with that hope crushed. Grant us the control to know when a bet has lost, for the temptation to jump into a hole that never stops is often too strong to stop by ourselves. Bring us towards the light that shines on the winners, and deliver us from the misfortune of being wrong without end. Amen.The Gambling Prayer
What happened in yesterday’s games?
The Raptors rolled against a Nets team without Joe Harris. Toronto won each quarter, and they won all but the third by at least seven points. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Serge Ibaka combined for 68 to lead the way, and VanVleet hit a half-court three to push the lead to fifteen at the half. Brooklyn never recovered. Tyler Johnson led the Nets with 23, but the team as a whole struggled to score against a dominant Raptors defense. Toronto is now up 3-0, and they’ll have the chance to close things out tomorrow.
The Jazz brutally murdered the Nuggets in Game 3 to take a 2-1 lead. They won each quarter by at least five points, and Denver was never close. Mike Conley starred in his return with 27 points and seven threes, and Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell combined for 44 points. Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 15 in a terribly disappointing effort. Denver was dominated on both sides of the floor, and they’ll need to make some major adjustments heading into tomorrow’s crucial Game 4.
The Celtics fought off Jayson Tatum’s foul trouble to beat a hard-working but overmatched Sixers team that shot a brutal percentage from the floor. Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker both topped 20 points to pace the Celtics, who pulled away down the stretch to all but end the series. Joel Embiid turned in another special effort with 30 and 13, but his teammates shot 28% from the floor and 21% from three. Embiid wasn’t particularly efficient himself, only making 7 of 20 field goal attempts. It was a nice effort from Philly after a Game 2 blowout, but their season – which started with title hopes – will be over after four or five first round games.
The Clippers regained control over the Mavs in their first round series. Kawhi Leonard dominated with 36 points, 8 assists, and 9 rebounds, and six of his teammates joined him in double figures. Paul George struggled from the field again, finishing with 11 points, but he almost posted a triple-double in a solid all-around effort. Kristaps Porzingis led the Mavs with 34, and Seth Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr both scored 22. The loss got worse when Luka Doncic went down late with a sprained ankle. It’s not clear how ready he will be for Game 4 tomorrow, but there is hope that he will be available.
Now onto the picks.
Yesterday’s Results –
It was a solid day until I started betting hockey. The Blues are dead to me, but that has nothing to do with these results. I was a few bucks up on basketball for the second day in a row. Let’s turn that into some bigger success today.
Playoff Record: 16-14 on individual bets, 0-4 on parlays -33.32
Total Record: 58-61-1 on individual bets, 5-33 on parlays, -95.85
Today’s picks –
- Bucks -13.0 (-105)
The Bucks beat the Magic by 15 in Game 2 despite getting very little from Khris Middleton. That changes today, and Middleton plays like the All-Star he is on the way to a big win. Aaron Gordon and Michael Carter-Williams are still out for Orlando.
- Pacers ML (+180)
This is the last stand of the Pacers. They’ve been close twice in this series before falling off down the stretch. That changes today, and they keep their playoff hopes alive for another few days.
- Rockets -2.5 (-105) – LOCK OF THE DAY
The Rockets beat the Thunder in Game 2 despite a poor shooting night from James Harden. He’ll be out looking for blood today, and he finds it against a Thunder team that has yet to find its playoff rhythm.
- Trail Blazers ML (+280)
At some point, Portland is going to play a good offensive game in this series. They’ve been held below their seeding games scoring average by 32 points per game so far in this series. The Lakers deserve credit for their defense, but that’s simply unsustainable. The Blazers might not go for 125, but they will score more. Against a LA team that’s still struggling offensively, that will be enough to take back the series lead.
- Nikola Vucevic Under 23.5 points (+120)
Vucevic averaged 19.5 points per game during the regular season. He averaged 20.1 points per game during the eight seeding games. He’s scored 67 (or 33.5 per game) in two playoff games so far. At some point, he’s going to cool off.
- Khris Middleton Over 2.5 threes (+105)
- Khris Middleton Over 32.5 points, assists, rebounds (EVEN)
- Khris Middleton Over 21.5 points (+115)
Middleton was arguably the most efficient high-volume scorer in the league this season. He’s going to break out at some point in this series, and I’m going to keep betting on it until it happens.
- Myles Turner Over 1.5 threes (+180)
Turner made 1.4 threes per game, and he hit three in Game 2. The value is worth a chance here.
- James Harden Over 4.5 threes (+115)
Harden is due for a bigger game after he struggled from the field on Thursday.
Good luck everybody. All bets on my end are $5 unless otherwise noted.