Thursday's Tip Sheet
April 24, 2014
By Kevin Rogers
The underdogs continued to cash last night with the Bobcats, Mavericks, and Blazers all covering on the road, while Dallas and Portland won outright. Through the first 16 games of the postseason, underdogs own an impressive 11-4-1 ATS record, including a 6-2 ATS mark by Western Conference ‘dogs. The three series taking place tonight are all tied at 1-1 with the road team laying points in each contest.
Pacers (-2, 186) at Hawks – 7:05 PM EST – NBA TV
Series tied at 1-1
Indiana needed a huge second-half surge to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole against eighth-seeded Atlanta, as the Pacers knocked off the Hawks in Game 2 by a 101-85 count. Frank Vogel’s desperate squad outscored the Hawks, 53-33 in the final 24 minutes to even the series at a game apiece, while easily cashing as 7 ½-point home favorites. Now, the series shifts to Philips Arena, where the Pacers lost two of three times in their first round series to the Hawks last season.
The Pacers received a big boost off the bench in Game 2 from C.J. Watson and Luis Scola, who combined to score 30 points, making up for David West, Roy Hibbert, and Lance Stephenson who put up just 21 points combined. With the series headed to Atlanta, the Pacers will try to work on scoring more points as Indiana hasn’t broken the 91-point mark at Philips Arena in its last five visits. In the two losses in Games 3 and 4 of the first round last season, the Pacers were limited to below 38% shooting from the floor in each defeat.
However, the Hawks did have Josh Smith on the roster and a healthy Al Horford on the floor, which they don’t have this time around. Atlanta hasn’t shot the ball particularly well through the first two games of this series, coming off a 39% effort in the Game 2 loss, while its six-game ATS winning streak was snapped. The Hawks started the season as a solid play when listed as a home underdog, but over the last nine tries in this role, Atlanta has covered only three times.
Since winning and covering at Atlanta on February 4, the Pacers own a dreadful 2-11 ATS record as a road favorite in the last 13 games. In this span as an away favorite of 5 ½ points or less, Indiana possesses a 2-7 SU/ATS record, which includes an overtime victory at Detroit in which the Pacers erased a 25-point deficit. Last postseason, the Pacers put together a 3-7 SU and 4-6 ATS record on the highway, while being listed as a road favorite in the playoffs for the first time since Game 4 of the opening round in 2012 at Orlando.
Thunder (-2, 190) at Grizzlies – 8:05 PM EST – TNT
Series tied at 1-1
Oklahoma City cruised past Memphis in the series opener, but the Grizzlies fought back to grab Game 2 in overtime and even the series up at one game apiece. In spite of Kevin Durant’s miraculous fall-away four-point play late in regulation to creep the Thunder closer, the Grizzlies pulled out a 111-105 triumph to cash outright as seven-point underdogs. The win snapped a three-game skid at Chesapeake Energy Arena, as Memphis will look to rely on its starting five to carry them again in Game 3.
Following a poor Game 1, the frontcourt duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol bounced back in Game 2 by combining for 41 points, while Mike Conley dished out 12 assists and scored 19 points. Durant and Russell Westbrook missed 33 shots between them, as Westbrook misfired on six of seven three-point attempts. Memphis has won five of its last seven playoff games against Oklahoma City since last season’s second round victory, while the Grizzlies have won six of their past seven games overall since April 9.
In the last 11 games as a road favorite since the start of February, the Thunder has covered only twice, while losing six of those contests outright. OKC has split a pair of visits to FedEx Forum this season, which includes a 90-87 defeat as a one-point underdog on January 14. Since blowing out the Rockets in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs last season, the Thunder is just 2-9 ATS the last 11 postseason games, while going 1-6 ATS the last seven playoff contests against the Grizzlies.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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