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Game 3 - Clippers at Warriors

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Are the days of old school NBA playoff basketball over?

After watching the first 16 games of this year’s postseason, most would answer with an emphatic “yes.”

It’s probably too early to say that defense is optional but it’s fair to say that the offenses are ahead of the defensive units.

Those benefiting from this style has been bettors playing the ‘over’ on a regular basis. So far, the ‘over’ has produced a 12-4 record (75%) and that includes a 3-0 mark last night. I’m well aware that a couple of these winning tickets were helped with late pushes but the tempo and amount of 3-pointers being chucked is ridiculous.

Also, it doesn’t hurt when the refs are quick with the whistle and if these teams convert from the charity stripe, free points with the clock stopped are priceless for ‘over’ tickets. In last night’s Rockets-Trail Blazers matchup, the pair combined for 48-of-57 (84%) free throws. Portland posted a 112-105 win and the closing total was 215. You tell me if those freebies matter?

In tonight’s late-night battle between the Clippers and Warriors, my second question for you is how do you not bet the ‘over’ in this matchup?

Including the first two games in this series, Los Angeles has watched the ‘over’ cash in five straight and 10 of its last 12 games. During this span, the Clippers are averaging 113.5 points per game and more importantly, the defense hasn’t been that great (105.2 PPG).

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Golden State has watched the ‘over’ cash in five straight games and even though it was held to 98 points in Game 2’s loss to the Clippers, the club is averaging 114 PPG in its last five.

As I mentioned above, free throws are a huge factor and they’ve played key roles in each of the first two games in this series. Golden State and L.A. took 60 attempts in Game 1 and only managed to convert 41 from the free throw line. The Warriors held off the Clippers for a 109-105 victory and the total (211) barely cashed.

It was a much different story at the line in Game 2. The pair connected on 54-of-62 (87%) free throws, which includes a 32-of-35 performance by the Clippers. The biggest surprise there is that Blake Griffin (9-of-10) and DeAndre Jordan (7-of-8) hit 16-of-18 from the line. Los Angeles wins 138-98 and the game cashes with four minutes to spare in the fourth quarter.

Along with the ‘over’ being a cash-cow this postseason, the underdogs have been just as good. The pups have gone 9-7 straight up and 11-4-1 against the spread.

Tonight’s matchup could have you scratching your head because it will feature your first home ‘dog. Actually, the road team is favored in all three games on Thursday.

Los Angeles opened a 2-point road favorite for Game 3 and the total is hovering around 215 points. In the two regular season games played from the Bay Area, Golden State captured a 105-103 win on Dec. 25 and a 111-92 victory on Jan. 30 against the Clippers.

Three straight on Thursday?

VegasInsider.com handicapper Vince Akins has dug into his database and dug up some great trends to back the Warriors. He explained, “Golden State is a tough place to play, particularly in the playoffs where they are 6-1 SU as a home dog in the postseason. The Warriors committed a ridiculous 26 turnovers in Game 2 which did not help their cause. Fortunately, Mark Jackson’s team has bounced back from the sloppy play. In the last eight situations after they committed at least 20 turnovers, the club is 7-0-1 ATS in these games.”

Some ‘cappers like Akins like to use trends in their analysis while others use the eyeball test. One of them being our friends at Doc’s Sports and they believe L.A. is the superior team.

They said, “The Clippers’ loss in Game 1 was a fluke. They were off all night and Blake Griffin was in foul trouble and played only 19 minutes before fouling out. L.A. showed us in Game 2 that this is a real mismatch and maybe this team has first-game jitters or something. We expect more of the Game 2 Clippers in Thursday’s matchup.”

“We’re also aware that the Warriors won both meetings versus the Clippers at Oracle Arena this season. However, in one of those games Griffin got tossed while the Clippers were up in the fourth quarter and the other loss came on no days rest and L.A. didn’t have point guard Chris Paul in the lineup.”

Oddsmakers at Sportsbook.ag have the Clippers listed as a minus-310 favorite (Bet $100 to win $31) to win the series. You can back the Warriors at plus-255 odds (Bet $100 to win $255) to capture the best-of-seven battle and they have homecourt advantage.

TNT will provide coverage of tonight’s at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Game 4 is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com

  
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