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Monday's Playoff Tips

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Heat (-7 ½, 188) at Bobcats – 7:05 PM EST – TNT

Miami leads series, 3-0

In the least surprising outcome so far in the NBA playoffs, the Heat are one win away from sweeping the upstart Bobcats and advancing to the second round. Charlotte has still never won a playoff game in its 10 seasons in the league (0-7), as Miami used a 21-6 run at the end of the first half in Saturday’s Game 3 triumph to take the commanding 3-0 series edge.

LeBron James scored the final nine points of the first half in Saturday’s 98-85 victory to easily cash as 4 ½-point road favorites for the 19th straight win over the Bobcats since 2010. After failing to cover in Game 2 as double-digit favorites, the Heat improved to 2-1 ATS through the first three games of this series, while covering all three contests at Time Warner Cable Arena this season. Only three Heat players scored in double-figures in Game 3 (led by James’ 30), while Miami and Charlotte combined to score 32 points in the final quarter to finish ‘under’ the total of 187 ½.

Following the loss in Game 3, the Bobcats dropped to 5-2 ATS the last seven games in the home underdog role. The ‘under’ has hit in four of the past five contests at Time Warner Cable Arena, while limiting four opponents in this span to less than 100 points. Miami has drilled the ‘under’ in four of the last six road contests, as five of those opponents were held to 98 points or fewer.

Hawks at Pacers (-7, 186 ½) – 8:05 PM EST – NBA TV

Series tied at 2-2

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Atlanta had an opportunity to throw a knock-out punch on top-seeded Indiana in Game 4, but the Pacers hit a pair of three-pointers in the final two minutes to seal a 91-88 victory on Saturday to even the series at two apiece. Paul George and David West drilled three-pointers to overcome a 10-point deficit and save Indiana’s season, while the Pacers covered as 2 ½-point favorites to regain the home-court advantage.

Indiana’s defense stepped up in the second half, limiting Atlanta to 40 points and 35% shooting from the floor to square the series. Following an ‘over’ in the series opener, each of the last three games between the Hawks and Pacers have finished ‘under’ the total. Frank Vogel’s club will look to turn around its pointspread problems as a home favorite, posting a 2-10 ATS record the last 12 when laying points at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Since April 4, the Hawks own a 9-3 ATS record the last 12 games, while cashing in five of its past six contests away from Philips Arena. However, Atlanta has the odds stacked against them tonight, at least according to last season’s 4-1 SU/ATS record by home teams in Game 5 of a playoff series tied at 2-2. Included in that dominating mark by home clubs was the 106-83 rout by the Pacers over the Hawks in Game 5 as seven-point favorites, as Indiana would eventually win the series, 4-2.

Spurs (-4, 203) at Mavericks – 9:35 PM EST – TNT

Dallas leads series, 2-1

The top overall seed in the NBA needs to get on track on fast, as San Antonio looks to even up its first round series with rival Dallas tonight. Vince Carter’s three-pointer at the buzzer in Game 3 gave Dallas its second straight win over San Antonio following 10 consecutive losses to the Spurs in a 109-108 triumph as 3 ½-point underdogs. Both teams shot over 50% from the floor, while Monta Ellis paced the Mavericks with a game-high 29 points.

San Antonio has lost consecutive games for just the second time since the end of January, as one of those losing streaks came at the end of the regular season when the Spurs had nothing to play for. Gregg Popovich’s team has failed to cover a game against the Mavs in this series, while posting a 3-7 ATS record since a 19-game winning streak. Eight times the Spurs have allowed at least 100 points since that hot streak, while allowing at least 109 points in back-to-back contests for the first time all season.

Dallas enters tonight’s action losers of six straight games off a home victory dating back to March 11, but Rick Carlisle’s team has covered three consecutive times in the role of a home underdog. The Mavs have eclipsed the 100-point mark in each of the last 10 games at the American Airlines Center, resulting in an 8-2 record to the ‘over.’

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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