Tuesday's Playoff Tips
May 13, 2014
By Brian Edwards
**Wizards at Pacers**
-- As of early this morning, most betting shops had Indiana (63-30 straight up, 44-48-1 against the spread) listed as a five-point favorite with a total of 180.5. The Wizards are +185 on the money line (risk $100 to win $185). For first-half wagers, the Pacers are three-point 'chalk' and the total is 88.
-- Washington (49-42 SU, 49-41-1 ATS) dominated the series opener and had its chances to win Game 2 in a spread-covering setback. However, the series was completely altered with back-to-back home losses over the weekend. Indiana took a commanding 3-1 series advantage by rallying from a 19-point third-quarter to win Game 4 by a 95-92 count as a 3.5-point road underdog.
-- Paul George was the catalyst in Sunday's comeback victory at Washington. George scored a playoff career-high 39 points and also pulled down 12 rebounds. He drained 7-of-10 attempts from 3-point range. Roy Hibbert's revival continued as he produced 17 points, nine boards and a pair of blocked shots. David West added 14 points and dished out a team-best eight assists.
-- In the Game 4 defeat, second-year guard Bradley Beal had 20 points, five rebounds and five assists. Trevor Ariza added 16 points, nine boards and three steals.
-- Washington has covered the spread in eight consecutive road games, winning outright in seven of those outings. The Wizards are 31-15 ATS this year.
-- In the first seven postseason games, Washington point guard John Wall committed only 14 turnovers, but he has coughed up the rock 12 times in the last two contests. The University of Kentucky product has been held below his regular-season scoring average (19.3 points per game) in all four games of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Indiana. His 15-point effort in Game 3 is his series high.
-- In Friday's Game 3 at Washington, Indiana took a 2-1 series edge by cruising to an 85-63 win as a five-point underdog. The Pacers hooked up money-line backers with a +185 payout. They outscored the Wizards 51-30 in the second half. The 148 combined points easily allowed 'under' supporters (183.5) to cash tickets. George scored a game-high 23 points.
-- VegasInsider.com's Chris David is bullish on the Wizards tonight. David said, "Since the All-Star break, the longest winning streaks the Pacers put together were five and four games. In those stretches, Indiana went 1-4 ATS and 1-3 ATS. Now everybody thinks the Pacers will cruise to their fourth straight win for the first time in close to two months. That could certainly happen but I don’t believe it will be as easy as most expect. Plus we should note that Washington hasn’t had a losing streak of more than four games in the regular season, both which occurred in November and December. I rarely like to bet on teams that come off bad losses, which was the case in Game 4 for the Wizards, but it’s hard not to take the points in Game 5. Washington has gone 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS on the road in the playoffs and let’s not forget that Indiana is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games as a home favorite."
-- The updated series price at Sportsbook.ag has the Pacers as -1600 'chalk,' with the Wizards available at +1000 on the comeback (risk $100 to win $1,000).
-- The 'over' is 48-43 overall for the Wizards, 8-3 in their last 11 games.
-- The 'under' is 51-39-3 overall for the Pacers.
-- The 'under' has cashed in five of the seven meetings between these clubs this year.
-- TNT will have the broadcast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Clippers at Thunder**
-- As of late Monday night, most books had Oklahoma City (65-28 SU, 49-41-3 ATS) installed as a 5.5-point home favorite with a total of 212.5. Gamblers can take the Clippers to win outright for a +190 return (risk $100 to win $190). For first-half bets, OCK is favored by three with the total at 108.
-- Los Angeles (63-30 SU, 49-43-1 ATS) evened this best-of-seven series Sunday afternoon by rallying for a 101-99 win. Nevertheless, OKC covered the number as a five-point underdog, while the 200 combined points easily stayed 'under' the 213.5-point total. Darren Collison came up huge in the fourth quarter when he scored 12 of his 18 points, including the go-ahead bucket on a run-out layup with 59.9 seconds remaining. Blake Griffin scored 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds, while Jamal Crawford (like Collison) also came off the bench to score 18 points. Chris Paul contributed 23 points, 10 assists and four steals while committing one turnover, but it was his defense against Kevin Durant in the final stanza that proved to be most important.
-- Scott Brooks's team has to be kicking itself for letting Game 4 at Staples Center slip away. The Thunder made its first seven shots and roared out to a 17-3 lead. They led 32-15 at the end of the first quarter and had a 16-point advantage early in the fourth quarter. Durant scored a game-high 40 points, but he committed eight turnovers. Russell Westbrook finished with 27 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Reggie Jackson was the only other OKC player in double figures with 10 points.
-- With the series tied at 1-1 going to L.A. for Game 3 this past Friday night, OKC outscored the Clippers 32-22 in the fourth quarter to capture a 118-112 triumph. Durant had 36 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Westbrook produced 23 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. Most notable, Westbrook committed only two turnovers and took 14 shots, which was 10 less than Durant. Serge Ibaka had 20 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field. Jackson and Caron Butler had 14 points apiece from off the bench. In the losing effort, Griffin scored a team-best 34 points, while Paul had 21 points and 16 assists without a turnover.
-- The Clippers are mired in a 2-7 ATS slump in their last nine games. They are 1-5 ATS in their last six road assignments.
-- OKC has taken the cash in four of the last five head-to-head meetings between these clubs, including the last three.
-- The 'over' is 51-41-1 overall for the Clippers, going 15-6 in their last 21 contests.
-- The 'over' is 49-44 overall for the Thunder.
-- Sportsbook's updated series price: Thunder -185, Clippers +160.
-- David is staying away from the side in tonight's Game 5 at OKC. Instead, he's looking at the total. David said, "I’m not going to beat up Oklahoma City too much for its collapse in Game 4 only because it was on the road and momentum is hard to stop. I do believe the Thunder will rebound at home but I’m not running to the window to lay points with a team that is just 3-3 at home in the postseason. However, it’s hard to back the Clippers at the betting counter knowing that they are 3-8 ATS in the playoffs. My lean for Game 5 would be the total. After watching the two teams combine for 200 in Game 4, the oddsmakers opened Game 5 at 212 ½, which is too much of an adjustment. The pace was decent on Sunday and both teams got to the free throw line but neither could make shots, especially from 3-point land. I expect that to change and trend bettors should note that the Clippers haven’t seen the ‘under’ cash in consecutive games during this year’s playoffs."
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Eastern on TNT.
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