Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:04 AM

Tuesday's Playoff Tips

Playoff Results | Playoff Projections

Eastern Conference First Round – Game 1 – Raptors lead 1-0
Washington at Toronto (NBATV, 7:05 p.m. ET)

After dropping an NBA-worst 10 consecutive Game 1s in the playoffs, Toronto finally snapped that streak last Saturday as it defeated Washington 114-106 in Game 1 as a 7 ½-point home favorite. The line was holding -8 all day and most bettors likely earned a push and that only occurred because Wizards point guard John Wall scored a meaningless bucket with second remaining.

Washington led 59-56 at halftime and Toronto recaptured the lead (86-85) heading into the final quarter. The Wizards went cold midway through the fourth quarter and the Raptors pushed the lead to as many as 12 points.

The difference in Game 1 was 3-point shooting and bench scoring. The Raptors finished 16-of-30 (53%) from distance while Washington only connected on 38 percent (8-of-21) from 3-point land. Backup forward Mike Scott posted 14 points for the Wizards but the club only received a total of 21 from its reserves.

Meanwhile, Delon Wright contributed 18 points for Toronto off the pine and the reserves posted 40 points in Game 1. Those numbers were a little surprising considering the Raptors didn’t have Fred VanVleet (shoulder) available for Game 1 and he’s been solid (10.1 PPG, 3.2 APG) this season. He’s listed as ‘questionable’ for Game 2.

The Raptors snapped the Game 1 losing streak on Saturday and now they face another glaring mark on Tuesday as the team has never lead a playoff series 2-0 in franchise history.

Oddsmakers opened Toronto as an eight-point favorite and the number has dropped to as low as 6 ½ on  Monday but most shops are holding -7 on Tuesday morning. The total was sent out at 215 and has held steady. The Raptors opened as -650 favorites to win the series but they’ve only moved to -750 after the win, which shows you that the books believe the Wizards can compete in this series. The takeback on Washington is listed as high as 11/2 odds (Bet $100 to win $550).

Including Saturday’s win and cover, the Raptors are only 11-7 straight up and 5-12-1 ATS in their last 18 playoff games as home favorite. While that angle could have you leaning Washington, NBA expert Kevin Rogers is hesitant to back the Wizards.

He said, “Washington is riding a horrific 1-8 run away from D.C. since March 10 with the only victory coming in overtime at Boston on March 14. The last time the Wizards won outright as a road underdog came on February 27 at Milwaukee, as Washington owns a 1-7 record both SU and ATS record in its past eight away playoff contests.”

Considering both clubs haven’t been sound investments in the playoffs, the total might capture your interest in particular the ‘over.’

The high side (214) cashed Saturday and the Raptors have seen the ‘over’ go 5-1 in their last six home playoff games when favored. Another trend supporting the ‘over’ is Washington’s defensive tendencies in the playoffs on the road. In their last eight playoff games as visitors, the Wizards have allowed 116.2 points per game which has led to a 7-0-1 ‘over’ mark.

Game 3 is scheduled for Friday at the Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.

Eastern Conference First Round – Game 1 – Celtics lead 1-0
Milwaukee at Boston (TNT, 8:05 p.m. ET)

Of the eight games that took place over the weekend, the opening matchup between the Celtics and Bucks delivered not one but two “Bad Beats.” Boston captured a 113-107 Game 1 overtime victory against Milwaukee and earned the cover as a four-point favorite but getting to the extra session looked improbable.

After the Bucks tied the game 96-96 on a Malcolm Brogdon 3-pointer, the Celtics guard Terry Rozier stepped back and hit what look like a game-winning bomb from distance. Down 99-96 with .5 seconds left, the Bucks managed to inbound and barely execute a 3-pointer from Khris Middleton.

If that shot or the previous attempt from Brogdon rim out, the Celtics would’ve won in regulation and bettors on the Bucks (+4) would’ve cashed. Sure enough, Boston outscored Milwaukee 14-6 in the five-minute overtime and ended up covering the spread plus the ‘over’ (199 ½) came in as well.

Fast forward to Game 2 and the oddsmakers opened Boston -3 and as of Tuesday morning, the early action is calling for a split in this series with the number dropping to 2 ½. The total also dropped from an opener of 199 to 197.

Including Sunday’s outcome, Milwaukee is just 19-23 SU and 22-19-1 ATS on the road this season while Boston owns a solid 28-14 SU and 23-17-2 ATS mark at TD Garden.

Even though the Bucks had a shot to win Sunday, Kevin Rogers noted that backing Milwaukee on the road is a dicey proposition for bettors.

“Following Sunday’s tough-luck overtime loss at Boston, the Bucks dropped to 1-7 SU in their last eight games in the role of a road underdog. The only win in that span occurred at Golden State as the Warriors played without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson on March 29,” he said.

“However, since the start of the 2016 playoffs, teams off an overtime win have slumped to a 2-5 record in the next contest, so Milwaukee may be worth a look, especially with the line dropping in its favor following Game 1.”

Since head coach Brad Stevens took over the Celtics, the club has gone 8-8 SU and 10-6 ATS at home in the playoffs. If you take out games against LeBron James, that record improves to 8-3 both SU and ATS.

With Giannis Antetokounmpo joining the Bucks in 2013, the team is 2-7 SU and 4-5 ATS on the road in the playoffs. The glaring stat is the Milwaukee offense, which has been held under 100 points in seven of those nine games.

Even though the pair combined for 220 points in Game 1, this was an ugly contest to watch. The two teams combined for 35 turnovers and neither club shot well from the field. The ‘over’ is on an 8-2-1 in the last 11 matchups in this series, but the total listed in the 190s seems justified tonight.

Game 3 is scheduled for Friday from Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Western Conference First Round – Game 1 – Pelicans lead 1-0
New Orleans at Portland (TNT, 10:35 p.m. ET)

The late-night playoff tip on Tuesday isn’t an easy handicap and a lot of bettors will use the “Zig-Zag Theory” when handicapping this game and take Portland. However, make a note that this trend hasn’t been great over the last few postseasons according to VI expert Marc Lawrence.

The Trail Blazers face a 0-1 hole and opened as a six-point favorite for Game 2 over the Pelicans. The number is sitting at 6 ½ at a couple books as of Tuesday morning and the total was adjusted from 212 ½ to 214.

New Orleans was one of two underdogs to capture an outright victory this past weekend as it earned a 97-95 decision over Portland in Game 1 as a five-point underdog. The Pels were listed as high as 2/1 on the money-line and the ‘under’ (217 ½) was never in doubt.

As expected, the Trail Blazers had no answer for Anthony Davis. The New Orleans All-Star finished with 35 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. What was more surprising is the backcourt of Jrue Holiday (21 points) and Rajon Rondo (17 assists) dominated the ball and made Portland’s top pair look invisible on their homecourt.

Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum combined to shoot just 13-of-41 from the game and most of that damage came in the second-half as they started 1-of-15 in the first 24 minutes. Portland trailed 21-18 after the first quarter and 45-36 at the break. The Blazers did put 59 points on the board in the second-half but it wasn’t enough to overcome Davis and the veteran guards.

Including Saturday’s win, the Pelicans have now won and covered six straight games and four of those wins took place on the road. Since the All-Star break, New Orleans has gone 9-3 both SU and ATS as a visitor and two of the three losses were by five points or less.

Portland sits at 28-14 SU and 22-17-3 ATS at home this season after the Game 1 setback and that includes a 16-4 run over its last 20 games. The Trail Blazers have only lost back-to-back home games one time in 2018.

While the stats and trends can certainly be argued both ways, VI NBA expert Joe Nelson stated his case for Portland to even up the series in Game 2.

He explained, “The Blazers are the far superior defensive team in this matchup and this is a daunting scheduling spot for New Orleans, technically a fifth road game in 12 days and a clear letdown spot after the first playoff win for Anthony Davis and company.”

“Portland had a grueling close to the season as well battling through a difficult early April road trip and then having to play San Antonio, Denver, and Utah in the final three games with high stakes. The flat Game 1 showing wasn’t a shock with a quick turnaround on the opening day of the playoffs but Portland has excelled at home vs. quality teams this season and in the slight favorite role, going 23-14 ATS this season favored by fewer than seven points. The Pelicans have been a great road team for the season but the success has come almost exclusively against bad teams with only five road wins vs. Western Conference playoff teams all season. Happy to have stolen a road game in this series the Pelicans won’t be able to match the Game 1 intensity.”

The series will head back to “The Big Easy” on Thursday for Game 3 from the Smoothie King Center.

Chris David can be reached at [email protected]

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