NBA Playoffs Round 2: Friday Game 3s

Game Previews!

The second round of the NBA playoffs is already full of drama. The only team – at time of writing this–  that leads 2-0 is the Warriors over the Rockets.

 

The Blazers took one off the Nuggets in Denver, the 76ers took one from the Raptors in Toronto and the Celtics snagged one of the Bucks. So we have dogs cashing left and right both against the spread and on the money line. If you are going to get into the action, be sure to compare your options by checking this Intertops Review.

 

For now, let’s focus on Friday.

 

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics | 8 PM @ TD Garden

The Boston Celtics have the opportunity to go up 2-1 over the powerhouse Bucks on Friday night. Boston is listed as 2-point favorites at home and you better believe that they are motivated.

 

But the Bucks are still arguably the best team in the league, so no matter how motivated they are or the fact that the Celtics are back in Boston, the Bucks still have the best road offense in the Eastern Conference.

 

So let’s look at the situational point margins.

 

  • The Celtics score 113 at home on average.
  • The Bucks score 116.7 on the road on average.
  • The Celtics rank No. 7 in home D, allowing just 106.16 ppg.
  • The Bucks rank No. 11 in road D, allowing 110.40 ppg.

 

So, when it comes down to the law of averages, the Celtics have about a 1-point home advantage, coming from the Celtics superior defense. But even though the Bucks score nearly 4 points per game more, the Celtics actually shoot better from tre-land and significantly better from the line, which could come into play in a game like this. That said, the Bucks average a solid three more offensive rebounds per game, giving them a few more second-chance points.

 

Defensively, the statistics are quite well matched. Boston allows a hair more from the field, 44.02%-43.27% but they defend the three-point line better. Opposing free-throw percentage is virtually the same, but the Milwaukee defense gives up a board-and-a-half per game more. So, that three-board offensive advantage they have gets cut to just 1.5 rebounds overall.

 

So how should we bet this game? Honestly, I don’t see a case for the Celtics to cover two points. It is entirely possible yes. But that is just one free throw from a missed cover. Furthermore, the last time the bucks hit Beantown, they blasted the Celtics 120-107. We could see a bounce-back Bucks team after dropping one at home. To put it bluntly, they will probably split wins in Boston, and whether that is on Friday or on Monday is yet to be seen. So with this close point spread, I would just lay back and enjoy this one. No Bet.

 

Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers | 10:30 PM @ Moda Center

The Trail Blazers have stolen home court advantage and will try to put that into effect over the next couple of days. And if there is one thing that we know about the Blazers its that they are Rip City in Portland. They play much better at the Rose Quarter than they do on the road.

 

For this reason, the ‘Zers are listed as -4 favorites on Friday night. Let’s compare the stats just like we did above.

 

  • Portland has the No. 4 home offense, putting up 117.77 ppg.
  • Denver has a dismal road offense, No. 22, putting up 107.36 ppg.
  • The Blazers allow just 109.34 ppg in Portland.
  • The Nuggets allow 110.09 ppg while on the road.

 

So at a glance, the Blazers have around an 11-point advantage, and the Nuggets already know what it is like to play in Portland. They visited on the 7th of April and got spanked 115-108. That said, way back in November, the Nuggets did get a win at the Moda Center. And in recent history, the Nuggets have outplayed the Blazers in seven of the last ten meetings.

 

But that Blazer team had a different rhythm. This Portland team is fired up. Four points is a decent amount to cover against the Nuggets in the Playoffs, but I like -3.5. Take the Zers to win and cover 3.5.

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