Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks: NBA Picks
Sunday features two different types of value on the board as we balance closeout scenarios with the ushering in of the second round. Both Boston and Toronto were adamant about striking, so seeing them return to the floor in game 1 of their series will be interesting to say the least. We also have both Utah and the Clippers looking to shut the door on their respective series, not allowing two dangerous teams to linger any longer.
BET: Celtics 1st quarter winner @ +102
Both of these teams cruised through the first round, each sweeping their opponents. In fact, the only loss the Raptors suffered in the bubble came at the hands of the Celtics. It should be a difficult matchup for Toronto – even with the expected return of Kyle Lowry – against a Boston team with multiple levels of attack. Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum should pace the Celtics early on, as Toronto will take some time in getting the feel for the game. I do like the Raptors to stay close and was tempted to take Boston on the ML to win. The play here for me is how Boston will take full advantage of the momentum early on, before it swings back to the Raptors. Toronto will be tough up front, and eventually wear down Boston’s frontcourt. All you need is 1.5 guys to get hot for Boston in the first, something we saw against the Sixers rather often, and you’ll have yourself a winner after 1. Watch for Kemba Walker to push Lowry as much as he can, which could leave both Brown and Tatum open for some outside looks. The pacing of this quarter favors the Celtics and I’m jumping all over Boston to take the first
BET: Clippers -9.5 @ -110
BET: Under 236 @ +110
The Clippers put to rest any concerns last time out about this series pushing to 7 games. This should be it for a hobbled Mavs team who put out a valiant effort behind Luka Doncic. But the Mavs phenom – along with three other players – are listed as questionable heading into today’s game. Add the continued absence of Kristaps Porzingis and this becomes a ridiculous uphill battle for Dallas to simply stay alive. I bought down the hook for minimal juice, thanks to Bet365, as we know double-digit covers have been tough in the bubble. Paul George exploded in game 5, torching Dallas in just 25 mins. Expect the continued building of his confidence against a banged-up Mavs team. The Clippers can use this game as a luxury to coast into the second round but take some pressure off of George as he continues to find his game. Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the Clippers starters should continue to punish Dallas up front, especially with the lack of presence by Porzingis
I do like the under for 236 here knowing that the Clippers could do 70 percent of the damage alone. Even with a healthy Doncic, the Mavs will struggle to hit anything truly past the century mark. The Clippers will be up early, and often, allowing them to start to pull some starters in the 4th quarter. I wouldn’t be shocked if LA was up by so much heading into the fourth that you don’t even see any of their starters. At some point the Mavs will follow suit, wave the white flag, and pull guys to avoid anything unnecessary. It’s still a pretty big total at 236, but I like my chances with the Mavs being so beaten down, combined with how aggressive we should see LA on defense – at the very least in the first half.
BET: Jazz ML @ -138
Denver did everything they possibly could in game 5 just to push this series to a 6th game. It took a ridiculous first half from Nikola Jokic and a monster second half by Jamal Murry. Both players were on fire and rarely missed a shot. Even their defense stood out holding Utah to a series low in points. I’m trying to give Denver some benefit of the doubt that at least one of those things will continue, but in order to knock off the Jazz for a second straight game, things will have to be near-perfect… again. Utah has done a fantastic job in all of their wins putting an immense amount of pressure on Denver to just match buckets. While we saw the Murray vs. Donovan Mitchell battle play out to all of our liking, there’s been too much inconsistency with the Nuggets for me to play them. Utah did a fantastic job bouncing back from that game 1 OT loss, where they made costly mistakes down the end, to take a commanding lead. The second round awaits, and I love Rudy Gobert getting the better of Jokic today, at the very least forcing some tough shots. Good effort by Denver, but their season ends tonight!