GAMBLING GUIDE

NBA playoff betting predictions for Wednesday night

Look for Lebron and the Cavs to bounce back. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Rockets (-10.5) vs. Timberwolves Game 2

The hometown Houston Rockets host the Timberwolves in the second game of the series, and although they are up 1-0, a more efficient performance is what backers are hoping for. Opening as  -11.5 point favorites in Game 1, the Rockets never really gave bettors a chance at covering the number with their horrible performance from behind the arc. Outside of Harden, the Rockets shot 3-of-25 from 3-point range and needed every bit of James Harden's 44 points to close out the opening game of the series. Clint Capela also chipped in 24 points and 12 boards to assist the Beard in an off night for Houston. The game was played at an extremely low pace of 95.4, substantially below the Timberwolves season average of 98.4. The slow pace and low scoring in Sunday's matchup came as a huge surprise, as these two teams have seen their games go over in 14 of the last 18 matchups. These teams faced off four times during the regular season, with the Rockets scoring 116, 126, 120 and 129 points in those contests. The Rockets are No. 1 in the NBA in 3 pointers made hitting over 15.2 per game as this team has proved all season long it can live and die by the three.  Another stat that hurt the Rockets’ overall performance was their assist percentage, where during the regular season they assisted on 55.7 percent of their shots, Sunday night they failed to move the ball efficiently, seeing the number plummet to 38.5. They had an abundance of good looks; the ball just wasn't going down; luckily they had Harden to rescue them in a much-needed win.

The Pick

Good teams find a way to win even while playing bad; it's great teams that bounce back and give us performances that we are accustomed to seeing.  The Rockets have struggled of late as double-digit favorites going 6-15 ATS in the last 21 games in such a role. Not only a problem for Houston but since 1991, Double Digit underdogs are 35-22-2 ATS in opening round games. With the trends bucking in the opposite direction, we look to pick a favorable spot on the Rockets Team Total Over with 112.5 available at may spots. Even with the abysmal 3-point shooting, Houston still scored 27, 27, 22, and 28 per quarter. Look for them to continue the scoring but with an added bump in efficiency seeing them ultimately clear the number.

Rockets team Total over 112.5

Cavaliers (-8) vs. Pacers Game 2

The last time LeBron James lost an opening round game, Gangnam Style had us dancing like fools, and The Avengers was dominating theaters. The Game 1 loss came with little surprise for a team that has been struggling to find its identity. Indiana now leads the season series 4-1, and the underdog really believes they should win this series. As a +240 dog, the Pacers led the entire way after a 25-8 start and never looked back. Cleveland shot an embarrassing 23.5 percent from 3 while the Pacers were on fire hitting 39.3 percent. The Cavaliers were also forced into 16 turnovers, not something you want to see for a team listed as a -700 favorite to win the series. After Indiana stole home court, the series is much more even, and the Cavaliers are now only listed at -234 to advance. The Pacers played at the seventh slowest pace during the regular season, the Cavs 12th fastest. The tortoise-style speed Game 1 was played at was dictated by the visitors seeing the game played at a pace of 93.9, the slowest of all the playoff games thus far and an ample drop from Cleveland's 100.9 average.

The Pick

The Pacers had everything go right from the opening tipoff, but can they replicate that performance in Game 2? The problem with the Cavaliers and their ultimate downfall will be their defense, not so much the offensive side. Listed as -8 point favorites, LeBron and company will look to even things up, but they will have to knock down shots and move the ball more effectively. Working in their favor, a trend dating back to the early 90's.

When a home favorite loses an opening round game, they are an astonishing 97-26 Straight up and 72-47-4 ATS in the following matchup.

LeBron bounces back knowing the importance of not going down 0-2, and the offense gets back on track.

Cavaliers Team Total Over 108
Cavaliers-8


For any questions or comments reach me @JerryBoKnowz on twitter.






 

 

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These next six games will be very telling. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Houston has six games left in the 2022 regular season, two three-game series in which they need just one more win, or a Yankees loss, to secure the top seed for the AL side of the postseason bracket. They've accomplished what they set out to do over the 162-game drudge that is the regular season, so you're likely to see them use the opportunity to get some players off their feet in the remaining games.

Even so, having one of the best teams means that while putting out a lineup with some starters missing, they can still beat most teams on any given day. So then, what could that mean for the teams still vying for postseason spots or positioning in the remaining games?

Affecting the NL playoffs

It's a relatively sure bet that if they haven't locked up that top seed by the time they enter the final three games, they will before that last series is over. That means that when the Phillies come to Minute Maid Park to close out the season next week, Philadelphia will have much higher stakes in those games than Houston.

Under the expanded playoff format starting this season, the two best teams in each league receive a bye, while the remaining four teams square off in a Wild Card series, with all those games taking place at the better seed's stadium. That means teams will be very motivated to secure their best Wild Card positioning.

As of now, the Phillies hold just a half-game lead over the Brewers for the third and final Wild Card spot for the National League. Things could change this weekend, but whether they still lead or have fallen back and have ground to makeup, the games will matter to them against the Astros.

They also sit 2.5 games behind the Padres, meaning that Philadelphia could potentially be looking at a chance to jump into the second Wild Card spot. However, it's questionable if that's an envious position or not. With the juggernaut battle between the Mets and Braves coming down to the wire, with one team winning the NL East and a first-round bye and the other starting with home-field advantage in a Wild Card series, whoever gets the second Wild Card spot is going to be heading to face a really tough, and potentially angry, team on the road.

It will make things interesting for the Phillies when they face the Astros. They could be playing for their playoff lives or jockeying for position. Either way, the games will be meaningful.

Affecting the AL playoffs

There's a similar scenario at play for the American League side of things with the Astros' three-game series against the Rays this weekend. Just like the Phillies, the Rays enter the weekend holding on to the third and final spot in the AL Wild Card race.

Tampa Bay is only 0.5 games back of the Mariners for the second spot and two games back of the Blue Jays for the first Wild Card spot. Farther behind, the Orioles still have a chance for something crazy to happen, sitting five games behind.

So based on the result of their series with the Astros and how the other teams fare this weekend and in the final stretch of games, the Rays have a range of outcomes that could cause havoc in the AL bracket. They could end up taking the top Wild Card spot and hosting a series, traveling to face the Blue Jays, Mariners, or Guardians, or, less likely, missing the playoffs altogether.

This variance in positioning could have ramifications for the Astros directly in the ALDS round as well. The Astros are likely to be favored regardless of the three potential teams they face; however, some matchups would make things easier.

Houston went 2-4 against the Blue Jays this year and are currently up 3-0 on the Rays with the three games remaining in the season series. And while the Astros took the season series 12-7 against division-rival Seattle, that could give the Mariners all the more reason to be ultra-motivated for the ALDS if they faced the Astros.

So, while the Astros may not have any direct milestones to play for other than locking up their top seed, these remaining six games will have plenty of storylines and drama to follow for them and their opponent.

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