Week 6 Vibe Check (2-3) This past week offered us a worthy entry into the Bad Beat Hall of Losers.
A brutal 22 point fourth quarter by the Eagles killed an easy -7.5 point cover by the Ravens, who haven't quite looked as dominant as we expected them to heading into this season. Meanwhile, the Panthers and Packers decided to make my big sweeping proclamations that Carolina's good and the Tampa Bay Bucs are bad look very silly.
As for my two wins, they were decent nail biters, too. The Titans, thanks to some creative coaching, managed to secure us a cover with a King Henry wildcat TD and the Chiefs showed us all a different dimension they have to crush people, their running game. This kept the game a little closer than most would've liked, but imagine adding Le'Veon Bell to this team. Yeah, start checking Super Bowl futures.
Speaking of the future, let's get a look at Week 7…
To be honest, there aren't a ton of games that I love on this slate. Seems like oddsmakers have this week dialed in and a lot of these match ups just seem a little off. However, the games that do call out to me all have one thing in common.
Road Favorites for the Win
Packers -3.5 over Texans
The Packers are coming off a brutal road loss, in which their offense got full on exposed by Todd Bowles and the Bucs. What's the best medicine for an offense still nursing their pride and trying to rebound? Playing against a defense allowing 5.4 yards per carry and having Aaron Jones on your team is a good start. The line on this should be higher, but the Texans playing a home drops the spread by a couple points. I expect and hope everyone will take advantage here. Heck, double up and bet Aaron Jones overs on yards, TDs, and anything else you can find!
Aaron Rodgers will look to bounce back from a tough loss in Tampa Bay.(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Browns -3 over Bengals
The Browns are coming off a brutal road loss, in which their offense got full on exposed by Keith Butler and the Steelers. What's the best medicine for an offense still nursing their pride and trying to rebound? Playing a defense allowing 5.1 yards per carry and having Kareem Hunt on your team is a good start. Whoa. So, that's what Deja vu feels like. The only way this could be better for the Dawg Pound was if Nick Chubb was healthy. On the flip side, the Cleveland D has been porous, at times, but against the rookie Joe Burrow and a struggling Cincy offense, whom they've already handled once this year with ease, they'll have a chance to get right.
Seahawks -3 over Cardinals
Russell Wilson has cemented himself as the odds-on favorite for MVP on the strength of his glorious arm and ability to extend plays behind his middling offensive line. The Cardinals and Kyler Murray, the briefest of MVP candidates, have shown flashes, but thrown some duds in for equal measure. However, the biggest concern is their strength of opponent. In the past four weeks, they've lost to the Lions and Panthers, while beating up on the Darnold-less Jets and Dak-less Cowboys. The Seahawks are, by far, the best opponent this young and inconsistent team has faced and it's time for the real contender to do away with the pretender.
D'Andre Swift to Score a TD (+135)
The Georgia stud and rookie running back is coming off of his best game as a professional against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This feels like the moment he takes the leap towards being a consistent fantasy play and genuine offensive threat. He put up 116 yards on 14 carries for a gaudy 8.2 average with two touchdowns to boot. He's about to face another weak bottom half of the league rushing D, one who's let up the second most receptions to backs. Swift got four of those last week, so he's just as likely to punch one in via the air as the ground. For a little (lot of) extra value, you can always bet him to score the first TD at +1100.
Jimmy Garoppolo receiving some hands on coaching from Bill Belichick, his former mentor and current opponent. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco vs New England over 43.5
The 49ers and Patriots are both having themselves some odd seasons. Cam Newton looked like his former self in the early going, but a COVID diagnosis derailed any momentum he or the team had before getting the Chiefs, an early bye, and the Broncos. Belichick isn't taking a three game losing streak without a fight, and will be working overtime to return his offense to their early season success. Not to mention, the mastermind is going up against his former backup, who he's definitely sick of having to talk about trading. Meanwhile, the 49ers have been ravaged by injuries, having the most guys on IR this season. This rash of bad luck included their starting QB, RB, WR, TE, CB, DE, and LB all missing time. It culminated in an ugly loss to the Dolphins, which seemed to be the wake up call the team needed to bounce back to beat the Rams. I could easily see this game scoring up into the high 20's with a pair of highly motivated offenses going against defenses, which haven't reached the heights of last season's former glory.
In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bam Adebayo's 31-point and 10-rebound double-double led the Miami Heat to a 109-103 victory over the Celtics on the road. That was followed by a dominant second-half performance by Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins who led the Warriors to a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.
Tonight, we'll get the first of these two matchups. Boston will look to come back in their second home game against a Heat team that is clearly not at 100% healthy. Tyler Herro has been ruled out for Game 4 while Kyle Lowry remains questionable. Here are some of the best bets for tonight's and tomorrow's big Game 4s.
Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 3:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.
ECF Game 4: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics -7 (MIA Leads 2-1)
In Game 4, the Celtics rallied back from double-digits to make things interesting in the fourth quarter. However, Boston conceded Game 3 to the Miami Heat 109-103. On Sunday, Bam Adebayo was getting everything he wanted down low. He finished with 31 points, 10 boards, six assists, four steals, and one block. Ime Udoka will need to boost the presence of his big men down low, perhaps by extending Daniel Theis’ minutes or having him share the floor more with Al Horford. The major reason for which the Heat are considered the seven-point underdogs for tonight’s game is injuries. Tyler Herro has already been ruled out for Game 4, and the Heat have four or five other players in their lineup currently listed as questionable. This includes Max Struss, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and P.J. Tucker. Butler is dealing with knee inflammation which sidelined him for the second half of Game 3.
Even if all of the players in the Heat’s rotation are good to go tonight (outside of Herro), Boston has not lost back-to-back home games since late October. Plus, Jaylen Brown is shooting much better than he did earlier in the postseason. In fact, he’s elevated his shooting to 50% from the field through the 2021-22 playoffs through 14 games played. Expect Boston to bounce back big in Game 4, with multiple players on the Miami Heat not at full strength.
The Pick: Boston Celtics -7 (-110)
WCF Game 4: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)
Well, it’s looking like the Golden State Warriors are returning to the NBA Finals. With the emergence of Jordan Poole late this season and into the postseason, Andrew Wiggins’ First-Team All-Star season, and Klay Thompson’s return to basketball, Golden State has been simply phenomenal. Golden State is simply that good this year, with anyone on the team capable of stepping up. Stephen Curry erupted in Game 3, while it was Andrew Wiggins that caught fire in the second half of Game 4. Any given night, the Warriors have one or two guys who they can count on for scoring approximately 25+ points. Considering the Mavericks' struggles this round, particularly behind the three-point line, bettors should go with the Warriors as the slight underdog. Teams get swept sometimes. Just ask the Brooklyn Nets. The Warriors will bring out the brooms and sweep the Mavericks as they punch their ticket to the NBA Finals Tuesday night.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors ML -104
NBA Player Props
Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)
Prop #1: Stephen Curry, Over 27.5 Points
Stephen Curry has scored 31 points and 32 points over the last two games. He’s done so by converting at least 50% from the field in each contest. It makes sense that he would score at least 28 points in a series-clinching victory tomorrow night. Curry is averaging 27.1 PPG on 45.9% this postseason but has certainly put up more points and done so more efficiently over the last few games.
Prop #2: Luka Doncic, Over 3.5 Threes
Luka has drained nine three-pointers over the last two games. He’s knocked down at least four threes in three of his last four contests. Facing elimination and hoping to not let down the home crowd in back-to-back home playoff games, Doncic will convert at least four baskets from downtown in Game 4.
Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and the Miami Heat held their own against the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Likewise, Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry led the Warriors to a 112-87 blowout over Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Tonight, the Celtics play their second game on the road against the Heat. On Friday night, the Mavericks will look to bounce back after shooting horrifically in Game 1.
Let’s take a look at the best bets for the two NBA Conference Final Game 2 matchups set for 8:30 PM EST. tonight and 9:00 PM EST. tomorrow night.
Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 4:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.
Best Bets of the Night
Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)
After a nail-biting series with the Milwaukee Bucks that the Celtics won in grandiose fashion, Boston conceded Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat. Tonight, they play Game 2 of the series at the FTX Arena and hope to bounce back from Tuesday’s 11-point loss. One of the principal reasons for their defeat in Game 1 was the absence of Marcus Smart (foot sprain) and Al Horford (health & safety protocols). It remained a relatively close game until the third quarter in which the Celtics were outscored 14-3 to begin the second half. Derrick White filled in for Marcus Smart and was terribly inefficient from the field. He scored three points (1-4 FG) and had four assists in 29 minutes filling in for the Defensive Player of the Year. In contrast, Max Struss and Gabe Vincent did a terrific job of filling in for Kyle Lowry, combining for 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting. In addition, Tyler Herro had a good night with a pivotal 18 points (7-15 FG) off the bench. Fortunately for the Celtics, both Smart and Horford are expected to return tonight.
Head Coach Ime Udoka indicated to reporters today that Smart was probable to play this evening. Horford was cleared of health and safety protocols today making him available for tonight’s contest. For those of you who have watched the Celtics this postseason, Horford and Smart have upped their play and have been absolutely integral to the team’s success. Tonight, let’s take the Boston Celtics to take a game on the road in the same fashion that they took two road games from the Bucks in the last series.
The Pick: Boston Celtics ML +108
Tonight's Best NBA Player Props
Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)
Prop#1: Gabe Vincent Over 9.5 Points
Prop#2: Al Horford Over 9.5 Points
Tomorrow Night's Best NBA Bet
Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State -6 (GSW Leads 1-0)
Dallas was annihilated by Golden State in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. This comes after the Mavs blew out the Phoenix Suns on the road in impressive fashion, punching their ticket to the next round of the playoffs for a series against the Warriors. Golden State shot an impressive 56.1% from the field in the opening game and finished with 112 points. Just as important as the offensive production, Golden State clamped down on defense. The Warriors contained Luka Doncic, who converted just six of his 18 field goals on his way to 20 points. Andrew Wiggins did an excellent job guarding the young playmaker. Luka's teammates didn't help out much either as the Mavericks shot 36% from the field in Game 1, and 22.9% from downtown (11-48 3PT FG) for just 87 points on the night.
While I think the Warriors will win again on Friday night, expect the Mavericks to keep things more interesting after such an abysmal night shooting from the field. Dallas will make the adjustments needed to make this a competitive Game 2 in the Bay area.
The Pick: Dallas Mavericks +6 (-110)
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Klay Thompson is coming off one of his signature Game 6 performances. Thompson dropped his second-highest point total of the postseason, punching Golden State's ticket to the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. In the elimination game, Thompson led the team with 30 points (11-22 from the field and 8-14 from beyond the arc), eight boards, two assists, and three blocks. Considering the multitude of injuries he has fought back from and the adversity he has faced, it's quite amazing that the five-time All-Star has converted at least 50% of his three-point shots in three of his last four outings. He seems to be in great form entering this pivotal series with the Mavericks.
Dallas stunned the top-seeded Phoenix Suns and reigning Western Conference champs on the road in Game 7, 123-90, and earned a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Let's see if Thompson can remain scorching hot as Stephen Curry and the Dubs host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals tonight. Now, let's take a look at some of the best bets and player props to consider for tonight’s big matchup!
Best Bets of the Night
Bet #1: Golden State Warriors -5 (-110)
Following a tough loss in Game 5 to the Grizzlies despite Ja Morant’s absence from the lineup, the Warriors bounced back and closed the series at home in Game 6. They take on the Dallas Mavericks, who’ve been absolutely unbelievable on defense. Changes made to the Mavs’ rotation by Jason Kidd worked flawlessly against Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and the Suns in the previous round. One surprise for Dallas this postseason has been former New York Knicks lottery pick, Frank Ntilikina. He's a player who has stepped up immensely this postseason, especially on defense. Throughout the series, Ntilikina held Chris Paul and Devin Booker to a combined 3-of-40 shooting from the field when he guarded them.
It will be interesting to see if Jason Kidd keeps his minutes up, or perhaps increases them after what was truly an astonishing defensive performance against the Suns. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, the Golden State Warriors have four efficient scorers who will need to be contained. The Warriors will cover the spread tonight and win by more than five points on their home floor.
Bet #2: Over 214.5 Total Points (-110)
Dallas scored an impressive 123 points in Game 7, and they did so on the road. I expect them to reach at least 110 points in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors shot on and off throughout their series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Nonetheless, they averaged 111 PPG in their series against Memphis (666 total points scored by the Warriors over six games). Both teams play a style of basketball that stresses ball movement to find an open man beyond the arc. When Dallas or Golden State shoot 40%-45% from the field, they can score in the hundreds because of the high volume of shots they take. Dallas started taking more shots and playing at a faster pace in the second half of their series against Phoenix. By the half in Game 7, Dallas was up 57-27. In the game, the Mavericks went 19-of-39 from downtown (48.9%). Even more impressive was Dallas’ 56.8% shooting from the field. Although the Warriors are one of the best defensive teams in the league, a 214.5-point Over / Under for tonight’s game is quite low. Smash the Over.
NBA Player Props of the Night
Prop #1: Jordan Poole Over 1.5 Threes (-174)
Jordan Poole has finally cooled down after a stretch of three 20-point games against the Grizzlies. Over the last three contests, Poole has only hit two or more three-pointers in one contest. Over those last three games, he shot a combined 3-of-17 from downtown. While Poole has been highly inefficient over the last few games, he’ll hit at least two three-pointers in Game 1 tonight. The odds of this prop reflect how likely it is to happen. Although Poole isn't seeing as high a usage rate as when Curry and Thompson were injured during the regular season, Poole should still see plenty of open looks in the 25+ minutes he should log tonight. Given that Dallas will most likely try to stop Curry and Thompson from beating them, Poole should see a few wide-open looks. He will knock down at least two from deep range tonight.
Prop #2: Klay Thompson Over 20.5 Points (-112)
Klay Thompson has averaged just about 20.5 points since he came back this regular season. Throughout the postseason, he’s played strong and for the most part, been efficient from the field. Through 11 games in this postseason, Thompson is averaging 20.4 PPG on 45% shooting from the field. I like him to hit the over here in his first Western Conference Final matchup in three years. After getting his swagger back and dropping 30 points to eliminate the Grizzlies last round, Thompson should have all. the confidence in the world heading into Game 1 in the bay.