Friday’s three-game NBA Playoffs slate takes us right into Memorial Day Weekend with a trio of Game 3s. All three matchups are on TV tonight, with ESPN hosting the New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks (7:30 p.m. EST) and Los Angeles Clippers at Dallas Mavericks (9:30 p.m. EST) while ABC has the Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics.
New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks (-4.5) – Total: 211
As the series shift away from MSG down to the ATL, we find the Hawks as intriguing 4.5-point favorites for Game 3. After all, Atlanta was 16-7 ATS as a home favorite this season, and a lot of that success came down the stretch. The last time the Hawks lost a game outright as a home favorite was all the way back on Feb. 12. In addition, ATL has gone 12-2 ATS as a home favorite in their last 14 tries.
The Knicks were able to use that rawkus home crowd to their advantage in Game 2, overcoming a 13-point halftime deficit to grab the win. That was a highly emotional win for New York on Wednesday night, and I just don’t believe it has the energy to get a second straight win.
Betting Pick: Hawks (-4.5)
Brooklyn Nets (-7.5) at Boston Celtics – Total: 227
Unlike the first game, I will be rolling with the NY-based team in this one. As we’ve seen in the first two games, this is simply an overmatched Celtics team that has no answer for the Big Three of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. The Nets, however, will be without Jeff Green and that should test some of their younger frontcourt depth. Look for Nick Claxton to pick up the vacant minutes and thrive in that role.
It is worth noting the Celtics’ -0.8 decrease on their ITT is the biggest movement of any team on the slate – and it isn’t the good kind of movement. If Robert Williams isn’t blocking nine shots per game, Boston has no chance in this series.
Betting Pick: Nets (-7.5)
Los Angeles Clippers (-2.5) at Dallas Mavericks – Total: 219
I’ll complete the trifecta of favorites tonight and get acquainted with the Clippers, who are facing an 0-3 hole with a loss tonight. Admittedly, I haven’t watched much of this series, but you have to believe that superstars like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will show up at least once during the next week or so. I believe that night will be tonight.
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