Welcome to the Monday, May 20 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for today’s Golden State-Portland playoff matchup I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Regular-season series results:
- Nov. 23: Warriors 125, Blazers 97 (Oracle Arena)
- Dec. 27: Blazers 110, Warriors 109 (OT) (Oracle Arena)
- Dec. 29: Warriors 115, Blazers 105 (Moda Center)
- Feb. 13: Blazers 129, Warriors 107 (Moda Center)
Playoff series results:
- May 14: Warriors 114, Blazers 96 (Oracle Arena)
- May 16: Warriors 114, Blazers 111 (Oracle Arena)
- May 18: Warriors 110, Blazers 99 (Moda Center)
5/20/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Golden State Warriors (57-25 reg. season, 11-4 postseason) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (53-29 reg. season, 8-7 postseason)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -3.5 (o/u: 220)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -3.5 (o/u: 219.5)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -3.5 (o/u: 220)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -3.5 (o/u: 219.5)
The Warriors were able to carry the momentum from their second-half comeback in Game 2 into Game 3, using a similarly dominant defensive second half to take the life out of the Blazers.
Portland now stands upon the brink of a sweep, and the Warriors will be hungry to finish the job in order to give Kevin Durant (calf) all the rest he can get before the NBA Finals.
While Steph Curry has been nothing short of brilliant, Draymond Green is arguably the most impactful player in this series on both ends of the floor. He posted his third career playoff triple-double on Saturday and spearheaded a defensive charge that once again befuddled Damian Lillard down the stretch.
Curry posted his highest usage rate (42%) of the series, and the Warriors were able to muster 33 points off their bench, by far their highest total this postseason. That proved enough to overcome just two points from Andre Iguodala and an 8-for-20 night from Klay Thompson.
Thompson has been a force in playoff road games despite his poor shooting the past two games. Curry actually shot a higher percentage (.473) from the field and averaged more PPG (28.3) on the road this season.
While Golden State’s bench played well on Saturday, the Dubs are vulnerable when Curry and Green sit. The Blazers went on a 16-3 run in the second quarter with those stars on the bench and led 45-32. But Kevon Looney and company held the fort to start the fourth quarter, and Curry checked back in with a six-point lead (90-84).
Steve Kerr should tweak his rotations for Game 4 to try and avoid falling into another big hole in the first half. His experiment of starting Damian Jones at center failed, but Kerr has other pieces he could insert to give the Blazers more matchup problems.
Those pieces are simply pawns in a game of chess where Curry and Green are operating as queens and the Blazers have nothing but a pair of bishops who don’t appear ready for the biggest stage.
Lillard did not find his rhythm at home, shooting 5-for-18 with 19 points and 5 turnovers to post another rough line. And C.J. McCollum continues to struggle with Thompson’s disciplined defense and shot 7-for-20, his third such shooting line in five meetings with the Warriors.
Clearly, the Blazers will go only as far as those star guards can take them. And right now they are getting badly outplayed by the Splash Brothers. The Warriors defense continues to blitz both guards, forcing them to give up the ball early. For Lillard at least, that’s led to a clear lack of engagement and competitive fire. An All-NBA caliber player shouldn’t allow his team to score 33 points in the second half of a home playoff game.
Even so, Meyers Leonard started and provided a nice lift for Terry Stotts‘ squad. Stotts seems to feel Leonard is better defensively than Enes Kanter and Zach Collins, but Portland can’t win if their clunky center is the only one starring in a supporting role.
Seth Curry and Rodney Hood were excellent in the first two games of this series, then virtually disappeared in Game 3. Stotts gave Kanter only seven minutes (likely because of his defensive issues), and Kanter produced 7 points and 5 rebounds to showcase his importance on the other end.
The Blazers coaching staff is scrambling for answers. Like their players, they’re basically sailing uncharted waters in this round of the playoffs and are being out-maneuvered and willed out of the playoffs by a team with championship pedigree.
The Final Word
This game is a prime example of a time where live betting can be useful. The Blazers could once again come out strong with the emotion of the crowd behind them and the threat of a sweep looming.
But sooner or later, the pressure of that failure combined with the Warriors suffocating defense should lead to another run by the champs.
You could take the Warriors (-3.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook) on the pre-game line, but it might be better to see if the Blazers build a first-half lead again so you can get a few points with the Dubs as underdogs. That strategy has clearly paid off handsomely during the past two games.
The Warriors have covered the spread in all four games since Durant’s injury. They’re unlikely to fold on the road whereas the Blazers could tap out if it looks like they’re overmatched once again.
The Under (220 on DraftKings Sportsbook) is seeing slightly more action than the Over, which isn’t surprising considering how badly the Blazers have struggled offensively in this series. Only one of three games has gone over the point total, and Game 2 only went that high because the Warriors were in frenetic comeback mode.
Portland allowed 109.8 PPG at home and scoring 106.4 PPG over seven meetings with the Dubs this season. It is hard to expect the Blazers to top 110 points with the Warriors smelling blood.
The Pick: Warriors -3.5