NBA Playoffs Picks: O/U Total Odds for Friday's Game 3's

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, April 23, 2015 11:35 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 23, 2015 11:35 PM UTC

The three NBA playoff series on Friday night switch cities with Houston and Washington looking to all but end their series in Game 3, while San Antonio looks for a 2-1 edge over the Clippers. Here are my  total picks recommendations for the games.

Raptors vs. Wizards (195.5)
Each year in the NBA playoffs there's one series that's somewhat demoted on the TV networks, and it usually involves the Hawks. However, they are good this year and playing a big-market team in the Nets so the Toronto-Washington series has been tagged as the weak sister of the first round. Thus this gets kicked to ESPN2 on Friday while the other two games are on ESPN. Making the playoffs should be enough to secure any head coach his job for the next regular season, but I believe that Washington's Randy Wittman was in trouble if his team didn't advance. The Wizards were not a very good team in the second half of the season and appeared to be regressing. However, they fairly easily won the first two games in Toronto. The problem for the Raptors is that they only go offensively as All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry goes and he's not close to healthy. He missed several games at the end of the regular season with back problems and then bruised his shin in the fourth quarter of Game 2's 117-106 loss. He no doubt will play, but maybe he shouldn't. Lowry has played 60 combined minutes in the two games, scored 13 total points, hit 5-for-20 from the field and committed 10 fouls. John Wall is eating his lunch. The Raptors are going to struggle offensively when Lowry does. The last time Toronto lost three consecutive games in a playoff series was 2000 vs. New York. I think that happens in this one.

NBA Free Pick: 'Under.' This will look more like Game 1's 93-86 OT Wizards win than Game 2. The 'under' is 10-4 in the past 14 meetings at sportsbooks.

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Rockets vs. Mavericks (214.5)
No team is more beaten up right now than the Mavericks and this series looks like it may be a sweep, just like Toronto-Washington. The Mavs have to win with offense because they are not a good defensive club. They traded for Rajon Rondo this season because they figured Rondo would improve them on both ends, but he made the offense much worse. And Rondo has played his last game in a Dallas uniform. He played just 10 minutes in Game 2 and was benched for the second half. Rondo gave a half-hearted effort when he was in there as he had four fouls and the Mavs were outscored by 11 points in those 10 minutes. The team is saying Rondo is out indefinitely due to injury (false), but Rick Carlisle doesn't want him on the team so Rondo will be wearing a new uniform in 2015-16. Also done for these playoffs is small forward Chandler Parsons, who is still a good player (unlike Rondo) when healthy. But Parsons has to have knee surgery. He had 10 points and six rebounds in Game 1 but missed Game 2. To no surprise, the Dallas offensive output dropped from 108 in the opener to 99 in the second game. Plus Monta Ellis is struggling (13-for-39 in series). With Dwight Howard healthy and playing big minutes, Houston is a much better defensive team, so keep this in mind when placing your NBA picks.

NBA Free Pick: 'Under.' It has hit in five of the past six meetings. It is 5-1 in Dallas' past six vs. teams with a winning record.

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Clippers vs. Spurs (204.5)
This total is three points lower than Game 1's NBA odds and two less than Game 2. The first went under and the second over but it would have finished way under if not for the 30 total points scored in overtime, a 111-107 Spurs victory to even things up. The big question for Game 3 is the health of San Antonio's Tony Parker, who left Game 2 with an Achilles' injury. Parker might be the worst point guard in these playoffs thus far due to injuries, totaling just 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting and six assists in 59 minutes. The Spurs aren't going to win a seven-game series if that continues. I expect a rejuvenated Parker at home. Obviously if the injury is serious that changes everything. I also think playing at home will help Manu Ginobili, who is 5-for-16 from the field in the two games. But even with a struggling Ginobili, the Spurs' bench is so much better than the Clippers'. In Game 2, the San Antonio reserves had 48 points (led by Boris Diaw's 18) to the Clippers' 18 (Jamal Crawford held to 11). There's only so much the L.A. starters can do and they can't all play 47 minutes like Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick did in Game 2.  I also doubt the Clippers miss 17 free throws again like they did in Game 2; DeAndre Jordan was responsible for 11 of those.

NBA Free Picks: 'Over.' It has it in seven of L.A.'s past 10 road games. The 'over' is 8-3 in the Spurs' past 11 when allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. The 'over' is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings. 

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