The NBA is back in action today after a rare day with no games. We’ve got one series playing a Game 7 on the West, while out East we have Game 1 of the Conference Finals. Can the Nuggets do the unthinkable and come back from two consecutive 3-1 holes? Who will assert themselves in Game 1 between Miami and Boston? Check out my NBA Picks for today’s games.
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
Monday, September 15, 2020 – 6:30 PM EDT at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Miami Has Been Ready and Waiting
While Miami did pull off the upset of the playoffs by beating the team with the best record in the NBA in round 1, it wasn't a shocking result. That is both a testament to Miami's ability and also an indication of Milwaukee's playoff futility. Whatever the reason, the Heat is 4 wins away from going back to the NBA finals for the first time since 2014.
As far as this series against the Celtics, it will be much different than what they were up against the Bucks. Miami basically played a zone against the Bucks where they dared Giannis Antetokounmpo to shoot from the outside. That isn't his game, so the zone worked in the sense that they never let Giannis get downhill.
That won't work against Boston because the Celtics' three best scorers can score from the inside and outside. Even Kemba Walker who doesn't necessarily go to the basket a ton can still get off against this Heat team. Miami knows that they will have to play a more conventional straight up man to man defense.
Game 1 of this series opened up at Boston -1.5 at most of the top online betting sites. The line hasn't had much movement and that is understandable because these teams appear to be evenly matched. I'm taking the Heat on the moneyline at BetOnline which is available at +105.
I think the seven-game series took something out of Boston and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra probably has been sitting back and watching what the Raptors did well. We should expect the Heat coach, who is one of the best game planners in the NBA, to have something up his sleeve for this Boston team in Game 1.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Monday, September 15, 2020 – 9:00 PM EDT at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Nuggets Are One Win Away from History
To be down 3-1 in a playoff series and come back and win is truly impressive. To do it twice in the same playoffs would be historic. That is what the Nuggets will attempt to do when they take on the Clippers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals tonight. It seems like an unlikely outcome but to discount the Nuggets in this situation would be foolish in all honesty. The opening line for this game really does not make any sense to me at all considering what we've seen in the last two games.
Over on the SBR NBA odds page, you'll find the Clippers at -7.5 across the board despite what we've seen from them in the last two games. Denver has covered the spread in 4 out of the 6 games played so far, so for them to be underdogs by this much seems a little surprising.
There seems to be a lot of money coming in on Denver, plus the points which aren't surprising at all. The Clippers give a weird vibe of a team that feels like they just need to show up to win. Clearly, these guys are professionals and that's not what they're thinking, but actions speak louder than words, and when you watch them play sometimes they really look very nonchalant.
If the Clippers come out without a sense of urgency, they will lose this game. I say that because, in Game 6, they were cruising to victory with a double-digit lead in the second half and ended up losing by double digits. To me, things like that happen because of a lack of intensity and not having enough respect for your opponent.
A loss for the Clippers would be a monumental disaster considering everything they gave up to have their current roster. For that reason, I'm taking the Clippers on the moneyline at -310 over at BetOnline.