NBA Pick on Clippers to Cover Again vs. Rockets in Game 4

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, May 10, 2015 2:52 PM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Sunday.

 



Look for the home favorite to remain perfect ATS in this Western Conference semifinal Sunday night when the second seeded Houston Rockets (61-29, 26-17 away) again visit those third seeded Los Angeles Clippers (62-30, 33-13 home) for Game 4 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA at 8:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT, with the Clippers leading the series 2-1.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Los Angeles as a decided home favorite for this contest with the current line at -7 with odds of -107.


Rockets Lucky Not to be Down 0-3
The Clippers stole home court advantage in this series by winning Game 1 in Houston, and after the Rockets evened the series despite failing to cover the point spread in Game 2, the Clippers dominated with the change of scenery to Los Angeles with a 124-99 rout in Game 3 in the game that marked the return of Chris Paul after he missed the first two games with a hamstring injury.

Paul favored the hamstring a bit, but he was productive with 12 points and seven assists in only 23 minutes, even adding three rebounds.

The Rockets should feel grateful that they are not on an 0-3 series hole, as in the one game where they were the winning NBA picks outright in Game 2, they benefitted from an unheard of 64 free throw attempts and still only won by six points as 7½-point favorites with Paul out for Los Angeles.


This is the Pivotal Game
For as dominating as the Clippers have been in this series, it would be all for naught if they do not win again tonight as not only would that result in the series being tied 2-2 but it would also given the Rockets back the home court advantage they earned for this series by being the two-seeds. That makes this the pivotal game and the more important game of the season to this point for both teams.

While it was nice having Paul back after winning by 16 points in Game 1 and then covering the spread in Game 2 in a game they probably would have won without the referees’ intervention without him, Los Angeles probably did not need him in Game 3 as Blake Griffin continued his monstrous series with 22 points and 14 rebounds, J.J. Redick poured in 31 on 11-for-14 shooting and Austin Rivers scored 25 points off the bench after starting for Paul in the first two games!

Thus the Clippers seem primed to get past the second round of the playoffs for the first time in the history of the franchise, as this team has continued to overcome adversity this post-season unlike the under-achieving Clipper teams of playoffs past. But again, a big win tonight would go a long way toward that first appearance in the conference finals while a loss would begin the whispers of this being the same old Clippers’ team after all.


Houston Has No Answers
While this line had been adjusted upwards by the oddsmakers, we still do not feel it has been adjusted enough as the Houston defense has been non-existent in this series and we see no reason for it to suddenly improve tonight. The Clippers went 46-for-83, 55.4 percent from the floor Friday and are now averaging a distressing 116.7 points on 49.8 percent shooting through the first three games!

The worst past is that bad defense is nothing new for a Houston team that ranked 17th in the NBA in points against during the regular season at 100.5 per game and they do not exactly have the best in-game coach on the planet in Kevin McHale at the helm. In fact, the vast coaching edge the Clippers enjoy with Doc Rivers over McHale is yet another reason not to expect Los Angeles to suddenly lose its nice momentum in this game.

Granted the Rockets remain strong offensively, but James Harden has not quite been himself this series as his 25 points on Friday came on 8-for-16 shooting, and the Clippers have at least demonstrated that they are capable of playing defense while Houston certainly has not.


Continued Head-to-Head ATS Dominance
Finally, the three ATS covers in this series have only continued the Clippers’ dominance in this head-to-head series that now have them at 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings, which is really not surprising when looking at the Rockets’ feeble attempts to find ways to slow down the Clipper offense.

We do not look for anything different in the biggest game of the year so far for these teams, so look for the Clippers to again have their way with the Houston defense en route to another double-digit victory at home in Los Angeles in the pivotal Game 4 on Sunday.

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NBA Pick: Clippers -7 (-107)