NBA Picks: Betting Trends for Warriors vs. Rockets Point Towards a Third 'Under'

Jason Lake

Friday, May 22, 2015 8:01 PM GMT

Friday, May. 22, 2015 8:01 PM GMT

The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets went UNDER in the first two games of their Western Conference final. The NBA odds have shifted for Game 3, but is it enough?

Jason’s record as of May 21: 78-79-5 ATS, 17-19 Totals, plus-0.15 units ML, 6-2 Series (plus-4.0 units)

 

Is there anything better than playoff basketball? Not only do we get to see the best of the best giving it the proverbial 110 percent, we also get to enjoy a softer betting market when we make out NBA picks. In this case, it's the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets playing their hearts out, and it's the UNDER cashing in twice in the first two games of this series. Life is good.


Ah, but there are always complications, aren't there? The NBA odds for Saturday's Game 3 (9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) have adjusted to the results from the first two games at The Oracle, pushing the total down from 219 to 217 points at the open. And as we go to press, the total has moved as low as 215.5 points. Our consensus reports show an even 50/50 split at that lowest over/under. Which side will our basketball picks land on this time?

 

Quite Contrary
Why, the UNDER, of course. We're sticking with the Rockets against the spread, and we're going to do the same thing against the total. Dwight Howard is almost certainly going to play in Game 3 after playing 40 quality minutes in Game 2. Everything else on the ground is pretty much the same. Moving from The Oracle to The Showroom shouldn't have much of an effect – this isn't baseball we're dealing with here.

But let's throw some stats at the wall anyway. The Warriors have the UNDER at 27-19 in road games this year, compared to 25-22 at home. And the Rockets have the UNDER at 25-23 when they play at home; on the road, it's 22-25. Once you factor in the added casual fans who are in the playoff marketplace and betting the OVER without thinking about it too much, everything looks hunky-dory for another contrarian UNDER pick.

 

Sport Select
So let's take a moment to talk about game selection. Our whole “system” here at the ranch is predicated on taking advantage of casual bettors and making contrarian basketball picks. There's a lot more to be contrary about when it comes to the spread; the betting public overvalues favorites, large-market teams and entertaining personalities, while undervaluing defense, bench players and people with run-of-the-mill names like Terrence Jones (18.3 PER).

Totals? Well, casual fans tend to bet the OVER. That's about it. We can use some of the aforementioned biases when we're looking at the over/under, especially when it comes to injured players coming in and out of the lineup and bettors not adjusting properly. But that's a lot of work for very little profit margin. Quants will always do better at totals than we will at the home office.

 

The Criterion Collection
That's why we love the playoffs so much. The more casual fans that come in and throw their money on the table, the more we can cash in by leaning toward the UNDER. And the postseason already caters to that particular basketball pick. The defensive intensity has been ramped up – those 16 or 17 turnovers Golden State committed in Game 2 (depending on which box score you look at) didn't just happen by themselves.

If you're going to do a proper job of betting on basketball, picking out these opportunities for larger profit margins – and placing larger bets using the Kelly criterion – should be in the front of your mind. Don't bet the farm on these totals though, even if it's the playoffs. We'd be ecstatic to get 56 percent of our NBA picks correct at this stage, even if all signs point toward another UNDER result on Saturday. Bet accordingly.


Free NBA Pick: Take UNDER  at GT Bets

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