Matinee Game 4
If the defense shows up like it did in Game 3 for both teams, this encounter between the Warriors and the Clippers is going to have some tremendous odds value. The odds for the spread favor the Clippers on the road at -2 ½, however I am much more intrigued by the total for this game of 209 ½. If both teams treat this game as a must-win, we could see one of the lower final scores of the entire series, leading me to choose 'under' for my NBA pick.
Golden State’s defense has been very good outside of Game 2, and a big reason why is because the drop-off from Andrew Bogut to Jermaine O’Neal has not been as big as most people thought. O’Neal has played solid defense in the post for the Warriors, and other front court members like Draymond Green are stepping up to provide defense as well.
The Clippers didn’t play bad on that end of the floor either in Game 3, and if things turn out the same here in Game 4, this total is way too high for the kind of game we’ll see. At 209 ½, an early afternoon game in Oakland could lead to one or both teams coming out sluggish to start the game. If that’s the case, it gives the 'under' even more value as a pick on Sunday afternoon.
The Sharp Pick
There were several tough shots made in Game 3, and if they would have fallen out, it could have made that total go even lower. Stephen Curry and Chris Paul were both making very tough shots all night in Game 3 against the Warriors. While they could very well do it all again in Game 4, I don’t think there will be as much magnificent offense. It’s very hard to do those sort of things two games in a row, and even though Curry and Paul are two of the best at making tough shots, the NBA odds of it happening are low.
Including their final two meetings in the regular season, the total has now gone 'under' in three of the last five times these teams have played each other. As this series gets longer, it will get testier, and the hard fouls and tough defense will grow progressively. That should lead to the total being much lower than the 209-½ number would suggest. It would not surprise me to see one or both of these teams below the 100-point mark for Game 4.
The Warriors only played two games as home underdogs this season, but the 'under' cashed in both of those games. The Clippers were also slightly above .500 cashing the 'under' as road favorites this season at 14-13. Look for this to be the most physical game of the series, and I think it makes the 'under' look like an immensely valuable NBA pick on Sunday afternoon.
My Free NBA Pick: 'Under' 209 ½