NBA Picks: Inviting Totals to Play & Ace for Wednesday's Betting Ticket

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, May 5, 2015 6:57 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 5, 2015 6:57 PM UTC

I previewed the two Game 2s ATS in the conference semifinals for Wednesday night here at SBR. Now let's look at the Pinnacle Sports totals for each game as the Bulls and Clippers look for surprising 2-0 series edges before heading back home. 

Bulls vs. Cavaliers (194.5 points)
There is no question that Cleveland's David Blatt gets way too much grief in his first season as an NBA coach. He gets all the blame when the Cavs lose and none of the credit when they win. But there's no doubt that Blatt was outcoached by a wide margin in Chicago's 99-92 Game 1 victory. I'm not talking about calling plays or anything like that. I'm talking about Blatt starting Mike Miller in place of the suspended J.R. Smith, who will also miss Game 2. Miller was completely worthless in his 16 minutes and was torched by Mike Dunleavy as Chicago broke out to a big lead that it would never relinquish. This you should keep in mind when looking at the NBA odds. Dunleavy scored 11 of his 14 points in the opening six minutes, helping the Bulls to an early 13-2 lead.

Why start a half-dead, way-past-his-prime Miller over young jumping jack forward Tristan Thompson? I think I know the answer: the Bulls had some problems in the first round when the Milwaukee Bucks played with a smallish lineup. I don't expect Miller to play much at all in Game  2 and for Thompson to start. He's one of the best offensive rebounders in the NBA and could potentially at least alter some of those wide open shots from the top of the key that Pau Gasol got all night in Game 1 on the way to 10-for-16 shooting. You might even see some of Kendrick Perkins in Game 2 after he didn't play at all in the opener. Cleveland has to get to 100 points to beat the Bulls. The Cavs have won 31 of their last 32 contests when reaching the century mark and are 45-5 overall when doing so this season. I don't expect Chicago to change a thing as their Big 3 of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Gasol all played well, combining for 66  points. The Cavs have to be thrilled that the Bulls bench, which is much deeper, had only 19 combined points. Most nights that will mean a Chicago loss against a team as good offensively as the Cavs.

NBA Free Pick: 'Under.' Bulls won't shoot 50 percent overall and 55.6 percent from long range again. The 'under' is 4-0 in the past four meetings in Cleveland.

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Clippers vs. Rockets (213 points)
The big question here is the status of Chris Paul, the Clippers' most important player and leader. Paul missed Game 1 with a hamstring injury and really wasn't missed as the Clippers put up 117 points in a 16-point victory over the shockingly flat Rockets. Obviously the Clippers are a much better team with Paul in the lineup, but if I had to guess he doesn't play Game 2. Why not take your split at worst in Houston and save Paul for Game 3 back in Los Angeles on Friday night? I'm sure Paul will push to play if at all possible but you need him healthy to win this series and then certainly to upset Golden State. Austin Rivers filled in quite well for Paul on Monday with 17 points, four steals and three assists in 28 minutes. I don't think you can count on that again. Jamal Crawford saw an uptick in minutes as he played 32 minutes and had 21 points, five rebounds and four assists. The L.A. bench is terrible outside of Crawford, however. The other Clippers reserves had just six points.

I have no doubt that Rockets coach Kevin McHale put his guys through a spirited workout Tuesday after that Game 1 effort. I also don't think Houston turns it over 24 times again (nine by James Harden, most of them unforced). The Rockets' two top reserves, Josh Smith and Corey Brewer, hit only six of their 24 shots. That bench must dominate the Clippers'. And if Paul sits again, the Rockets must make anyone but Blake Griffin beat them after his triple-double in Game 1. He leads the NBA in rebounding in the playoffs and is seventh in scoring. I simply think that the Rockets were overconfident in Game 1 when they learned Paul was out. The corrections will come whether he plays or not.

NBA Free Pick: 'Under' is your NBA pick. It has hit in four of the past five meetings.  It is 4-1 in the Clippers' past five after a win of more than 10 points.

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