Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Apr. 25: 28-29-1 ATS, 0-6 ML (minus-12.63 units), 36-23-1 Totals
Golden State (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) at L.A. Clippers (2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS)
Friday, 10:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Free NBA Pick: Over
Recommended Sportsbook: Pinnacle
We knew the first-round series between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers was going to be a lot of fun. It’s even more fun if you took the Clippers at +3000 on the NBA odds board; they’re hanging in there, down 3-2 in this best-of-seven series with Game 6 coming up this Friday night at Staples Center. Will Los Angeles win two more games for us and shock the basketball universe in the process?
Probably not. And we can’t quite recommend the Clippers for your NBA picks in this matchup, even after they’ve moved up from +9 to +10 since the open. That’s because the fine folks at FiveThirtyEight have L.A. projected as 8.5-point home dogs. If they happen to reach +10.5, then we’ve got the potential profit margin we need, but at press time, we’ve got our attention firmly fixed on that 232.5-point total.
Since we’re in between the first and second rounds on the NBA playoff schedule, Jeff Sagarin already has his own projections for Game 6 up at The USA Today, and he has Friday’s contest adding up to 235.77 points. That gives us ample reason to pick the ‘over’ with this total, which has dipped two points since the open – although the consensus reports show 88 percent of early bettors agreeing with us.
That’s not one of those sketchy opening totals, either. It wasn’t just one rogue sportsbook posting an early total and revising it downward immediately; virtually across the board, the SBR odds archive shows the books opening at 234.5 points on Thursday morning. This could definitely be a case of sharp bettors putting big piles on money on the ‘under’ while the betting public throws their nickels and dimes at the ‘over.’ But at this lowered total, we’re happy to take the other side.
Sweet Lou Is Sweet
Recent history is in our favor. Three of the five games in this series thus far have gone ‘over’ the posted total, and it’s mostly because the Warriors are shooting the lights out. They lead all playoff teams with 118.7 points per 100 possessions, and both they and the Clippers also operating at a very brisk pace of 105.4 possessions per game.
It’s the L.A. offense – and/or the lack of Dubs defense – that has this series as close as it is. The Clippers are seventh overall in offensive efficiency at 108.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s better than Portland (107.6) and Houston (105.4), by the way. Lou Williams (plus-4.2 OBPM, minus-0.2 DBPM in five games) might not make the Hall of Fame, but he’s a special player in a special role, and if he keeps this up, maybe we’ll get that big 30-to-1 payout after all. Suh-weet.