NBA Playoffs Picks: O/U Total Odds for Thursday's Game 3's

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 11:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 22, 2015 11:26 PM UTC

The three NBA playoff series on Thursday night all  have switched cities to the team that's in a 2-0 hole. I previewed those against the spread here at SBR so check that out. Here I recommend the total plays on the game with NBA odds from Pinnacle.

Cavaliers vs. Celtics (204)
I don't know what the problem is as it's simple to slow down the high-powered Cleveland offense: Shut down LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. OK, easier said than done. The Cavs' Big 3 combined for 69 points in Game 1's 113-100 victory. In Tuesday's Game 2 99-91 win, they totaled 69 again and James and Irving amazingly scored Cleveland's final 28 points of the game. When three guys are outscoring your starting five by nearly 30 points per game, you aren't going to win. Therein lies the problem for Boston. It's starting five doesn't have a legit scorer who gives the Cavs pause. Through two games, the Cavs are holding the Celtics to a combined .427 from the field.  The Celtics bench played well in Game 2 with 51 points to only seven for the Cavs. Top reserve Isaiah Thomas is averaging 22.0 points and 8.5 assists in the two games but getting no help. How about starting him? I doubt that's something Brad Stevens would consider at this point. Stevens also has said he's actually happy with the way his team has defended Irving and James. Huh? Cleveland has been incredibly efficient offensively at home and not quite as much on the road so perhaps there's a glimmer of hope that Boston can hold Cleveland under 100 points for a second straight game. The C's better because the Cavs have won 29 of their last 30 contests when reaching the century mark and are 43-5 overall this season.

NBA Free Pick: 'Over.' It has hit in 10 of Cleveland's past 11 on the road vs. teams with a winning home record.

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Bulls vs. Bucks (187)
Milwaukee is a fine defensive team as it held clubs to 97.4 points per game during the regular season (No. 8 in NBA) and a .437 shooting percentage (No. 5) while ranking first in steals (9.6). So this team can hold the Bulls somewhat in check, perhaps even more so Thursday when Bulls rookie forward Nikola Mirotic, the team's primary scorer off the bench, will sit out with a strained quad and bruised knee. He might miss Game 4 as well. That Bucks defense was very good in Game 2's 91-82 loss, holding Chicago to just 38.3 percent shooting and 36.4 percent from long range. The Bucks also had 10 steals and nine blocks. Good stuff. But they are letting Jimmy Butler kill them as he has totaled 56 points in the two games. Expect Coach Jason Kidd to turn the focus on stopping Butler first and foremost. Can Derrick Rose and/or Pau Gasol pick up the slack? The problem is that I'm not sure the Bucks can score the 95 points or so necessary to win. NBA odds makers know that Khris Middleton is a nice player, but he shouldn't be leading your team with 22 points as he did in Game 2. Michael Carter-Williams had 12 and no other player more than eight. Where is Giannis Antetokounmpo? He's 6-for-24 from the field in two games. At least stick him on Butler defensively to get something.

NBA Free Pick: 'Under.' It has hit in five of the past six meetings. The 'under' is 7-2 in the Bucks' past nine at home vs. teams with a winning road record.

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Warriors vs. Pelicans (203)
Everyone thinks of Golden State as this offensive powerhouse and indeed the Warriors finished second in the NBA in offensive efficiency. What you might not know was they were first in defensive efficiency in allowing 98.2 points per 100 possessions. The Pelicans are going backward offensively, scoring 99 points in Game 1 and 87 in Game 2. They shot just 37.8 percent from the field and 7-for-20 from long range in the second game. New Orleans is asking Anthony Davis to do everything and he appeared to wear down in Game 2, shooting 9-for-22 in his 45 minutes. The Pelicans have no choice but to play  him those heavy minutes, but the Warriors can run defensive stalwarts Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut at him all game. The Pelicans got just three points from starting guard Quincy Pondexter and four from 3-point specialist Ryan Anderson in Game 2. That said, the Pelicans scored 103 points (a win) and 122 points (OT loss) in two home games this season vs. the Warriors. The possible return of guard Jrue Holiday after missing Game 2 could only help. Keep that in mind when placing your NBA picks.

NBA Free Pick: 'Under.' It is 5-1 in the Warriors' past six on the road and 6-0 in New Orleans' past six after a loss.

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