The total for Game 4 of the NBA Finals has dropped to 193 points – that's more than 10 points below the basketball odds for Game 1. This could be the time to “buy low.”
Jason’s record as of June 10: 81-85-5 ATS, 22-23 Totals, +0.15 units ML, 6-4 Series (+2.0 units)
Sweet, sweet playoff basketball. You gotta love it – especially if you've been betting the UNDER with the Golden State Warriors. They're up to 13-4-1 in the postseason after Tuesday's 96-91 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers (UNDER 194.5). And the way both teams have been playing in the NBA Finals, we can expect another low-scoring affair when they meet Thursday night (9:00 p.m. ET, ABC) for Game 4.
The books understand market expectations. They opened at 192.5 or 193 points on Thursday's NBA odds board, depending on where you shop, and as we go to press, our early consensus reports show an even 50/50 split at the higher total. We've had great success pounding the UNDER thus far. So naturally, we're going to put the OVER in our Game 4 basketball picks. What what?!
The madness has to stop sometime. Taking the UNDER was an easy choice in Game 1, when the total was 203.5 points. And it remained an easy choice in both Game 2 and Game 3, even while the total was getting driven down. Now's the time when we jump off the bandwagon. The Warriors have played just two games all season with a total lower than Tuesday's 194.5 points. The OVER cashed in both times. Small sample size, yes, but this illustrates how we've arrived at the extreme low end of Golden State's over/under spectrum.
Meanwhile, the Warriors have given us a glimmer of what might happen in Game 4, and his name is David Lee. He got his first taste of action in these Finals on Tuesday, and he came through with 11 points in 13 minutes off the bench, as Golden State nearly erased a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter. It's always nice to have a spare All-Star on your bench for situations like this.
The Way Will Be Opening
We're not sure how much extra burn Lee is going to get in Game 4, and of course, he's not likely to be as prolific in the first three quarters, while the Cavaliers still have some gas in the tank. But Lee's ability to run the pick-and-roll with Stephen Curry should open things up for the Warriors.
With the totals dipping as low as they have, it's not like the Warriors need much extra offense to get the OVER to the pay window. They've been getting their shots in this series; Curry had another slow start on Tuesday, but things got better with Lee on the court, and they got better still as the Cavaliers faded yet again in the fourth quarter. Adding Lee to the mix should also help spell Draymond Green, who shot just 2-of-10 in Game 3, battling foul trouble as well as a bad back.
Five More Minutes
At the other end, the Cavaliers are still getting away with balls-out defense and heavy isolation through LeBron James on offense. But they keep running out of steam in the fourth quarter. The more energy they expend, the sooner they're going to burn out. Matthew Dellavedova needed to stay at a hospital overnight after cramping up at the end of Game 3. Iman Shumpert suffered a bruised shoulder. How well will they defend in Game 4?
At least they didn't have to play overtime Tuesday night. But they did in the first two games, and with the Warriors favored by 2.5 points as we go to press, it wouldn't surprise anyone if we see another overtime game on Thursday. All the more reason to switch sides for Game 4 and put the OVER in our NBA picks, at the best price we can find.
Free NBA Pick: Take OVER 193 (–103) at Pinnacle