By Justin "Smoove" Everett
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Utah Jazz vs. L.A. Clippers (-164 @ FanDuel)
When the news came out that Kawhi Leonard had actually suffered a ACL injury and he’d be out indefinitely, the line for Game 5 shot up to -8.5. The market basically gave the Clippers no chance to win the game (and to lose the series as well), but Paul George had a sensational game in leading Los Angeles to an outright win and a 3-2 series lead. The Clippers are now the favorites to win this series even without Kawhi set to return, and they've given themselves two chances to win one game in order to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The role players of the Clippers had great games in Kawhi’s absence, and I believe there could be some regression for some of those players in Game 6, therefore giving the Utah Jazz a chance to force a Game 7 back in Utah. We’ve seen some weird things from this Clippers team during the postseason, ranging from losing their first two home games in the 1st round against the Dallas Mavericks, then winning that series in seven games and now going on the road against the Jazz in front of a sold out crowd without their best player to take a 3-2 series lead. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them lose Game 6 at home and then go on the road again and win Game 7, but either way I expect them to advance and move to the next round, so either the series price of -164 or Game 6 ML price of +108 give us value here.
Like: Clippers To Win The Series (-164)
Nets vs. Bucks (-102 @ FanDuel)
Even though the Nets held a 3-2 series lead after Durant's historic playoff performances in Game 5, I still expected the Bucks to win Game 6 (they did) and be a live dog to win this series. Milwaukee started this series with some serious offensive struggles for three straight games, but over the last two games they’ve been a lot better and more balanced with the ball, and in Game 5 they finally got a great performance from Jrue Holiday, which they desperately needed for the long run in the playoffs. The Bucks' defense has also maintained a good enough level of play, with the obvious exception of Kevin Durant having one of the best playoff performances I’ve seen in a long time. But the Nets also got a great performance from Jeff Green in that Game 5 win, and while Green is a good shooter I expect some regression in his near future from the behind the three-point line. The Bucks proved that they can play well enough to win on the road in Brooklyn, so now that they're going back for Game 7 they’ll have the confidence factor on their side.
Like: Bucks To Win Game 7 (-102)
76ers vs. Hawks (-162 @ FanDuel)
After the Hawks pulled off a 26-point playoff comeback on the road in Game 5, you have to question the mindset of the 76ers right now. Outside of Game 1 when the Hawks where red hot from the three-point line and stole a win on the road, the 76ers had played well enough to build a 15+ point lead in all four games. The problem is, however, that they were only able to win two of those four games. Atlanta already had the confidence they needed coming into this series and after that Game 1 upset, but after their recent comeback win in Game 5 I expect that they now believe in themselves to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. I look for Atlanta to treat Game 6 like a Game 7, because the Hawks don’t want to go back to Philadelphia and actually play a Game 7. Trae Young has been amazing in his playoff career debut in averaging 29 PPG and 10 APG, improving in both categories from the regular season, and the Hawks have also been one of the top two teams at home during the regular season in going 28-12 SU and 26-14 ATS. That hasn’t changed during the playoffs either, with ATL going 3-1 SU and ATS at home. The Hawks will have another sold out crowd on Friday, and they’ll be loud from start to finish. With Atlanta’s “never give up attitude,” plus Philadelphia’s lack of mental toughness, I believe this series will come to an end.
Like: Hawks To Win Game 6 +128