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The playoffs are a different sports betting animal, there's simply no other way to put. These lines get super efficient and a half point here or half point there can truly affect the outcome of your bets. A lot of people like to use regular season matchups for handicapping the playoffs, but we're honestly not a big fan of it.
We're not a fan of it because we all know the regular season has its issue with teams not trying in all the games or teams with unequal rest facing off, and we see higher variance because of that. In the playoffs you see the same team over a 12-14 day period with the same amount of rest between games and with minutes being consistently spread out. With that being said, let’s dive into these two Western Conference teams and see what we can glean from the 2021 playoffs in order to make smarter, more profitable bets.
With CP3 in COVID-19 protocol still, the Phoenix Suns had a close game with the Los Angeles Clippers. We believe CP3 being out is good for these Suns, not because they're a better team without him, but because it gives them a chance to develop on their own. Now, when he does come back, these players have a little experience and a little more confidence to deliver in big moments, and that could itself go a very long way.
The Suns have seen been both a high scoring and low(er) scoring series so far through two rounds as well in the playoffs. When looking at the official numbers, the Suns' games have averaged the following so far:
- 52.82 points in the 1st quarter
- 103.82 points in the 1st half
- 110 points in the 2nd half
- 111.82 points for
- 102 points against
- 213.82 total points
- 51.6 points in the 1st quarter
- 110.4 points in the 1st half
- 118.2 points in the 2nd half
- 121.2 points for
- 107.4 points against
- 228.6 total points
As much as we like unders for the playoffs on average, the Clippers haven’t skipped a beat (offensively, at least), without Kawhi Leonard and expect this Western Finals series to continue to be high scoring also.
We also highly doubt Kawhi comes back, at the very least back for this WCF series, and until he plays significant minutes in a game, the rest is just noise to me. The Clippers have had some questionable starts to their series matchups in Round 1 and Round 2, but they still ended up winning. While we don’t believe you can sustain a consistent playoff campaign going down 0-2 every round, they've been able to get it done but I don't expect that to get done again here without their best player. For the Clippers, we don’t need to adjust for the opponents like we did above with the Suns, since the Clippers didn’t face any team with a star player going down mid-series like the Suns faced with Anthony Davis going down for L.A.
- 58.07 points in the 1st quarter
- 116.64 points in the 1st half
- 107.86 points in the 2nd half
- 115.14 points for
- 109.36 points against
- 224.5 total points
Again, we want to be looking to overs in this series because both teams can score consistently and thus force the other team to run with them. With that in mind, if these games are clearing the over, expect the books to start 'over'-adjusting. We all know Playoff P was a running joke, but without Kawhi he has picked up the scoring slack and will be interesting to see if can continue his run of over 30.5 points props.
Until then, and with the current game 2 total set at 223, there is still ample opportunity for the over here tonight. Here's how Game 1 broke down between these two ball clubs and how they're playoff combined averages look so far compared to the lines tonight for Game 2 in Phoenix from DraftKings Sportsbook:
- 54.84 points in the 1st quarter
- 113.52 points in the 1st half
- 113.03 points in the 2nd half
- 118.17 points for
- 108.38 points against
- 226.55 total points
Suns/Clippers Game 1 Total Results:
- 42 points in the 1st quarter
- 111 points in the 1st half
- 123 points in the 2nd half
- 120 points for (Suns)
- 114 points for (Clippers)
- 234 total points
DraftKings Sportsbook Totals For Game 2:
- 55.5 - 1st quarter total
- 111.5 - 1st half total
- 111.5 - 2nd half total
- 114 - Suns Implied
- 109 - Clippers Implied Total
- 223 - Game Total
Statistical Advantages For Best Bets In Game 2:
- Clippers +1.5 (1st Quarter Spread)
- Over 223 (Game Total)
These teams obviously got off to slow starts in Game 1, and it's understandable given no CP3, no Kawhi and the Clippers coming off a tough series upset win in Game 6 of Round 2 over the Utah Jazz at home and then traveling on the road to Phoenix here. But the scoring picked up - and fast - in the second and third quarters of this game, with both teams scoring exactly 72 points apiece (144 total) before slowing down again in the fourth quarter. The third quarter specifically saw the most points (75 total vs. 69 in the second quarter) and we see that these totals/trends matchup similarly to what the Suns have done all along, which is scoring roughly 8 more points per game in the second half vs. the first half. At home again in Game 2, and with some serious motivation to maintain home court advantage, we can certainly look to the Suns to replicate the same type of pace and tempo that they had both in Game 1 and overall for the postseason. While we certainly do like the over on both team totals for this game, we like the game total over 223 more given the recent trend lines and situation, as well as the Clippers to continue their run of being a higher first-quarter scoring team on average than the Suns (by nearly 7 points per quarter), as well as the game total of 223, which is 5 points lower than Suns' playoff games on average and a full 1.5 lower than the Clippers' games on average. In a playoff atmosphere where the further we get the lines will only get sharper and sharper, these are the statistical advantages we will be looking for to make our plays.