The defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors are in a 0-2 series hole entering a pivotal Game 3 Thursday night, while the Denver Nuggets begin their quarterfinal series with the Clippers following an entertaining — and exhausting — seven-game series again the Jazz. Rob Dauster breaks down the NBA Playoff odds for Thursday night, including moneyline, spread, over/under, and player props. BetRivers.com is proud to provide over 150 live betting options per game throughout the entirety of the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Thursday Lines: BOSTON CELTICS vs. TORONTO RAPTORS
- Game 3 (6:40 p.m. ET)
- MONEYLINE: Raptors -127 | Celtics +107
- SPREAD: Raptors -2 (-110)
- OVER/UNDER: 216.5 (-110/-109)
- IMPLIED SCORE: Boston 109.25, Toronto 107.25
The Raptors had no business losing Game 2 of this series. They were up by 12 points late in the third and by eight points entering the fourth quarter. But in that final quarter, Toronto allowed Marcus Smart to hit five threes in three minutes. The Raptors’ lead vanished, and as a result, so did their chance to get this series to 1-1.
To put that into content, Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry are a combined 6-for-35 from three in two games. On the season, they’ve shot a combined 37 percent from three on 15 attempts per game.
The Celtics, as a team, have made 32 threes in two games. They are shooting 42 percent from three in the series while 46 percent of their field goal attempts have been threes. For the season, the Celtics have averaged 12 threes per game while shooting at a 36 percent clip with less than 39 percent of their field goal attempts coming from beyond the arc.
That is an extremely long-winded way of saying something simple: Regression is coming.
I love when the narratives in my head line up with the data and numbers that I’m looking at.
Toronto is the defending champs. I know things are different now that Pascal Siakam is trying (without much success) to be Kawhi Leonard, but this is still a team led by bulldogs in Lowry and VanVleet. They are still coached by one of the best in the NBA in Nick Nurse. And remember, they were down 2-0 to Giannis and the Bucks in last year’s playoffs.
This is not a team that goes away without a fight. I think we’ll see that fight tonight.
Thursday Lines: DENVER NUGGETS vs. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
- Game 1 (9:10 p.m. ET)
- MONEYLINE: Clippers -400, Nuggets +320
- SPREAD: Clippers -9 (-110)
- OVER/UNDER: 223 (-108/-113)
- IMPLIED SCORE: LA Clippers 115.5, Denver 107
On the surface, this is just a tough matchup for Denver. Getting Gary Harris back is a boost, as he’s their best two-way player, but he has just 48 minutes under his belt since March. Tossing him into a series against the NBA title favorites is not exactly ideal. And assuming that Harris is not quite at 100 percent just yet, I’m not sure where the Nuggets are going to get scoring from outside of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. Torrey Craig and Jerami Grant are likely going to see the minutes at the forward spot, unless you think Michael Porter Jr. or Paul Millsap can slow down Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
That’s problematic. We all saw how gassed the Nuggets were in Game 7 against the Jazz, and that’s before you consider A) that Murray was clearly hobbled thanks to a Joe Ingles knee that was planted in his thigh, and B) Patrick Beverley is probably to play in Game 1, and he’s precisely the kind of pest that you don’t want to see when you’re trying to play through a dead leg.
Denver will be just 46 hours removed from an emotional and draining seven-game series. The Clippers took a while to wake up against Dallas, but they closed that series out on Sunday. There is a reason this line has been bet up from -5.5 to 9 since it opened.
Along those same lines, I am also really intrigued by the team totals. Denver was a mess defensively for long stretches during the Utah series, but some of that will be cleaned up with Harris back in the fold. When Murray wasn’t going crazy, Denver couldn’t score. I just can’t see Murray popping off for a 40-burger with a bum leg, two days removed from that last series and with a healthy Beverley making his life miserable.
BetRivers.com Thursday Specials
- Nuggets & Raptors both win (+700)
- Kawhi Leonard & Nikola Jokic each record 24.5+ points and 95.+ rebounds (+800)