Celtics and Warriors stay close to Game 5
In terms of trends, Game 5 of the NBA Finals is a classic “unstoppable force vs. immovable object” game. Boston is 7-0 after a playoff loss. Golden State is 10-1 at home and wins those games by an average of 12.5 points.
So far, the finals have played out more or less exactly as I had scripted it in my head. 2-2 went back to San Francisco for Game 5. And after four games, I think we have enough information on how these two teams are playing to make some pretty accurate judgments.
For starters, Robert « Time Lord » Williams’ impact on the Celtics. Anyone who’s followed them closely knows this: Boston changed their season when they landed on how they use Williams on defense. Stick it on a lesser shooter in the corner and let it roam as one of the most devastating defenders in the league.
When he played well, Boston controlled the game (I’m including Game 4 because he played well and they were in control until clutch time). When it looks swollen (Game 2), the Dubs ran away with it. Williams asked out of the end of Game 4, looking a bit hampered.
Second, and I can’t believe I’m saying this about an NBA team with a smart coach, letting Steph Curry shoot seems like Boston’s real strategy. I thought Game 1 was a fluke. Their big ones were falling on the pick and roll and Steph was walking in threes. « It’s probably just poor execution, not the actual game plan, » I thought.
Boston seems content to shut down Curry’s teammates and force him to a place where he needs to put up 35 or more points for Golden State to win. It’s a tactic they’ve used for years against star perimeter players.
But in seven games, do you really want to bet your season on missed shots by Steph Curry?
Overall ATS record: 34-27-1
Boston Celtics (+4, +150) at Golden State Warriors (-4, -170) – 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m.
Here’s the scenario I had in mind at the start of the series: 2-2 after four games, the home team wins games 5 and 6, then the Boston Athletic wins in a one-game grindhouse 7. And I don’t stray from this. I like Golden State in Game 5.
However, I bet this line when it was Warriors -3.5 and for some reason the spread shift (it was -4.5 for a while) worries me. I don’t know if I would bet it at -4. NBA Finals games tend to get tighter as the series goes on, so I wonder if we may have seen our last victory by more than 10 points. If the line drops back down to -3.5, take the Dubs.
With that series-ending tightness in mind, it’s time to start hammering the subgames. I like BELOW 211 here, and I loved it at 212, that’s where I bet. Golden State had a scorching shot from Curry and didn’t go past 108 points. If he returns even a little to Earth without his teammates taking over, under bets become an easy win.
Remember, for all the offensive firepower on both sides, Boston and Golden State have the two best defenses in the league. Neither team has an offensive rating above 90 on half-court possessions.
Outside of the transition opportunities, it’s been a chore for both teams.
Since Boston seems content with Curry’s shot, I’m finally changing my approach to betting on the greatest shooter of all time. There’s not a ton of value unless you throw him in a parlay, but I like Steph Curry to score 25 or more (-390), and I think he’s still doing a great job. on the glass, so give me Curry MORE 5.5 rebounds.
At this point, Jayson Tatum just feels owed, so I’m taking Tatum 25 points or more (-175). Add to that my favorite gamer accessory of the year, Marcus Smart MORE 1.5 steals and blocks, and you have a Same Game Parlay that I’m pretty happy with.
And a quick term pick: There’s a narrative building that Jaylen Brown was Boston’s best player. At this point, I’d call it a coin flip if Brown or Tatum wins Finals MVP if the Celtics win the series, which makes Brown (+700) a solid value.
Sick tonight same game Parlay pays out at +1200
Game score LESS THAN 212.5
Stephen Curry 25 points or more
Jayson Tatum 25 points or more
Marcus Smart OVER 1.5 flies and blocks
· Stephen Curry MORE THAN 5.5 rebounds.
As always, play it safe and don’t chase.