Bucks (-12) @ Pistons (218)
Pick: First quarter over 53.5
Blake Griffin returned to the lineup on Saturday for the Pistons, but it didn’t seem to matter. Milwaukee had its way with Detroit for the third straight game in this series and is likely to complete the sweep on Monday. Despite the success of favorites so far in the NBA playoffs, I have a hard time thinking this cover doesn’t come down to the final minutes and by that point, the line is so high that the regulars for Milwaukee might be out of the game. Where Griffin’s return helped Detroit the most was on the offensive end of the floor. The Pistons eclipsed the century mark for the first time this series and Griffin was their leading scorer with 27 points. I hope you’re reading this handicap for better insight other than a team’s best player helps them score more points, but that is indeed true. In an elimination game, I like the Pistons to get off to a good start tonight. However, Detroit has been a mess defensively all series, so I’ll gladly go over the first quarter total in this one.
Rockets (-2.5) @ Jazz (214)
Pick: Under 214
Utah seemed to turn the corner on defense in Game 3 but it wasn’t enough to get on the board in this series as the Rockets appear to be on a mission to not only get to a matchup with Golden State but avenge last year’s loss in seven games in the Western Conference Finals. However, Quin Synder’s team has too much pride to roll over despite being down 0-3. The line’s about right here with Houston as 2.5-point chalk. It makes sense given the Rockets won Game 3 in Salt Lake City as an underdog. I’d lean to Houston if betting the side in this one, but still give the Jazz a chance to live to see another day. If Utah’s going to do just that, it will need to defend the way it did on Saturday and keep the game in the low 100s. For at least one more game in this series, the Jazz will do that and this game lands under 214.