Celtics (+7) @ BUCKS (219.5)
Pick: Bucks -2.5 First Quarter
Pick: Bucks -7
This is one of my favorite spots of the NBA Playoffs so far, which would explain why I’m taking the same side in two different game periods. Boston’s 112-90 victory in Game 1 was very impressive on the road. I took the Celtics on the series moneyline in this one at +255 so while I went into the series thinking Boston would advance, I can still acknowledge that the 22-point margin was at least somewhat anomalous. As a matter of fact, because Boston won so convincingly in Game 1, I don’t have a problem laying the touchdown with Milwaukee on its home floor thinking the Bucks will want to make a similar statement and win this game going away. The Bucks were a league-best 18-4 ATS off a loss in the regular season and just suffered their first loss of the playoffs. For the regular season and postseason combined, Milwaukee is 24-16 ATS when favored at home. The Celtics might have won Game 1 in impressive fashion, but this is still going to be at least a six-game series. The Bucks have to win this game and they’ll bring the necessary desperation right from tip-off which is why I like them in the first quarter as well.
Rockets (+5.5) @ WARRIORS (220.5)
Pick: Rockets +5.5
Despite being on the Raptors last night, I think from here on out betting teams that are down 0-1 ATS in Game 2 will be a profitable spot. All four conference semifinals series look to be between relatively evenly matched teams. Therefore, the team that loses the first game should come with a better effort in Game 2. If you blindly selected any two of the remaining eight teams in the association, I’m not sure there would be one team that would be able to win four out of five against the other team which is the task anyone down 0-2 is faced with. So, any team that is down 0-1 in this year’s conference semifinals needs to respond with a win in Game 2 to have a realistic chance at winning the series. It’s not rocket science, but it’s a spot we’re going to look to take advantage of for the remainder of the playoffs. There have been lots of comments from Houston about the officiating in Game 1 and it wouldn’t shock me if the Rockets were getting more close calls tonight. If anything, then there won’t be any excuses if they lose and these things tend to even out anyway. Above all else though, 5.5 points is too many to lay here. These games are going to continue to come down to the final minute of play, and you always want points in your back pocket in those kinds of matchups. I like Houston to get even on Tuesday, so picking ATS here gives me a 5.5-point cushion.