We’ve got another full day of basketball on Sunday, and it might be one of the last few slates of the year with four games. Two teams will be looking to complete sweeps, while another two teams will be looking to take massive 3-1 series leads.
The slate gets underway with the 76ers vs. the Celtics at 1:00 p.m. ET and wraps up with the Jazz vs. the Nuggets at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Here are four of my favorite bets to target on Sunday’s slate.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics
Celtics -8.5 (-110)
The 76ers have been an absolute disaster offensively in the playoffs. They rank 12th in Net Rating and dead last in effective FG%, and their shot profile is counterintuitive to everything we know about modern basketball. They’ve attempted the highest frequency of shots from the midrange during the playoffs and the lowest frequency of shots from behind the arc. With that in mind, don’t expect a lot of progression in today’s contest.
The 76ers are also down 3-0 in this series, and no team in NBA history has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit. They may just opt to fold up shop after coming up short while giving their best effort in Game 3. Since 2006, teams that are up 3-0 in a series have posted a record of 34-25-4 against the spread in Game 4.
Expect the Celtics to take care of business.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Clippers:
Clippers -8.5 (-118)
The status of Luka Doncic is obviously going to play a huge role in Sunday’s contest. He left Friday’s game with an ankle injury, and he did not look good while exiting the building. According to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, the early indications are that it is just a mild sprain, but the team is still evaluating the situation.
If he’s ruled out, the Mavs will struggle to keep up with one of the best teams in basketball. The Clippers have been ridiculously good with the three-man combo of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Marcus Morris on the court this season, posting a Net Rating of +18.4 points per 100 possessions.
The biggest weakness for the Clippers in this series has been their bench play, but Doc Rivers was able to alleviate that problem in Game 3 by inserting Landry Shamet into the starting lineup. That allowed Reggie Jackson to shift back to the bench where he could operate as one of the focal points for the reserve unit.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors
Raptors -12.5 (-109)
The Raptors are another team that are looking to close out a sweep on Sunday, and it would be very surprising if that didn’t happen. The bigger question is whether or not they’ll be able to cover the spread.
Ultimately, I think they can get the job done.
Not only do they fit the same above trend as the Celtics, but the Nets’ roster is basically bare at this point. They were already playing without Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Deandre Jordan. Also, Joe Harris was forced to leave the bubble after Game 2 for personal reasons. They’re going to need a monster performance from Caris LeVert just to stay competitive, and that might not even be enough.
Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets
Under 215.0 (-109)
The Nuggets have been absolutely exposed in this series on the defensive end of the court. The Jazz have scored at least 124 points in each of their first three games, and the Jazz rank first in effective FG% by a wide margin during the postseason.
That said, they are almost certainly due for some regression moving forward. Their expected effective FG% is nearly 8.5% lower than their actual mark.
On the other side, the Nuggets are also due for some regression on the offensive end. They rank eighth in effective FG% and 15th in expected effective FG%.
When two teams who are prime regression candidates meet, the under seems like a sharp play. These two teams also combined for a 91.2 pace in their last game, which is absolutely snail-like.
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