Sunday’s NBA playoffs betting preview and odds

The San Antonio Spurs and the Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance to be the first teams to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs Sunday. We break down all the action in our betting preview.

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies (+12.5, 183)

Spurs lead series 3-0

The second-seeded San Antonio Spurs look to complete a four-game sweep of Memphis when they visit the Grizzlies on Sunday. San Antonio rolled to easy victories in the first two games and swatted aside Memphis’ determined effort in Game 3 while posting a 96-87 victory.

Spurs All-Star small forward Kawhi Leonard had a monster outing in Game 3 as he made six 3-pointers and had 32 points, seven rebounds, five blocked shots and four steals. “Kawhi Leonard’s got to be one of the top two, top three, players in the league at both ends,” Memphis forward Zach Randolph told reporters. “That kid is the silent assassin.” Randolph was quieted by the San Antonio defense in the first two games but delivered a better effort in Game 3 with 20 points and 11 rebounds and the Grizzlies don’t figure to lay down as they aim to avoid the sweep. “They’re going to fight until the end, so we’ve got to come out Sunday even more physical and more intense and match their energy,” said Spurs small forward Danny Green, “because we know they’ll come out with more than they did (Friday).”

1 p.m. ET, ABC

Its not looking good for the Grizzlies, who on the brink on elimination, opened as 13-point home pups. They have since been bet down to +12.5. The total opened at 183 and has yet to move off that number. Check out the complete line history here.


ABOUT THE SPURS (70-15, 46-39 ATS, 35-48-2 O/U): Leonard is averaging 21.7 points in the series but is making an even bigger impact on the defensive end with averages of 3.3 steals and three blocked shots. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year has altered numerous other Memphis shots and has repeatedly jammed up passing lanes to highlight San Antonio’s defensive prowess. All-Star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge has scored in double digits in all three games but hasn’t had a big outing while averaging 14.3 points.    

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (42-43, 43-41-1 ATS, 45-38-2 O/U):
Memphis is averaging just 76.3 points and shooting 37.7 percent from the field in the series and only Randolph (12.3) and veteran swingman Vince Carter (10.3) are averaging in double digits. The Grizzlies went to a smaller lineup for most of Game 3 and that alignment included Randolph at center and Matt Barnes playing power forward in an attempt to improve the offensive efficiency. Randolph is shooting just 33.3 percent in the series and Barnes’ accuracy has been even worse – 30.3 while averaging 9.3 points.


* Spurs are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 6-0 in Spurs last six versus Southwest Division opponents.
* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings overall.

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets (+8.5, 217.5)

Warriors lead series 2-1

The first-round series between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors is starting to get testy and controversial. The Rockets will try to build on their contested victory in Game 3 and even the series at two wins apiece when they host the Warriors in Game 4 on Sunday.

Houston pulled out a 97-96 victory on James Harden’s basket with 2.7 seconds remaining in Game 3 on Thursday, only to have the NBA come out on Friday and say the shot shouldn’t have counted because Harden initiated contact with Golden State forward Andre Iguodala before releasing the ball. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey fired off a pair of tweets during and after the game questioning the officiating and Warriors forward Draymond Green was given a retroactive flagrant foul 1 on Friday for his conduct in the final second of Game 3. Houston pulled out the one-point win after seldom-used Golden State guard Ian Clark had given his team the lead with 10 seconds remaining while absorbing the crunch-time minutes that usually go to superstar Stephen Curry, who missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle. Curry dressed for Game 3 but was ruled out by the coaching staff and coach Steve Kerr said Saturday that Curry will play in Game 4.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

LINE HISTORY: The Rockets opened as 6.5-point home dogs, but with Curry’s expected retuen to the lineup in Game 4, the line has moved to Rockets +8.5. The total has also seen some predictable movement, going from 216 to 217.5. Check out the complete line history here.


ABOUT THE WARRIORS (75-10, 47-36-2 ATS, 46-38-1 O/U): Curry tried to talk his way into the lineup in Game 3 before being overruled by the staff but went through practice on Friday and Saturday and declared himself ready to go. “It’s not pain. It’s like soreness that comes along with all that my ankle’s been through,” Curry told reporters. “It’s kind of to be expected and I see it as, this is kind of my playoff thing. Everybody has something they’re dealing with in some way shape or form. It’s stable … no swelling or anything, so I can do everything I need to do.” Green struggled to nine points, seven rebounds, seven assists and seven turnovers in Game 3 while fellow All-Star Klay Thompson went 0-of-7 from 3-point range.

ABOUT THE ROCKETS (42-43, 38-47 ATS, 48-37 O/U): Houston had no issues with Harden’s game-winner immediately following the win and suggested it was par for the course for the superstar. “The last shot was typical of what James does,” interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters in the post-game press conference. “The move we’ve seen before, the finish we’ve seen before, the hold of the ball we’ve seen before. You do get spoiled by it. At times, in these moments, the biggest of moments, you can’t but help but appreciate it.” Harden, who drew some criticism for not being aggressive enough after failing to go to the free-throw line in Game 1 and making only one trip to the line in the second half of Game 2, finished with 35 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in Game 3 while going 9-of-11 from the line.


* Warriors are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games.
* Under is 6-0 in Warriors last six road games.
* Under is 6-1 in Rockets last seven games following a straight up win.

Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics (-2, 203.5)

Hawks lead series 2-1

The Boston Celtics made their way back into the series behind 42 points and some controversy from All-Star Isaiah Thomas. The point guard managed to escape without a suspension after appearing to hit Atlanta point guard Dennis Schroder in the face, and the Celtics will try to even the series at two wins apiece when they host the Hawks on Sunday.

Schroder and Thomas battled back and forth in Game 3 and Thomas sent a hand toward Schroder’s face in the first quarter after the two were assessed technical fouls for jawing at each other. The refs missed the hit to the face but did catch Schroder knocking Thomas down seconds later. “I still feel disrespected (about) what he did,” Schroder told reporters after the decision to hand Thomas a flagrant 1 foul on Saturday. “I (had) just scored a basket and tried to go back on defense and he smacked me. It had nothing to do with basketball.” Thomas’ career-high 42 points were the key to Boston’s 111-103 victory which got the team back into the series after a pair of terrible offensive performances in the first two games.

6 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), CSN New England (Boston)

LINE HISTORY: The Celtics opened as 2-point home favorites for Game 4 and the line hasn’t yet to move off that number. The total opened st 204.5 and has been bet down one point to 203.5. Check out the complete line history here.


ABOUT THE HAWKS (50-35, 43-41-1 ATS, 39-46 O/U): Atlanta was down 17 at the end of the first quarter on Friday and trailed by as much as 19 early in the third before battling back and taking the game down to the wire. “It was going to be tough to sweep this team anyway,” Hawks forward Kent Bazemore told reporters. “Being down 2-0 and them having a home game, we knew they were going to put up a fight. We know that we’ve got to do a lot better. Our defense wasn’t where it should have been for a chunk of a game.” Bazemore has sandwiched a pair of 20-point outings around a 2-of-14 effort in Game 2.

ABOUT THE CELTICS (49-36, 44-40-1 ATS, 40-45 O/U):
Boston is still without starting shooting guard Avery Bradley (hamstring) and switched up the lineup in Game 3 in an effort to coax some more offense out of the team, inserting Jonas Jerebko and Evan Turner. Those two combined for 28 points and spaced the floor for Thomas, who attacked the basket and joined Hall of Famers like Larry Bird and John Havlicek as Celtics who have gone for 40 or more points in the playoffs. “I’m just glad we got the win, first and foremost,” Thomas told reporters. “But, I mean, that makes me feel happy, just to be in same category of those great players and I just want to follow in the footsteps of all the Celtics greats.”


* Hawks are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games.
* Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a ATS win.
* Under is 4-1 in Hawks last five games overall.
* Under is 12-3 in Celtics last 15 games following a straight up win.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons (+6.5, 198.5)

Cavaliers lead series 3-0

The Cleveland Cavaliers continue to dominate Detroit in the postseason and look to finish off a four-game sweep of the host Pistons in Sunday’s first-round contest. Cleveland has won 11 consecutive playoff games against Detroit, one off the postseason record held by the Los Angeles Lakers, who defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in 12 straight playoff games from 1980-89.

The Cavaliers took the commanding 3-0 lead with a 101-91 victory on Friday when point guard Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and forwards LeBron James and Kevin Love each scored 20. “I think right now we’re in a great flow as far as us three,” James told reporters. “When we’re on the floor we understand what we want individually and as a team. Guys are picking their spots.” Being swept would leave Detroit with 10 consecutive playoff losses since a victory against the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the 2008 Eastern Conference finals. Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson is averaging just 14.7 points in the series – more than four below his regular-season average – and was just 1-of-8 from 3-point range in the Game 3 loss.

8:30 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Ohio (Cleveland), FSN Detroit

The Pistons opened as 6.5-point home favorites and have yet to move off that number. The total has also not moved off its opening number of 198.5. Check out the complete line history here.


ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (60-25, 39-43-3 ATS, 42-43 O/U): The trio of James, Irving and Love are meshing and Detroit hasn’t figured out how to slow any of the three. Love has also been a force on the boards with three consecutive double-doubles while averaging 21.3 points and 11.7 rebounds, and Irving is averaging a team-best 26.3 points. James is averaging 22.3 points and had 13 rebounds and seven assists in Game 3 despite being just 8-of-24 shooting after making 21-of-35 over the first two games.

ABOUT THE PISTONS (44-41, 43-40-2 ATS, 43-42 O/U): All-Star center Andre Drummond spent most of the fourth quarter on the bench in Game 3 as his porous free-throw shooting again was a problem. Drummond was 1-of-6 from the line in Game 3 – he is 6-for-24 in the series – and only played 93 seconds in the final stanza as coach Stan Van Gundy couldn’t afford to give possessions away. “Yeah, because you can’t do anything with him,” Van Gundy told reporters. “He can’t run to set a screen, he can’t do anything. You’ve just got opportunities to foul him. Now would they have [fouled]? I don’t know. But I gave him one possession – we’re behind. We can’t go down and play for zero points.”


* Cavaliers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games playing on one days rest.
* Road team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
* Under is 5-1 in Pistons last six home games.
* Under is 5-1 in Cavaliers last six Conference Quarterfinals games.


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