NBA betting market report: Daily picks, advice for Sunday 5/15

By Jonathan Von Tobel  (Senior NBA Analyst) 

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Welcome to the daily NBA betting market report, your source for analysis on the betting lines for the day in professional hoops. For updates throughout the day follow me on Twitter, or check out The Edge daily at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT.

All game lines via VSiN NBA Odds page.

Market Report for Sunday, May 15th

*Lines are opening numbers

Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics (-5, 209.5)

Game 7: Series tied 3-3

We might need a seventh game to determine a winner here, but for me the Boston Celtics have been the better and more consistent team throughout this series. Boston comes into this winner-take-all contest with a + 4.2 net rating in non-garbage time minutes and a 4-2 ATS record in the series. The Bucks have the worst non-garbage time offensive rating in the conference semifinals (105.5) because of how well the Celtics have played defensively. Meanwhile, Boston seems to have found its stride offensively, averaging 116.4 points per 100 possessions over the last three games while shooting 36.9% from beyond the arc, 16.0% of which have been considered wide-open by the NBA tracking data. Boston has had the upper hand in this series since Game 4, but its execution has been subpar, and Giannis Antetokounmpo has refused to back down.

Over the last four games of this series Antetokounmpo has averaged 40.0 points and 15.3 rebounds per game on 50.4% shooting from the floor. It’s painfully obvious that Boston has no answer on defense for the two-time MVP, but that has not mattered as the rest of the Bucks have yet to contribute consistently. Over the course of those same four games Milwaukee’s bench has averaged just 22.5 points per game, Jrue Holiday has hit just 34.4% of his attempts and Brook Lopez has been held to 8 points over the last two games. Unless Holiday, along with a short bench, finally shows up to give Antetokounmpo some assistance its hard to see an efficient offensive performance from Milwaukee here today.

The number here has not budged at all, and it is still in line with how this series has been priced. Boston obviously deserves to be favored on its homecourt, and with that being priced at 3 points this is an accurate number. The total is the lowest its been all series and is down to 206 at most shops which is 12.5 points lower than what the closing number was in the first game of this series. The betting market is always strong on Unders in Game 7 scenarios, and according to our own Steve Makinen in conference semifinal Game 7s the Under is 6-3 since 2013 

Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns (-6, 210.5)

Game 7: Series tied 3-3

Through six games the Phoenix Suns have outscored Dallas by 2.2 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes, but there is a real argument to made that it is the Mavericks who come into this game with the advantage. Dallas might have a negative net rating for the series, but over the last four games they have outscored Phoenix by 5.7 points per 100 possessions and they are 3-1 SU and ATS across those contests. Their offense has found its footing, using a five-out approach to attack the Suns on defense. As a result, the Mavericks are averaging 25.7 catch and shoot 3-point attempts per game, and they are shooting 40.9% on those shots. That approach is allowing Dallas to generate uncontested looks as well, with 24.6% of their 3-point attempts considered wide-open by the tracking data. Phoenix will have to hold up on defense to win this game tonight, but they will also have to deal with the hounding Mavericks defense.

Over the course of the last four games Dallas has limited Phoenix to 106.3 points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time minutes and forced turnovers on 18.3% of their offensive possessions. At the center of those struggles is Chris Paul who has been extremely poor over the last four games. Paul has averaged just 9.3 points on 7.0 attempts per game with 18 total turnovers. Dallas has a slew of defensive options for Paul, including Frank Ntilikina who has improved the Mavericks’ defensive rating by 15.0 points per 100 possessions when he is on the floor.  It’s obviously easy to point to three of these four games being in Dallas, but the Mavericks have shown more consistency on the road than Phoenix has this series, posting a 108.3 offensive rating in Phoenix compared to 103.8 for the Suns on the road.

This all leads me to the road team here. Luka Doncic is an incredible playoff performer who has averaged 39.0 points per game when facing elimination in his career. Their offensive gameplan is replicable on the road, and their shot quality numbers would suggest a much better showing on the road than the results have shown. The betting market has pushed this to 6.5 at most shops, so for this article I will use 6.5 as the best bet but I will be holding out to see if 7 or better becomes available. As far as the total is concerned, this number of 205 is 10 points lower than the average closing total of 215 in this series, but that is the price of an elimination game in the NBA.

Play: Mavericks (+ 6.5)

Best Bet Summary

Mavericks (+ 6.5)

Season Record: 96-76-2

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