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Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls NBA Playoffs Betting Pick from Teddy Covers: April 28th 2017

Boston Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls
NBA Playoffs Betting Pick: Boston -2.5 points (April 28th 2017)

Even after the line move towards the Celtics in early betting action, I’m still expecting Boston to close out this series with a Game 6 victory tonight.  The results don’t lie.  The Bulls covered the spread in Games 1 & 2 by 10.5 points and 21.5 points, winning outright as underdogs both times.

Then point guard Rajon Rondo broke his thumb, forced to sit out.  The Bulls hung 106 and 111 points in the first two games with Rondo distributing the basketball extremely effectively, as Chicago notched 50 assists in those two ballgames.  They notched only 31 combined assists in Games 3 and 4 with Jerian Grant, then Isaiah Canaan starting at point guard.

Grant was benched completely by Game 5, getting a ‘DNP coaches decision’.   Canaan got ‘DNP-coaches decision’ 29 times in the regular season, and he played more than 20 minutes of gametime only once since December.  Yet the last two games, Canaan has played more than 70 minutes of floor time.  He has a grand total of three assists in those 70+ minutes.

Weak point guard play is a problem at any time of the year.  When it comes to close-out game in a playoff series, weak point guard play is, quite frankly, an insurmountable obstacle.  It’s not like the Bulls consistently dug deep at home, enjoying a strong home court edge at the United Center this year.  We saw them lose their only two home playoff games this year in non-competitive fashion.

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To make matters even worse for the Bulls, their lone superstar (sorry, Dwayne Wade is no superstar at this stage of his career), Jimmy Butler, is dealing with an ankle injury.  Butler took 23 free throw attempts in Game 4, consistently and aggressively taking the ball to the hole.  In Game 5 , he couldn’t drive, settling for just a single free throw attempt.  That’s yet another problem for Chicago moving forward.

With Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart, Brad Stevens has three solid defensive options at the wing to keep Butler in check tonight, just as they did in Game 5.  And there’s no questioning Boston’s closeout mentality for Game 6.  Bradley’s quote speaks volumes: “We believe in one another. We went to Chicago knowing we were going to win those games, not hoping. Now it’s our job to continue. Play the same way and finish the series in Chicago.”  Take the Celtics.

NBA Playoffs: Ness betting the Bucks -1 point over the Raptors on April 27th 2017

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Toronto Raptors
NBA Playoffs Pick: Milwaukee -1 (April 27th 2017)

Postseason success hasn’t exactly been a hallmark of the Toronto Raptors but for that matter, the Bucks haven’t won a playoff series 2001. Toronto played its best game of the series on Monday, winning 118-93 to seize a 3-2 series advantage.Going to a three-guard lineup didn’t seem like much of a big deal in Game 4 (Toronto scored just 87 points in an 11-point win) but in Game 5, Norman Powell erupted for 25 points, while the team’s regular starting backcourt of DeRozan (18) and Lowry (16) combined for 34 points.

“You can talk about it but you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to play. You’ve got to know how it feels to get your (expletive) kicked, right? And that’s what happened (Monday),” head coach Jason Kidd told reporters. “Being a young team, we were in that position in Game 3 (winning big). We have to understand what took place so we know what we have to do come Game 6.” Milwaukee is looking to overcome a recent history of embarrassing Game 6 failures at home, which includes a 120-66 loss to Chicago in 2014 and an 83-69 setback against Atlanta in 2010.

Click here for check out Brandon Shively’s Over-Under pick for this game.

Here’s the rub. The Bucks have to win to avoid losing their eighth consecutive playoff series (dating back to 2001). However, Toronto is 0-3 under Dwane Casey when it has had the chance to end a series in six games. Nothing changes here. It was Toronto’s ‘day’ in Game 5 and its Milwaukee’s turn to ‘shine’ here in Game 6. Take the home team.

Jazz vs. Clippers Point Spread Prediction from Scott Rickenbach: April 25th 2017

Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers
NBA Point Spread Pick: Jazz +3.5 (April 25th 2017)

Scott “The Bulldog” Rickenbach NBA Tuesday Free Pick Utah Jazz (+) @ Los Angeles Clippers @ 10:35 ET – It looks easy to take the home team minus the short number to bounce back off of a loss. Of course we all know what generally happens when something looks a little too easy. The fact is that nothing is easy and, in this particular case, I like the value with the points being offered as the Clippers certainly aren’t the same team without Blake Griffin. The road team and home team have alternated wins and losses so far in this series and I look for that pattern to continue here.

The Clippers are on a 2-5 ATS run the last 3 seasons when tied up in a playoff series and all the pressure is on them to win here at home and take this crucial Game 5. As has been evidenced in prior playoff series, the Clips don’t often handle pressure very well. As for the Jazz, they are shooting the ball very well right now and also are off of their best game on the boards in Game 4. Certainly Griffin’s absence in Game 4 helped sway the battle of the boards to be a little more in favor of the Jazz and I look for that trend to continue tonight. The Jazz are loose, confident, and healthier than the Clippers. That is the perfect recipe for a dangerous dog. Free Pick on the UTAH JAZZ in late night Tuesday NBA action. Best of luck, Scott “The Bulldog” Rickenbach