The last of our quarterfinal series will get underway tonight when the Utah Jazz take on the Los Angeles Clippers. I believe that game holds considerable betting value, and I’ve identified two props that I believe are safe picks for that matchup.
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1. Jazz Under 112.5 | -110 at FD Sportsbook
I that this total is a point or two too high. That’s because the Jazz struggled to clear it against the Clippers in the regular season — they finished with 106 (Jan. 1), 114 (Feb. 17), and 112 (Feb. 19) points in those matchups. That’s good for 110.7 points per game, a nose below this total. Also, neither Kawhi Leonard nor Paul George played in the lone game in which the Jazz surpassed this total.
Although the Jazz score the third-most points per game (116.9), the Clippers allow the third-fewest (107.7). By combining strong defensive efficiency and the NBA’s third-slowest pace, the Clippers can limit their opponents’ offensive production. We saw this in the last series, as the Dallas Mavericks surpassed this total only twice while averaging 106 points per game.
Assuming this game goes like these teams’ regular-season meetings, the Jazz’s offensive efficiency should regress closer to 112.9, down from their second-best 115.2. And since they’re likely to get fewer than 100 possessions against a team like the Clippers, they should safely stay under this total barring overtime.
2. Nicolas Batum Over 1.5 Made Threes | +128 at FD Sportsbook
The Los Angeles Clippers pivoted heavily away from Ivica Zubac against the Mavericks. They opted for a small-ball lineup that featured Batum at the five, and, while it’s no guarantee that they’ll roll out the same lineup tonight, it would make sense against a team built like the Jazz.
Should the Clippers start Batum at center again, he could easily surpass this total. The Clippers got their one win against the Jazz by forcing Rudy Gobert to choose between allowing points in the paint and uncontested threes, as Cole Huff pointed out in The Athletic, and that could create opportunities for Batum to sink a pair of long-range shots.
Batum cleared this over in three of his seven games against the Mavericks, too. If the Clippers want to make three-point shots, they’ll need their bigs to capitalize — the Jazz surrender the fewest made threes per game (10.8) but the third-most to opposing centers (1.21).
3. Clint Capela Under 12.5 Points | -118 at FD Sportsbook
The Philadelphia 76ers surrender the fewest points per game to opposing centers (19.2). We can attribute that to strong defensive play from Joel Embiid — the big man owns a +4.5 defensive RAPTOR rating, and he should be able to contain Capela this evening.
We’ve already seen Embiid limit Capela, as Capela scored just 11 points in Game 1. Capela never cleared this threshold against Embiid in the regular season, either, as he finished with 12 (Jan. 11), 9 (Apr. 28), and 11 (Apr. 30) points in those contests.
The juice is clearly on the under with this prop, but I don’t mind taking it because we’ve yet to see Capela cash the over.
Today’s Plus-Money Prop: Nicolas Batum Over 10.5 Points | +164 at FD Sportsbook
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