Return to this tried and true betting strategy for NBA Finals Game 6, plus other best bets for Thursday

I don’t want the NBA Finals to end tonight. Not because I’ve got a title future on the Celtics, but because I’m envisioning an epic sports Sunday. Picture it: we’ll spend our Sunday watching the U.S. Open wrap-up (follow all the live updates here) in the early evening, and then when it’s over, we can flip over to a Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

A Sunday without football doesn’t get much better than that for a sports fan.

So when you sit on the couch tonight to watch the NBA Finals, you root your heart out for the Celtics. Even you, Warriors fans. Put the greater good of sports fans across the country ahead of your personal desires. I mean, wouldn’t you rather win the series at home anyway?

Go Celtics. Go America. Go Sundays. Go read these stories.

OK, now go make these bets.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

The Hot Ticket

Warriors at Celtics, 9 p.m. | TV: ABC

  • Key Trend: The under is 87-60 in Games 6 and 7 of NBA Playoff series since 2010.
  • The Pick: Under 210.5 (-110)

The Celtics have broken me. My numbers are my numbers, and I still believe in them, but Boston has been letting me down far too easily in the last two games. Game Five specifically was a bridge too far. My Celtics (+5000) title future is now hanging by a thread.

I think Boston wins tonight, but I will not throw money behind it. Instead, I’m looking to a tried and true betting strategy in the NBA playoffs: betting the under in Games 6 and 7. I’ve gone over it before: the later you get in a series, the lower-scoring games get. Each team knows everything the other is trying to do by now, and there are few surprises.

Since the 2010 playoffs, the under is 87-60 in Games 6 and 7 of a series. This season it is 8-4. Considering these are two strong defensive teams already, ratcheting up the intensity could lead to an especially ugly performance tonight.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model doesn’t see much value to be had tonight, but SportsLine experts Matt Severance and Mike Barner both have plays in tonight.

The Picks


Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds:

Tampa Bay Rays

The Pick: Rays (+210) — I’m relying on an old principle in the NBA Finals, so why not turn to one on the diamond? We’ve got a lot of different factors at play here tonight. First, the Rays have long been one of the best MLB teams to bet as underdogs. Tonight they’re underdogs against the Yankees, but not just any Yankees team.

The Yankees are always slightly overvalued because of their large, obnoxious (hi Nick, the editor of this newsletter!) fanbase. When you toss in that they’ve won six straight and have the best record in baseball? That’s when things start getting really stupid, and this is a dumb price on both teams tonight. The Yankees are the better team and will win more often than not, but we’re getting the Rays at +210!

They’re 35-27, and we’re getting them at Pittsburgh Pirates prices!

Key Trend: The Rays have won 13 of their last 19 at Yankee Stadium.

Rangers at Tigers, 7:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds:

Over 8.5

The Pick: Over 8.5 (-105) — I’ve complained endlessly about how bad my White Sox are, but the Sox just swept Detroit and outscored them 27-6 over the three games. While Detroit’s pitching is merely inadequate, it has one of the worst offenses I’ve ever seen. They rank dead last in run rate (runs scored/plate appearances) at 7.70%, and the next worst team is Oakland … at 9.08%. Detroit has a wRC+ of 70, while Oakland is at 79.

They’re not just bad, they’re exceptionally bad.

So let’s bet the over! We don’t need many runs from Detroit tonight, and the weather conditions in Detroit will help our cause. Plus, while Texas starter Martin Perez has an ERA of 2.18, his underlying numbers suggest that’s not sustainable. Finally, Detroit’s bullpen is toast right now. The pen’s overall ERA of 3.11 ranks sixth in baseball, but that same pen had position players pitching for the final three innings Wednesday because the pen has been overworked. Don’t be surprised if we win this bet before the end of the fifth inning.

Key Trend: The over is 7-1-1 in Texas’ last nine road games.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Looking for a sweat to finish your Thursday night? The SportsLine Projection Model’s highest-rated play of the day is a money line play between the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels.

NBA Finals Player Props

  • GSW Klay Thompson Over 5.5 Rebounds & Assists (-110)
  • BOS Marcus Smart Over 5.5 Assists (+110)
  • BOS Robert Williams Over 18.5 Points, Rebounds & Assists (-120)

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