As basketball betting fans know, the last thing the Boston Celtics want is to go down 3-0 to the Miami Heat in their best-of-seven playoff series, and certainly they will try to avoid that on Saturday night, when they play host to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the crew at the TD Garden. They will be three-point favorites in that game. Another playoff encounter takes place right off Beale Street, as the Memphis Grizzlies will try to go up 2-1 in their series with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The eighth-seeded Grizzlies are laying three points in basketball betting in this game.
Miami Heat at Boston Celtics
East Playoffs - Game 3
(Heat leads 2-0)
Live at TD Garden
Saturday, May 7 -- 8 PM ET
Basketball Betting Odds: Boston -3, Miami +3, Total 183
If you're wondering who the hot team in this series is, it is most certainly the Heat, which has won ten of eleven games, going back to the regular season, while covering seven of the last ten in basketball betting. And there have been three straight wins over defending East champion Boston, which have come by a total of 43 points. Miami hasn't stopped Boston cold, but they have held the team with the highest shooting percentage in the league to 42.7% and 43% in these two games, and that is even below what the Heat, one of the league's better defensive teams, has allowed the opposition.
The last game was actually even, up until a 14-0 Miami run gave them the impetus to win and cover the basketball betting line of five points. That's the kind of thing you have to look out for with Miami - when they are able to turn their defense into offensive opportunities. Outside of the "Big Three," they didn't get much in the way of offense (22 points), so if Boston can come up with something in the way of a defensive strategy to throw either Dwyane Wade or LeBron James off his game (preferably James, who doesn't know how to play without the ball) that would be the big difference. But I'm now wondering whether they can do that without the defensive wizardry of Tom Thibodeau (who was named coach of the year with Chicago). I must confess to a preference for the "old school" approach of the Celtics as opposed to the "look at me" attitude that characterizes LeBron. And the total here is a little tricky, so I think I'll place some faith in Celtic Pride as the defending East champions and look for them to make something happen in what will be a highly-charged atmosphere. Lay the points in basketball betting, but don't go overboard.
JAY'S PLAY: BOSTON -3 **
(Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)
Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies
West Playoffs - Game 3
(Series tied 1-1)
Live at FedEx Forum
Saturday, May 7 -- 5 PM ET
Basketball Betting Odds: Memphis -3, Oklahoma City +3, Total 200
Maybe going up 2-0 on the road was too much to ask from the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, who have looked like the league's "team of destiny' so far. Unfortunately, Zach Randolph's destiny was to hit just two of 13 shots in Game 2, while Marc Gasol hit just three field goals, and Oklahoma City covered in basketball betting for only the second time in six meetings with Memphis this season.
You have to remember, though, this has been an extremely good venue for the Grizzlies, who have racked up a 29-14-1 ATS record at the FedEx Forum. You don't walk in there and win easily, and you certainly aren't going to walk in there every day and hit 53% the way the Thunder did at the Ford Center the other night. I expect Gasol and Randolph to be productive in Game 3, because that has been the norm for the team that has led the league in points in the paint. The Grizzlies are on a 7-1-1 ATS run against the basketball betting lines, and we look for that kind of pattern to continue before a raucous home crowd.
JAY'S PLAY: MEMPHIS -3 ***
(Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)