Usually, this space is devoted to a trend that has permeated the previous few days. Today is somewhat unique. Monday’s four Game 4s really don’t have much in common. There is one huge favorite, one toss-up and two modest underdogs. The favorites all lead, but the level of overall competitiveness varies wildly between each series. 

In other words, if you’re betting on Monday, avoid parlays and teasers. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to this slate. Each game exists a figurative bubble as well as the literal one. With that in mind, here are Monday’s best bets. 

All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic: Bucks -13.5

The Bucks have covered this spread in their past two victories in this series, and their average margin of victory in four regular-season games against Orlando was 17 points. The Magic gave the Bucks trouble in Game 1 by spreading the floor and taking as many 3-pointers as humanly possible, but the typically defensively conservative Bucks adjusted their defense in Game 2 and haven’t looked back. Orlando, depleted by injuries, has no alternative. This is going to be a gentlemen’s sweep, and none of the remaining games will be all that close. 

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets: Thunder +3

The Thunder gave the Rockets a taste of their own medicine in Game 3 by going small themselves. Oklahoma City outscored Houston 15-3 with the lineup of Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and Danilo Gallinari on the floor in overtime, and while that group won’t get the bulk of Monday’s minutes, it will at least get a chance to match up with Houston’s smaller group again. If Dort continues to defend Harden as well as he has, we’ll have a competitive series the rest of the way. So in a toss-up, take the points. 

Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat: Heat -6.5

Two teams went for sweeps on Sunday, the Celtics and Raptors. Both successfully finished the job. Philadelphia covered the spread, but that both lost at least suggests something that seems fairly intuitive on paper. Lower seeds typically avoid sweeps thanks to the advantage their home courts give them. The Pacers won’t have their home fans to give them an advantage in this one, and after three deflating losses, they would need it. Look for the Heat to close the door on Monday.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers: Blazers +7.5

The Lakers are going to win this series, but they let the Blazers hang around for most of Game 3 (and win Game 1) because they aren’t currently optimized. They are still playing a starting lineup with JaVale McGee that had a negative point differential in the regular season. J.R. Smith played nine minutes in Game 3, and the Lakers were predictably outscored by four points in that time. They could win each of these games relatively comfortably, but they continue to make life hard on themselves. Until they fix their fixable mistakes, the Blazers will be able to keep these games close. 

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