After a wild sports weekend and some exceptional NBA Playoff games, we’ve got another double-header on Monday night.
The Boston Celtics are in Milwaukee looking to tie up their series with the Bucks at two games. The Memphis Grizzlies — minus Ja Morant — will also play Game 4 of their series on the road against the Golden State Warriors who have a 2-1 lead.
Our team of NBA analysts have three bets on tonight’s two-game slate, including totals, player props and a quarter spread. Find their in-depth analysis and best bets for Monday night below.
NBA Odds & Picks
|Click on a game to skip ahead|
|Celtics vs. Bucks Team Total||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Celtics vs. Bucks Player Prop||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Grizzlies vs. Warriors Third Quarter Spread||10 p.m. ET|
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
|Pick||Bucks Under 106.5|
|Tipoff||7:30 p.m. ET|
Raheem Palmer: The Bucks escaped by the skin of their teeth with a 103-101 victory in Game 3. While the Bucks lead this series 2-1, it hasn’t been pretty as they’ve struggled to score efficiently throughout much of this series.
The Bucks are scoring just 1.0 point per possession. That’s a drop off from the dominant offense we saw in the regular season that scored 1.15 points per possession, third among All-NBA teams. While some offensive struggles could be expected without the services of swingman Khris Middleton facing a Celtics team which was first in Defensive Rating (106.2), their struggles have been far worse than anticipated.
While Giannis Antetokounmpo has found a rhythm in Game 3 after shooting poorly through the first two games of this series, we can’t say the same for the rest of the team. Jrue Holiday is just 37.1% from the field during this series and the Bucks are severely lacking guard and wing play without Middleton.
They don’t have a ton of 3-point shooting as they’re just hitting just 27.9% from behind the arc and simply lack the explosiveness we’re used to seeing from this team. We can credit that to the Celtics’ defense, but there’s one constant in this series: they’ve gone under their team total in every game.
It’s tough to imagine that changing here in a pivotal Game 4 against a desperate Celtics team so I’ll go back to the well and play the Bucks team total under 106.5.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks
|Pick||Pat Connaughton Over 9.5 Points (+102) | Over 2.5 3-pointers (+180)|
Brandon Anderson: We’re about at that point of a playoff series when teams are starting to run out of adjustments. These teams know each other now. They know what works — and what doesn’t. They know who belongs out there, and who’s not meant for this series. And this is when rotations shorten.
The Bucks are desperate for offense without Khris Middleton. They’re desperate enough that they finally went away from the supersized starting lineup in Game 3, bringing Bobby Portis off the bench and inserting Grayson Allen into the lineup in an effort to add some shooting and juice the offense.
Milwaukee did get the win, but it wasn’t because of Allen. He just doesn’t belong out there for big minutes this series. He can’t hang defensively, and he’s not getting many open shots either the way Boston is defending him.
With Allen failing to score in 25 minutes and posting an abysmal 58 offensive rating, the Bucks turned instead to Pat Connaughton. He doesn’t have the same shooting reputation as Allen but has become quite a marksman himself at just under 40% on 3s for the season, and he’s a far better defender and an all-around player who isn’t as easily played off the court in this sort of matchup.
Connaughton played almost 33 minutes off the bench in the win, contributing 11 points and eight rebounds. He got eight 3s up and hit a killer trey late with his fast high release. That’s why it’s time to play some Connaughton overs.
I expect Connaughton to play over 30 minutes again as rotations shorten and Allen finds his role minimized. So far this season, Connaughton has played over 30 minutes 14 times now, including Game 3.
He’s averaging 13.0 PPG in those games, and he’s also taking 7.3 treys per game and has hit three or more 3s in 11 of the 14. That’s a 79% hit rate on this alternate 3-point over at +180. He scored double digit points in 10 of the 14 to hit the points over too, and he was a point away from two more overs.
I’m playing both overs — and you know I’ll look at sprinkling some escalators too in case the shot gets hot. Connaughton is +560 at FanDuel to score 15 or more points. He’s done that six times in 14 games over 30 minutes, nearly half of them. He’s also +1225 to hit at least five 3s at Bet365. That’s a pretty steep ask, but he’s done it seven times this year, including once already this postseason.
Don’t go too crazy on the alternate overs, but 10 points and a trio of 3s isn’t too much to ask from a championship role player ready for big minutes in a pivotal game. Let’s hope Vanilla Thunder lets it fly.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Golden State Warriors
|Pick||Warriors -2.5 3Q (-115)|
|Tipoff||10 p.m. ET|
Anderson: The Ja Morant injury has taken a lot of the luster off of this series, along with all of the weird fouls, ejections, and calls for suspensions.
Maybe that means the Warriors blow the doors off a Grizzlies team without its superstar, or maybe Golden State comes out a little flat in an obvious letdown spot and Memphis hangs around awhile. It’s tough to know how the players will react.
But there’s one thing we can feel pretty good about — the Warriors will get there eventually. And they’ll probably show out in the third quarter yet again.
When I deep dived into these Golden State Warriors when I considered the case for the Warriors as NBA champions, one huge thing stood out: just like the old Warriors title teams, this squad is untouchable both at home and in the third quarter.
Golden State had the second best home record in the NBA this season. Per Pivot Analysis, the Warriors had a +15.6 Net Rating in the regular season with Steph Curry on the court. With Draymond Green out there too, that number leapt to +22.3 Net Rating.
The Warriors are a perfect 4-0 at home so far in the playoffs, and three of those four wins have come comfortably, by at least 16 points. Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins in particular are vastly better players at home, and both were terrific in Game 3.
And just like the championship Warriors teams, this squad goes for the kill in the third quarter. For the season, the Warriors posted a +12.6 Net Rating, again per Pivot Analysis. That number jumped to +18.3 in home third quarters.
The names on the fringes are different, but Golden State’s DNA has not changed. This is still the same team that comes out of the half and runs opponents off the court in the third quarter in an avalanche.
The Warriors are a perfect 3-0 in third quarters this series, winning by seven, five, and 14 points. They’re 3-1 in home third quarters in the playoffs, all three wins by at least nine points. This is still a profitable way to play this team, and it lines up well again here.
Maybe the Warriors are coasting early or maybe they play with their food and let the Morant-less Grizz hang around, but either way, I’ll play the third quarter and wait for the avalanche to hit.