Written by Matthew Haddock
Game 6 is tonight, back in Boston, and TD Garden is going to be rocking.
The Celtics are coming off of their first back to back losses of the postseason, and find themselves in a 3-2 hole against the Golden State Warriors. Coming into the series, it was Boston’s defensive abilities that were getting headlines, but it’s actually been Golden State that has shown to be the better defensive squad. The Warriors have forced Jason Tatum and Jalen Brown to dribble into crowds, and thus forcing them to make terrible passes. The last time we saw these two teams play, Boston turned the ball over 18 times, while only forcing the Warriors into 6 turnovers. Boston has averaged roughly thirteen turnovers a game in this series, and to put that in perspective: no team in the regular season averaged that many turnovers per game, not even the worst team in the league. Given that stat, it’s remarkable that they are still in this series, and I think it speaks to their balance and play making ability, as well as their grit as a team. The major adjustment that needs to be made tonight is limiting the turnovers, and focusing on ball movement to create open looks.
Boston comes into this game as the home favorite, with the lines exactly what it’s been all series: -4 on BetRivers, and the over/under set at 210. I think this is actually a pretty sharp number tonight, even if it’s right where it’s been all series.
One thing that I like about BetRivers versus some other books, is that you can actually buy or sell points on the spread and total. You could move the line to Boston -3, and only pay .25 cents in juice on the Celtics, or you could get GS +3 at plus money if you like them to win tonight on the road.
I’m not recommending taking Golden State tonight in Boston, and there are several factors that play into that decision. Starting with a good old NBA conspiracy theory as Scott Foster gets the nod from the league to officiate, and the desire of the league (and networks) to get that Fathers Day game 7. The networks are surely salivating over seeing either Steph and his son, or Tatum and his, sharing that moment that will live forever on highlight reels. I will not get into those things, because once the game starts I think they will have little to no impact on the game itself. Boston has been better at home this postseason than Golden State has been on the road, and I believe that the Celtics, with their backs firmly against the wall, will get the victory tonight. Since I’m doing my shopping on BetRivers today, I’m going to buy half a point, and lay 3.5 at -117 on Boston to force a game 7. They have too much talent, are too good defensively, and I just don’t see them losing three games in a row.
The Celtics continue to out-rebound the Warriors, and as long as Robert Williams III is good to go, and the Celtics score more than 16 points in the first quarter, they should get the victory.
There are a few other spots that I’m looking at in this game, outside of taking Boston to win and cover the 3.5. There will be no surprise here: I love the Celtics in the 2nd quarter. Boston matchup well rotationally with the Warriors in this period, as Steve Kerr doesn’t deviate from his rest patterns, and should again give Boston the opportunity to build a lead going into halftime. BetRivers has the moneyline heavily juiced in the 2nd at -152, so I’m not going to bother with that but I am going to lay 1.5 on the Celtics at -112. I feel extremely confident in their trend continuing this game, because I have no reason not to. As I did in Game 4, I’m going to basically double down on the second quarter and take the Celtics in the first half at -3. This just feels right, and again, it isolates my action from the Warriors best quarter this postseason, the 3rd.
The last spot that I like tonight are two player point props for bonus player prop best bets, and shockingly it’s not from either teams best player. I’m locking in on Marcus Smart and Klay Thompson. Smart’s point total tonight is 15.5 and Smart is averaging over 19 a game in this series, and although we see a slight dip when he’s at home for some reason, I still like him to go over this number tonight. Smart has shot well this series overall, hitting 46% from deep, and 58% from the field. Those numbers, with his usage, should equate to at least 16 points out of the home teams point guard tonight. Klay Thompson has been terrific in close out games this postseason, having his best games thus far in the biggest moments. His points prop is 19.5 tonight, and I like him to go over that total. In this series alone, he is averaging 18 PPG, and even a slight uptick to 18.4 PPG on the road. Klay has only gone over this total in 2 of the 5 games so far, but has been lights out in elimination games, and I suspect that we will see elimination game Klay again tonight. This is the lowest play on my list tonight, but a play I’m making and feel good about.
Bottom line for me today: I’m all over Boston to force a Game 7.
Best Bets – Boston -3.5 Full Game / Boston -1.5 2Q / Boston -3 1H
Bonus Player Props: Smart OVER 15.5 PTS / Thompson OVER 19.5 PTS