Monday features Game 5 between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns in a potential series-ending matchup.
All odds via BetMGM.
Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns (-5.5), Total: 214.5
It’s Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals and the Clippers have their backs against the wall. The Suns won Games 1 and 2 at home before splitting the next two back in Los Angeles to take a 3-1 series edge.
The Suns are on the verge of their first NBA Finals appearance since 1993 and can clinch the West at home. They are favored by 5.5 points with the total set at 214.5 at BetMGM.
For bettors, I think the first instinct would be to back the home favorites. The Suns have been stellar at home throughout the postseason, posting a 5-2 against the spread mark.
At one point this postseason, the Suns won five consecutive games by double-digit margins. This series against the Clippers, though, has been much more closely contested. The Suns won Game 1 by six points, covering a 4-point spread. In Game 2, the Suns needed a last-second lob to Deandre Ayton off an inbounds pass to get past the Clippers by the slimmest of margins, 104-103.
When the series shifted to Los Angeles, the Clippers won Game 3 comfortably, 106-92. Game 4, though, was an ugly one. The Suns won just 84-80. Neither team could make a shot in large stretches of the second half with just a combined 29 points being scored in the fourth quarter. In the end, the Suns made enough free throws and held up defensively to eke out a victory.
So what happens in Game 5? I’m envisioning another close one.
The Clippers have been in every game in this series and the Suns have really been struggling from long distance. Devin Booker, ever since he took a shot to the nose in Game 2, has been cold from the field. The Suns star went off for 40 points in Game 1, but has shot just 30.5% (18/59) from the field since, including just 2-of-15 from 3-point range.
Phoenix’s defense has been stellar, but I don’t think the Clippers will go down without a fight. They have covered the spread in four of their last five games as an underdog. They’ve trailed in every series so far this postseason, so it’s not an unfamiliar spot for Paul George and company, even without Kawhi Leonard.
I’ll go against the conventional wisdom and take the Clippers +5.5.
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