With the 2021-22 NBA regular season now in the books, the basketball betting market is hotter than ever. CBS Sports will be providing daily picks for the duration of the postseason. Sam Quinn will make at least one pick for every game between now and the NBA Finals. All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Featured Game | Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum’s true shooting percentage is down over 11 points in the Finals compared to the regular season. Jaylen Brown’s is down almost three points. Go up and down both rosters and you’ll see a lot of the same: great defenses making life miserable on almost everybody who touches the ball. You know who the exception has been? Stephen Curry, who is up over six points. We’re more than halfway through the series at this point. Every team has thrown everything it has at every opposing weapon. The only player on either side that has been unfazed has been Curry. Until Boston proves it can stop him, I can’t bring myself to pick the Celtics on the road. The pick: Warriors -4
Here’s a fun experiment. If you remove Curry from the equation, how many points are these two teams combining to score per game?
- Game 1: 194
- Game 2: 166
- Game 3: 185
- Game 4: 161
This obviously isn’t a big enough sample to draw definitive conclusions, but Game 1 was the clear leader here. As the series has progressed, the defenses have, by and large, gotten better at defending everybody except for Curry. The combined non-Curry average for the last three games has been just under 171 points. The line here is 212. Is it fair to expect Curry to score 41 points again to bridge that gap? He certainly could do it, but I wouldn’t rely on it. The pick: Under 211
I just said that it’s unlikely that Curry tops the 41-point mark again in Game 5 … but 31 points? That’s much more attainable. He’s gotten there in three of the four games thus far. He tallied up just 29 points in Game 2, but he did so in 32 minutes. Curry is taking so many shots in this series that even a subpar shooting night shouldn’t be able to keep him from the over here. The pick: Curry over 30.5 points
Yes, we are back on the Kevon Looney props. Steve Kerr himself admitted that he made a mistake by limiting his minutes in Game 4. If he’s willing to admit that Looney has been better in this matchup than Draymond Green has, then the minutes are only going to continue going up, yet his Game 5 rebounding prop is lower than it has been throughout the series. Even if Looney starts, he’s going to get enough playing time to rack up the boards in Game 5. The pick: Looney over 7.5 rebounds
Half of Jayson Tatum’s field goals in this series have come from behind the arc. He’s shooting 45.2 percent on 3-pointers and just 27.4 percent on 2-pointers. For whatever reason, Tatum has been totally unable to score inside of the arc this series. It might be the defense of Andrew Wiggins. It might be lingering shoulder pain. Regardless, Tatum’s best chance at scoring against the Warriors seems to be from deep, so expect plenty of attempts in Game 5. The pick: Tatum over 3.5 3s