NBA playoffs: Series-leading Bulls are underdog hosts for Cavs clash
Chicago Bulls can take a 3-1 stranglehold hold on their Eastern Conference semi-final series with Cleveland when they take on the Cavaliers in Game 4 on Sunday as 2.5-point home underdogs in NBA betting at Coral.
Heroics from former MVP Derrick Rose sealed the deal for Chicago in Game 3. Rose netted 30 points, including a three-point buzzer-beater that clinched the win, and marked the first time that Chicago has earned more than one win in a playoff series against a team led by LeBron James.
That victory also improved the Bulls to 10-1 SU in their last 11 home dates, 8-3 ATS, and moved them to 4-1 ATS in their last five against the Cavs, after covering the spread in Game 3 as 2.5-point favourites.
With the win, Chicago also take over as odds-on 4/6 series betting favourites to eventually knock off the Cavaliers, and they are level with Cleveland as 5/1 shots to win the NBA championship.
However, the Bulls may be without center Pau Gasol for Game 4, after the big man suffered a hamstring injury in Game 3 that limited him to just 22 minutes and six points, after averaging over 19 points in his previous four games.
The Cavaliers, who have now dropped to 2-8 SU in their last 10 at United Center, 4-6 ATS, are also dealing with injuries.
Point guard Kyrie Irving is reportedly playing with a foot injury that contributed to his post-season low 11-point performance in Game 3, while picking up no assists for just the third time in his NBA career.
Irving is the second Cavaliers’ star to report to the clinic after forward Kevin Love saw his season ended earlier in the playoffs with a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Clippers (-7)
LA Clippers will also be gunning for a 3-1 series lead and a fourth straight ATS win when they meet the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their Western Conference semi-final as strong seven-point favourites.
The Clippers’ playoff hopes looked to be in serious jeopardy after a hamstring injury sidelined PG Chris Paul following their first-round victory over San Antonio.
While teammate Blake Griffin was dominant in leading LA to a 117-101 upset win in Game 1 as 7.5-point underdogs, the absence of Paul in a 115-109 Game 2 defeat was glaring.
But, with Austin Rivers filling the void for Paul, the Clippers were simply dominant in Game 3, winning 124-99 as 6.5-point favourites. Paul was limited to just 23 minutes of action and 12 points, while Rivers exploded for 25 points, including 13 late in the third quarter, to seal the win.
The Rockets have now dropped to 1-3 ATS in their last four overall, and a worrisome 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS in their last five road contests.
After briefly joining the favourites, Houston have tumbled to 25/1 long shots to be NBA champions alongside the Washington Wizards, while the Clippers now trail only Golden State Warriors in that outright market at 4/1, having entered the post-season at a distant 18/1.