By Charles Jay
When you have disappointed as many times as the Los Angeles Clippers have in the playoffs, you need to the post-season looking for every edge possible. And one of those would be home court advantage coming out of the gate in the first round. That is something that is within this team's grasp as it takes the floor on Monday night against the Houston Rockets, a squad that has pummeled them the last two times they've met. This game will begin at 10:45 PM ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and BetDNA customers will have the opportunity to place wagers on the game using the live betting interface, which is a whole new dimension to the game.
The Clippers are currently tied with the Utah Jazz at 49-31, and though they are going to face each other in the opening playoff round, it still has not been determined as to who is going to have a home court edge. Come that with relatively new ownership in place (in the person of Steve Ballmer, of Microsoft fame) and consistent rumors of shakeups, namely taking Blake Griffin out of the mix, these guys would be highly incentivized to go far, and this is obviously a step toward doing so. The Clippers have played some of their best basketball of the season in these final games, chalking up five wins in a row, and in each one of those games they have made at least half their shots from the field. They have also held opponents to just 97 points a game over their last three.
The Rockets can't go up or down right now; they are locked into the #3 seed, and they will play the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. If there is a race for anything, it's the MVP award, and James Harden would seem to be the head-to-head competitor with OKC's Russell Westbrook in that regard. Harden had a triple-double against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, but obviously that was overshadowed by Westbrook's record-breaking 42nd. Mike D'Antoni has said that he would rest his starters to some extent in the final games, but he's not going to sit Harden down. However, he may limit his minutes. He has done so with other players, including Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, Nene and Lou Williams. The latter two will probably sit out Monday's game.
In the NBA betting odds posted on this game by the folks at BetDNA, the Clippers are 9.5-point favorites, with a total of 229.points.
Looking at the points with Houston would appear to be very appetizing. After all, they pretty much chopped up the Clippers the last two times they played, winning by scores of 140-116 and 122-103 (that one coming at the Staples Center). And they do something very important, which is to get to the free-throw line, and their advantage in that regard has been outlandish in these last two meetings, as they have taken 76 shots from the charity stripe compared to only 29 for the Clippers. We don't know if Los Angeles can change that kind of thing too drastically, but again, a lot will depend on how long D'Antoni keeps his key players in the game.
Houston has a phenomenal 13-2 straight-up record playing in the back end of back-to-back situations, and they are also a sizzling 9-1 ATS when getting points on the road. These are solid reasons to go with the Rockets, but we are going to take a hard look at the Clippers here, because not only are they looking for some payback, but more importantly, they are the team that has a lot more to gain, and in the NBA, that often means a heck of a lot. And we think this is the kind of thing that might translate into more of a defensive battle than might be anticipated. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but if the Clippers are playing with some intensity, that means they are defending, and the Rockets, by definition, won't be as explosive with Williams out, Eric Gordon limited somewhat and Harden in doubt as to how many minutes he will really play. So we're going UNDER the total in this game, posted at 230 points in the NBA betting odds.
BetDNA allows you to make wagers during the game with their live betting apparatus, and it truly adds a new dimension to the proceedings…… Remember also that you get the best parlay odds and the best teaser odds, and you also get a lot of different ways to open up an account, including your major credit card, person-to-person transfers (like Western Union), the UPayCard and also the virtual currency of Bitcoin, and when you use that particular method, you can often get paid on the same day you make your request…… Remember, those are the kinds of things that happen - because BETTING IS IN THEIR DNA!