April 21, 2017
There is one pick tonight.
Take Boston Celtics +2 spread (buy the half point) against Chicago Bulls for 3% of the bankroll.
The Boston Celtics are in dire straits at the moment. They came into the postseason as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference and then did something that no other NBA team has done in the past 3 decades; and that is lose their first two postseason games at home. After having home court advantage, the Celtics now find themselves down 0-2 in their series and having to play their next two games in the United Center in Chicago. It is essentially do-or-die time for the Celtics if they want to have any chance at salvaging this series and we believe they show up motivated tonight.
There is no question that the Bulls are in the driver’s seat, having essentially dominated the first two games of this series. Some of that may be chalked up to Thomas dealing with the death of his sister in a car accident on the eve of Game 1. He seemed off his game in Game 2 and it was clear that he was not in the correct place mentally. There is no question that Thomas is the driving force of this team. The Celtics go as he goes. He is the catalyst on offense and him not having the proper time to process such a devastating loss has no doubt translated to his play on the court. That being said, Thomas has had a chance to fly back to Tacoma after Game 2 to spend time with his family and grieve. He is scheduled to arrive in Chicago ahead of Game 3 and we expect his time away has given him a chance to gain a matter of closure and will allow him to refocus on the task at hand. Rajon Rondo, who has been spectacular for the Bulls in the first two games of the series, will miss tonight's game with a fractured thumb. Having a backup point guard in his place will likely only add to Thomas' ability to impact the game. We expect Thomas to take the court and play arguably his best game of the season tonight.
If our assumptions are correct, Thomas' play will motivate the other role players on the team and the Celtics will finally be able to match the intensity and physicality that the Bulls have shown thus far this series. With their 2-0 lead, Chicago became just the first 8 seed to win their first two opening round playoff games since the playoff format went to a best of seven in 2003. The only other team to do so were the 1993 Lakers. Unfortunately, the Lakers were then swept 3-0 to be eliminated from the playoffs. It will be an uphill climb for the Celtics, but we wouldn't be surprised if they were able to rebound and still make this a series. Brad Stevens has no doubt adopted a 'One game at a time' philosophy with his team at this point and given the desperation of this particular moment, we believe they rise to the occasion and win this game.
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