Clippers-Suns picks, NBA playoff betting odds: Why Phoenix will likely punch its NBA Finals ticket on Monday

I know I keep harping on this, but Monday will be the Clippers‘ 14th game in 27 days. It will be Phoenix’s 10th in that same span. Paul George has played 694 minutes this postseason. The closest Sun, Devin Booker, has played 562. Seven players have played 500 minutes this postseason, and four of them are Clippers. 

The Suns deserve credit for the state that they are in. Sweeping the Nuggets gave them a week of rest before the Western Conference finals. If the Clippers had taken care of business against Dallas in the first round, they’d be far fresher right now. Kawhi Leonard might not have gotten hurt. 

But that’s not what happened. The Clippers are exhausted and depleted by injuries, and while I rarely suggest making gambling picks based on feel, Game 4 certainly seemed like their last stand, an all-out push to extend this series long enough for Leonard to return. But now, after two heartbreaking losses, they are down 3-1 and look like they’re out of gas. I fully expect the Suns to reach the NBA Finals on Monday. As for how they’ll do it, well, that’s what today’s top picks are for.

All lines via William Hill Sportsbook

Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns

Game 5: Phoenix leads series 3-1
Time: 9 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)  

Game 4 was an outlier, the lowest-scoring postseason game in several years, but that doesn’t mean this has been a series heavy on offense. Games 2 and 3 both came in under this projected point total. Some of that is the Clippers’ exhaustion. Some of that has been increased workloads for Patrick Beverley and Ivica Zubac. Some of it comes down to Phoenix’s excellent defense. The bottom line is that unless these teams start to get hot from behind the arc, this is probably going to stay as a low-scoring series. The pick: Under 214.5 (-110)

Vegas just refuses to learn. Reggie Jackson has hit the over in all six games he’s played since Leonard went down. He has scored more points in the last three games than Booker has, and Booker’s line is seven points higher. I’m not overthinking this. Until Jackson falls down to Earth, I’m going to continue picking his over. The pick: Jackson Over 19.5 points (-120)

DeAndre Ayton had nine offensive rebounds in Game 4. That wasn’t an accident. The Suns very intentionally pulled Ivica Zubac away from the rim through wise switch-hunting. Zubac defended remarkably well under those circumstances, but the fact that he spent so much game on the perimeter meant that Ayton was alone under the basket for offensive rebounds. He won’t get nine again, but four or five seems realistic. This total is too low with that in mind. The pick: Ayton over 11.5 rebounds (+105)

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