NBA Playoffs Game 3 Pick: Golden State Warriors vs Portland Trail Blazers

The Golden State Warriors hold a (2-0) series lead on the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Western Conference Finals, but Game 2 nearly went very differently. The Blazers led most of the way, including leads of as many as 17 points and a 15-point lead at the half. But, thanks to a massive second-half push, Golden State came back to win 114-111. The Warriors couldn’t cover the spread in Game 2, but they did get the win.

Game 3 gives Portland a chance to get on the board at home. It’ll be back-to-back home games for the Blazers, and they enter the first of those as the betting favorites. Given 2½ points on the spread (-110), and -130 odds on the moneyline, it provides an interesting play for bettors. Giving up a spread that covers just a one-point win or a two-point win (if you were to bet on Portland) is a no-brainer; even Golden State’s nail-biter in Game 2 came with a three-point margin of victory. However, there is another option that’s quite intriguing.

Golden State is the best team in the NBA, and they have been for pretty much five straight seasons. For Game 3, they’re listed as the underdogs on the spread (+2½, -110) and on the moneyline (+110). Like I said with Portland, I don’t think that giving up 2½ points is that big of a deal, so on Golden State’s side of things, that means I’d avoid the spread. Getting to wager on the team that has been as good as Golden State has been, winning as many championships as they have (three of the last four), and getting +110 odds on a straight win is really good value. Yes, the Warriors will be without Kevin Durant, but they’ve won three straight playoff games without him to this point.

I think it’s likely that Portland wins exactly one of the next two games: either Game 3 on Saturday or Game 4 on Monday. I do not believe (as I sit here writing this ahead of Game 3) that the Blazers can even up the series at this point. For that reason, I’m taking the Warriors to win outright, knowing that—should they lose to the Blazers in Game 3—I can place the same bet for Game 4 and likely get comparable odds. As long as one of the two pays off, that means coming out ahead by at least 10%. And if the Warriors do win in Game 3, that’s even better.

It’s a value play any time you can get the better team at a +101-or-better payout, especially when that team is as dominant as the Warriors have been in recent years (the New England Patriots for the NFL and Alabama or Clemson for college football—when not facing each other—are the only teams that compare at the moment).

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Drew Goldfarb

Drew has been covering sports professionally since 2007, covering sports of all kinds in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA. In addition to covering college sports, he also spent two seasons working with the NHL's Florida Panthers as part of their TV broadcast team, as well as reporting and anchoring for AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports affiliates, CBS Sports Network and ESPNU. Drew has also been active in Fantasy Sports since 2002.

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