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The 5-seed Los Angeles Clippers (1-1) did what they needed to by splitting the 1st two games of their NBA 2023 Western Conference 1st-round series vs. the 4-seed Phoenix Suns (1-1). Suns-Clippers heads to LA for Game 3 Thursday.
These teams are tied in the “four factors” with LAC winning the rebound and free-throw battles and Phoenix being the better shooting and ball-security team.
Clippers All-Star Kawhi Leonard has been the best player in the series thus far. Kawhi is scoring a series-best 34.5 points per game (PPG) on 67.0% true shooting (.545/.600/.882) with a +15 net rating.
Suns’ Devin Booker is right behind Leonard at 32.0 PPG on 67.9% true shooting (.585/.400/.857) with a +4 net rating. Kevin Durant is scoring 26.0 PPG but is dishing 8.0 assists and has a +9 net rating.
Suns at Clippers, Game 3 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Tip-off: 10:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 20th.
- Venue: Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
I gotta be honest: Booker and KD balling out on Tuesday kind of scared me away from betting the Clippers in Game 3. LAC had no answer for Phoenix’s pick-and-roll action and Booker and KD got whatever they wanted.
Since role players perform better at home in basketball, I expect Kawhi will get a little more help from teammates Thursday. That combined with the fact that the Suns offense was scorching-hot Tuesday gives me OVER 226.5 vibes for Game 3.
Phoenix at LAC total of 226.5
Only suckers bet Overs in playoff games. The public loves to bet Overs and they usually get crushed by sportsbooks. However, the Under 226.5 feels like a fake sharp bet.
Per VSIN, more than 60% of the money at DraftKings is on the Under whereas roughly that same rate of bets are on the Over. Typically, the cash column of the betting splits are the sharper side of the market.
But, I think the sportsbooks knew what they were doing when they opened Suns-Clippers Game 3 with a 228-point total. Most of the people backing the Under are doing so based on LAC’s early-season Over/Under (O/U) trends.
During the regular season, the Clippers were 14-27 O/U at home. A bulk of those Unders came when Leonard was doing his “load management” BS. Kawhi was saving himself for the playoffs and LAC’s offense has been clicking lately.
Post-All-Star break, the Clippers are 4th in effective field goal shooting. They are 8-5 O/U at home with a +10.2 O/U margin and averaged 122.2 PPG over that span.
Also, styles make fights and Suns-Clippers feels like a higher-scoring affair. Phoenix has the 3rd-best true shooting rate in these playoffs and LAC has the highest free-throw-attempt rate (FTr).
The Suns ranked last in defensive FTr in the regular season so the Clippers should continue to get freebies in Game 3. Especially if Kawhi and Russell Westbrook stay aggressive.
BET: OVER 226.5 in Suns-Clippers Game 3 at DraftKings, up to 227.5
- Betting strategy: Go heavier on the Suns-Clippers Game 3 total than the player prop below.
PS Player Prop: Clippers wing Norman Powell points scored (14.5)
- OVER 14.5 POINTS: (-140)
- Under 14.5 points: (+110)
Powell is scoring just 13.0 PPG in this series mostly due to poor 3-point shooting (14.3%). He only scored 14 points in Game 1 and 12 Tuesday. But, Powell has the 3rd-highest offensive rating on the Clippers for this series.
Powell has scored at least 15 points in 36 of his 60 regular-season games. He is an elite 3-point shooter that can take it to the rack and is shooting 81.2% at the charity stripe this season.
To be honest, this is mostly a Blink Theory wager. Meaning, I just have a hunch Powell gets buckets in Game 3. Kawhi needs someone to step up and role players perform better at home.
BET: LAC SF Norman Powell Over 14.5 points (-140) at DraftKings
Check out Geoff’s basketball betting show on the OutKick Bets Podcast feed for the audio versions of the handicaps.
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.
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