Two of the best series this postseason have produced wildly different results, with one looking like the blowout and the other profiling as an epic duel. Here are our favorite bets for Thursday's contests in each series:
How do the Milwaukee Bucks respond after two lackluster performances against the scariest team in the league? The Brooklyn Nets dominated for the better part of Game 1 despite losing James Harden early in that contest, and they made it look even easier in Monday's 39-point blowout - tied for the sixth-largest playoff win in the last 10 years.
Now the series shifts to Milwaukee, where Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. will try to bounce back in a historic way. Since 2003, only nine teams have gone down 0-2 with a 30-point defeat or worse in Game 2. Six of those nine covered against the spread, outscoring their opponents by 5.6 points.
The Bucks own the fifth-best home record (28-10) in the NBA and entered this series with the talent and personnel to compete with the Nets. Expect to finally see that in a must-win Game 3.
Pick: Bucks -3.5
The Utah Jazz won Game 1 and deserve credit for doing so, but the way they pulled it out leaves me skeptical about a Game 2 repeat. Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points in the second half to carry Utah from a 14-point deficit, and Rudy Gobert incredibly blocked a potential game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Conversely, the Los Angeles Clippers led for much of the contest and will almost assuredly find a way to slow down Mitchell, much like they did Luka Doncic after two early losses in the first round. It's also fair to expect a better performance from Paul George, who scored 20 points despite finishing 4-of-17 from the field.
I liked the Clippers as 3-point underdogs in Tuesday's game, which ended with a push. I like them even more this time around.
Pick: Clippers +3