by Mark Mayer | The NBA playoffs began as a parade of favorites covering spreads, but the past few games have seen a dramatic turnaround in favor of the underdogs. The past three days produced a shift to the underdogs, which covered 7-of-10 matchups against the spread, compared to just 2-of-8 the previous three days.
The rise of the underdogs was highlighted by Saturdays 4-0 sweep as Orlando, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston each covered the spread. Only the Rockets failed to win, losing by four at Utah where the spread was 9. A similar turnaround has occurred in the over / under totals. In the past three days, the under is 7-3. The previous three days produced a 5-3 edge for the over.
There are four games on tap for Sunday, starting with the Game 3 morning matchup (on ABC) between the Cavaliers and Wizards in Washington. Cleveland, up 2-1 in the best-of-7, is a 4-point underdog with the total at 190. The 12:30 p.m. PT matchup (ABC) pits San Antonio against Phoenix with the Spurs up 3-0. The Suns are a 3½-point favorite to stave off elimination with the total at 201.
The remaining two games on TNT involve Detroit at Philadelphia and New Orleans visiting Dallas. The Pistons, surprisingly down 2-1, are a 5-point favorite in the 4 PT game with the total at 180. Dallas, also down 2-1, is a 5-point favorite in the 6:30 PT matchup to square the series with the total at 195. The Hornets incredibly have not won at Dallas in 13 years.
The Las Vegas Hilton lists the Boston Celtics as 9-5 favorites to win the NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers next at 12-5. Other single-digit teams were San Antonio and Phoenix (each 7-1) and Detroit (8-1). The longest shot on the Hilton board is Atlanta at 200-1.