Insider Insight: Per SuperBook Hoops Insider John Martin the Warriors will not go away quietly

May 10, 2023

For the old and seemingly dysfunctional Warriors it might finally be time. Time for the dynasty to end. Time to break up the band. Time to…

…extend the series at least one more game.

SuperBook Sports hoops insider John Martin isn’t ready to move the Warriors past the Lakers – who, by the way, have a commanding 3-1 lead – but he isn’t about to bet on a gentleman’s sweep, either.

“Given the spot itself and the Warriors’ home/road splits, the line feels right. I jumped on Warriors -6 when it opened. The Warriors closed at -7 in Game 2 after opening at -5 and they won going away thanks to a dominant third quarter performance,” says Martin. “This feels like it’ll be a similar situation. The Warriors, flawed as they may be, are still the defending champions. And they know they should’ve won Game 4.

“The Lakers on the other hand are in a great spot with a two-game lead and a home game remaining. This feels like a vintage Golden State ‘squash spot.’ If this starts to get out of hand in the fourth quarter, the Lakers will probably rest their starters and preserve LeBron James and Anthony Davis as much as possible for the pivotal Game 6 in LA.”

If you’re into props, Martin also suggests that Steph Curry, who’s shooting in the waning moment of Game 4 failed him, is primed for a big game – to the tune of a 40-point triple-double.

“I suspect he’ll have a signature shooting performance with his team on the ropes back home at Chase,” Martin says.

Another factor to keep an eye on, says Martin, is the whistle. While the referees shouldn’t factor into a game – or the bets on it – there’s evidence to suggest that the Lakers are most dangerous when they’re getting a favorable whistle.

“Anytime the Lakers take the court, the whistle is almost always the biggest factor,” he says. “In Games 1 and 3, the Lakers got 43 more free throw attempts than the Warriors – both were Lakers wins. In Games 2 and 4, that separation was just a combined nine more attempts. When the free-throw attempt gap is wide, the Warriors have no chance. When it’s a fairly neutrally officiated game, the Warriors have mostly looked like the better team.”

Martin expects an evenly called game on Wednesday night.

While he’s leaning toward the Warriors in Game 5 – especially at a line that will likely close around -7 – he’s taking a “wait and see” approach to the series and beyond.

“Plenty of bettors went broke for many years trying to time the end of the Patriots dynasty under Tom Brady, but this feels different,” he says of the Warriors. “Draymond Green could enter free agency. Klay Thompson’s production is slipping. Steph will be 36 next season. And the Warriors just haven’t done a good enough job of developing a pipeline of young players to come in and pick up the slack. They missed on James Wiseman. Jonathan Kuminga isn’t even playing in this series. Jordan Poole is their best in-house youth development success story, and it feels like he’s played his way out of the rotation. They were already just a six seed to begin with. It feels like their reign in the Western Conference is certainly over after this season, if it isn’t already.”

But is there really a dominant team? When looking at the entire field, Martin doesn’t see a team he absolutely loves. There’s still a long way to go before the next champion is crowned.

“You have so many inconsistent teams, which makes these playoffs more intriguing,” Martin says. “Let’s go through it: Denver is great at home but awful on the road; and can a team that gives Jeff Green 20 minutes a game really win a title? Phoenix lost Chris Paul for who knows how long and is very challenged from a depth perspective. The Lakers can’t score unless they get to the foul line 25 times. The Warriors depend on Steph’s heliocentric heroics to win. Miami is really just Jimmy Butler and the Pips. The Celtics have the most talent but the least predictable effort game to game. And while the 76ers’ depth is better than Phoenix’s, they’re still too top-heavy reliant with Joel Embiid and James Harden.

“That said, the Celtics would be my pick, as of today. When they’re great, they’re almost impossible to beat. They’ve got the Finals experience from a year ago. They can knock down threes. They can defend. They can win on the road. They play a really solid eight-deep rotation. I know they’re the betting favorite, but there’s a reason. Give me Boston.”

And tonight, John Martin is taking the Warriors and the points.

Tonight’s Trio

Three bets worth considering on a Wednesday night

Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors
Chase Center – San Francisco, CA
10:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Golden State -7.0

Despite being down 3-1 in the series, there is still a lot of faith in the Warriors. And for good reason.

During the Steve Kerr era, Golden State has reached the NBA Finals every time they’ve made that playoffs. That’s resulted in four championships, a dynastic run. So, until the Warriors are officially eliminated, no one should count them out.

That said, this is a lot of points. The Lakers know that they have a chance to knock out the champs. They’ll be ready for the moment.

Plus, the numbers suggest that they’ve figured out the Warriors. Aside from a historic shooting performance from Steph Curry in Game 2, Golden State has appeared out of rhythm in this series. Credit to the Lakers for making that happen.

Los Angeles is 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last five games. They’re 6-1 ATS in their last seven games versus Golden State.

The Warriors might stay alive tonight, rising to the make-or-break moment. But expect this one to be a close game. Takes the Lakers and the points.

Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Los Angeles +7.0 (-110)


Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
7:30 PM ET
SuperBook Line: New York -3.5

Just like the Warriors, the Knicks face a do-or-die situation tonight at home. Trailing 3-1 to Miami, New York has to win to keep their season alive.

Unlike Golden State, there isn’t a lot of faith that the home team can pull this one off. There are a number of reasons for those doubts.

For starters, the Knicks don’t have the track record of success. They’ve been better known for playoff futility that postseason prowess in recent years.

But the biggest factor has been the way the Heat have played in the series. Their three wins have come by an average of nearly 12 points. They’ve outclassed New York in almost every way.

This is nothing new. Miami has been solid throughout the playoffs.

The Heat have covered in seven straight games. They’re 4-0 ATS in the series and 13-5 in their last 18 games at New York.

There’s no reason to expect things to change. Take the Heat and the points in this one.

Jason Schlefsky’s pick: Miami +3.5 (-110)


Toronto Maple Leafs at Florida Panthers
FLA Live Arena – Sunrise, FL
7:00 PM ET
SuperBook Line: Toronto -120

Something seems amiss here. The Panthers have a chance to complete the sweep, on their home ice, and they’re an underdog. How does that make any sense?

Sure, Toronto was the better team during the regular season. But Florida has been terrific in the postseason.

First, they came back from a 3-1 deficit to upset the Bruins in the first round. Now, they’ve extended their playoff winning streak to six games by taking the first three of this series against the Panthers.

They’ve done it by suffocating the Maple Leafs attack. Florida has held Toronto to just two goals in each of the three games, including a clutch 3-2 overtime win in Game 3.

Tonight, Toronto will go with Joseph Woll in net. The rookie was 6-1 during the regular season, but this is a big spot for a 24-year-old netminder.

Florida has all of the momentum. There’s no reason to go against them at this point. As a home dog, they’re the smart play in this one.

Norm LaChatlier’s pick: Florida M/L (+105)

Around the Nation

Things we’ve learned this week

Take the high road
Nikola Jokic and Mat Ishbia got tangled up during Game 4 of the Nuggets-Suns series, with Denver’s center earning a technical foul and a $25,000 fine for his sideline interaction with the Phoenix owner. How did the Joker react the next time he saw Ishbia? He playfully gave him a basketball during warmups for Game 5, offering an olive branch and breaking the tension. Well played.


One game away
After stealing Game 1 on the road without Joel Embiid in the lineup, it appeared as though the 76ers had lost their grasp on their second-round series with the Celtics. Boston had reclaimed home-court advantage, putting them in the driver’s seat. But Philadelphia dominated Game 5, winning at TD Garden in convincing fashion, as the Sixers are on the brink of the Eastern Conference Finals.