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Game 2: 76ers lead 1-0
The betting market pounced on the under in the first game of this series, but it was burned with 221 total points. However, there are plenty of indicators that the market got it right, and we could be in for a slow, low scoring affair tonight in Philadelphia.
Both the Nets and 76ers were slower teams in the regular season that averaged fewer than 98 possessions per game. On Saturday, they played at an even slower pace, with just 90 total possessions. We should get a similarly paced contest tonight, and all bettors would need is a little less efficiency than what they saw in Game 1.
Philadelphia absolutely demolished Brooklyn’s defense on Saturday, putting up 1.40 points per possession in the win while shooting 21-of-42 on 3-point attempts in non-garbage time. Many of those looks were uncontested as well. According to the NBA tracking data, the 76ers had 21 wide-open 3-point attempts on Saturday and they shot 66.7% on those looks. Not only is that an unsustainable shooting percentage on wide-open shots, but the amount of uncontested looks is surely going to dip. Meanwhile, the Nets were not as efficient at 1.129 per possessions, but did shoot 12-of-26 on 3-point attempts themselves.
An expected dip in production from Philadelphia with a similar pace should equate to a much lower scoring game, and that is why this total is once again heading down this morning.
The side is now -10 after closing at 8.5 on Saturday, and that is where the play is to be made if there is one. When it comes to best-of-seven series, lines and totals should be somewhat static unless there is an impactful injury that can alter a number. But, here we are 1.5 points higher on the point spread after a win and cover by Philadelphia. One result should not alter a point spread by 1.5 points.
Game 2: Kings lead 1-0
When handicapping a series game-to-game it's extremely important to find the bits of randomness that can regress to the mean, and there were a few on Saturday that could regress and allow Golden State to have a more successful evening.
The first thing that should average out is the Warriors’ 3-point shooting. Golden State went 16-of-50 from beyond the arc in Game 1 despite generating 23 wide-open attempts, and it still averaged 1.183 points per possession. They did so by going 18-of-23 at the rim while averaging 1.121 points per play in the halfcourt. Those efficient numbers are replicable against the 25th ranked defense in the NBA, so should some shooting regression take place for the Warriors it can make all the difference in the world in a game that was just settled by a single possession.
Having said that, there is still plenty for Sacramento to exploit. When Stephen Curry was off the floor the Kings had a +56.3 net rating, and while that actual net rating is unsustainable, it is not unthinkable that Sacramento can take advantage of the non-Curry minutes for Golden State. There is also a question as to whether or not Jordan Poole will play, as he is questionable with an ankle injury.
Golden State is in a great position to even this series tonight, especially if their shooting reverts back to average, but the market has pushed this number in that direction already. As previously mentioned, point spreads should be static throughout series, and this number is 1.5 in favor of the Warriors right now after it closed -1 for the Kings on Saturday.