After some lopsided results in a pair of NBA playoff Game 2s on Wednesday, there have been some stark adjustments tonight. Is there is some value to be found in those line changes?
In this column, we'll give an analytical preview of a few of the day's top games and give game notes on the rest to help bettors with their wagers.
Denver Nuggets (-1.5, 219) at Utah Jazz
The number has finally come full circle. When these two teams met in the seeding games, Denver opened as a 1.5-point favorite. The number eventually closed with Utah laying a single point in most books. The last two games closed Nuggets -4.5 and -3.5, showing an overreaction to the loss of Mike Conley for Utah. Now, not only are the Jazz coming off of a dominant win the series, but Conley is back as well. Tracking this number throughout the day will be important. Will the market support a Jazz team that should have won Game 1 and dominated Game 2?
Denver has has to show something on defense at some point. The Nuggets gave up 1.53 points per possession to Utah on Wednesday, making it 1.27 per possession in two games. They are hanging 1.23 points every possession themselves, so if any semblance of defense appears they’ll be in a good spot.
Play: Denver (-1.5)
Will Barton, Knee (Out)
Gary Harris, Hip (Out)
Mike Conley, Quarantine (Probable)
Los Angeles Clippers (-4.5, 232.5) at Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic and the Mavericks found Reggie Jackson consistently on defense, and took advantage on their way to a wire-to-wire victory on Wednesday. It looks like Jackson will be back in the starting lineup, so Los Angeles will have to figure out what caused them to play so poorly defensively. One would also think Paul George does not shoot as poorly as he did, either.
After the Clippers had to come back in Game 1 and the loss on Wednesday, the number is going to be at its lowest point Friday. It is available at -4.5 in a lot of places, but will it get lower than that? This is 2.5 points lower than the closing number on Monday. Los Angeles dominated in three of five meetings, and bettors might be getting a discount on Friday night.
Play: Clippers (-4.5)
Los Angeles Clippers
Patrick Beverley, Calf (Out)
Kristaps Porzingis, Heel (Probable)
Friday’s game notes
Toronto Raptors (-10.5, 221) at Brooklyn Nets
- Toronto is becoming extremely reliant on the 3-pointer. The Raptors finished 18th in the seeding games in offensive efficiency, but sixth in shooting. In Game 1 they shot 50.0% from deep and blew out Brooklyn, but shots didn’t fall in Game 2.
- The pace has been consistent (101.5 and 100.5) despite the big changes in scoring totals (244 and 203), which is due to the shooting dropping off.
- Brooklyn found success at the rim again, going 10-of-16 within four feet of the basket (62.5 percent).
Joe Harris, Personal (Out)
Jamal Crawford, Hamstring (Out)
Boston Celtics (-5, 216.5) at Philadelphia 76ers
- Philadelphia is really failing at taking advantage of Boston’s lack of size. In Game 2, the 76ers took just 15 attempts within four feet of the basket after attempting 16 shots in Game 1.
- The offense has disappeared, but defensive intensity remains the same for the 76ers; the Celtics averaged 1.4 points per possession in Game 2.
- Boston has actually been pretty poor in halfcourt defense, allowing Philly to averaged 1.09 points per play in Game 2. However, they averaged 1.13 per play themselves.
Javonte Green, Knee (Questionable)
Gordon Hayward, Ankle (Out)
Glenn Robinson III, Oblique (Out)
Ben Simmons, Knee (Out)