The first two days of the 2020 NBA playoffs are in the books. Now, bettors must take what they learned in Game 1, and apply it to Game 2.
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.
Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets (-4, 217)
Denver closed as a 4.5-point favorite on Monday, but needed overtime to finish off the Jazz. There was no hook on the opening number for Game 2, which signals a skosh of respect for Utah after its near cover. Bettors who supported the Jazz in Game 1 should be tempted to come back for more tonight.
The Nuggets were great offensively against Utah, but they won’t be able to replicate their 3-point shooting, as Denver shot 53.7 percent on 41 attempts Monday. This is a Nuggets team that shot 35.9 percent this season on just 30.6 attempts per game. They made six more 3-pointers than Utah, but needed OT to finish the cover -- that’s not a great sign for Denver coming back today.
Lean: Utah (+ 4)
Mike Conley, Isolation (Out)
Ed Davis, Knee (Out)
Will Barton, Knee (Out)
Gary Harris, Hip (Out)
Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics (-4.5, 215.5)
It was a win and cover for Boston on Monday, but not a dominant one by any stretch. Philadelphia went into the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run that gave them the lead, and it was a one possession game with 5:14 left to go. As expected, the Celtics really had no one to match Joel Embiid on defense, and it showed when he scored 26 points with 16 rebounds on 8-of-15 shooting.
Boston also must deal with the loss of Gordon Hayward, and this is not a deep bench when it comes to scoring. The five bench players who played at least a minute on Monday went a combined 3-of-15 from the field, and 0-for-3 from deep; three of them posted a negative plus/minus. Now, Brad Stevens must distribute Hayward’s 34 minutes among those players.
Lean: Philadelphia (+ 4.5)
Glenn Robinson III, Oblique (Out)
Ben Simmons, Knee (Out)
Jaylen Brown, Thigh (Questionable)
Gordon Hayward, Ankle (Out)
Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers (-6, 229.5)
- Don’t be fooled by high point totals. Dallas scored 110 points on Monday, but averaged just 1.05 points per possession. Los Angeles limited them to 1.06 per possession in three regular season games.
- The Mavericks struggled to shoot the ball against the Clippers this season (31.0 percent on 43.0 attempts per game), and that trend continued Monday when they went 15-of-43 from deep.
- Los Angeles’ lauded bench managed just 25 points, and 14 of those came from Lou Williams -- much lower than their 49.9 points per game mark from the regular season.
Kristaps Porzingis, Knee (Questionable)
Trey Burke, Ankle (Probable)
Courtney Lee, Calf (Out)
Los Angeles Clippers
Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors (-11.5, 226.5)
- Toronto exploited Brooklyn’s poor perimeter defense, and shot 22-of-42 from deep. However, they shot just 46.2 percent at the rim, and 40.0% from mid-range. Can the Raptors shoot like that again from deep?
- The Nets went a surprising 17-of-23 at the rim against the Raptors on Monday. It’s surprising since Toronto finished second in rim defense this season (59.7 percent allowed).
- Despite the 244 points scored, the pace on Monday (101.5) was not very high. The scoring was due to an offense scoring efficiently from deep.
Jamal Crawford, Hamstring (Out)
Oshae Brissett, Knee (Out)
Patrick McCaw, Knee (Out)