With round 2 of the NBA postseason already underway, the biggest takeaway so far is how impressive Boston was in limiting The Greek Freak and how dominant they were pulling off the upset in Game 1 away from home.
Outside of Boston’s Game 1 performance, the second round of the postseason has played out almost exactly the way as predicted with home favorites coming through in the opening games.
Milwaukee Bucks versus Boston Celtics
The Bucks looked vulnerable for one of the only times this year as we saw them struggling on both sides of the floor in the opening game. The Celtics shot a super impressive 54% from the floor in Game 1, and just shy of 42% from beyond the arc. Boston held Milwaukee to 34% shooting from the floor, and only 17 points in the first quarter.
With this impressive victory, the Celtics are still series underdogs sitting at +110 to pull off the upset. If you’re interested in betting Boston in the series, I would wait as the Bucks are 7.5 point favorites in game two and look likely to tie up the series in the second game.
The Bucks have won 15 of their most recent 20 home games and have posted a 35-9 record on their own court this season. With the Bucks averaging the highest points per game in the Association at home averaging 119.2 a game on 48% shooting, don’t expect the same offensive struggles out of Milwaukee at home in game 2.
Toronto Raptors versus Philadelphia 76ers
The 76ers tied up the series in Game 2 after a 94-89 victory on Monday night. Neither team shot well, both below 40% from the floor and well under 30% from beyond the arc. Despite the 76ers building up a sizeable lead at the half, the Raptors still had an opportunity with seconds left to force overtime. March Gasol and Danny Green both struggled mightily shooting a combined 2 of 14 from the floor.
With how poorly the Raptors shot, and still almost rallying to pull off the victory, don’t overreact to a Game 2 loss. With Toronto as high as -450 to win the series after a game one victory, look for the Raptors to take the lead in the series again in game three and getting a price as good as -170 looks like a super intriguing wager.
Portland Trail Blazers – Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets won the opening game on their own court 121-113. This game was back-and-forth for three quarters, but unfortunately for the Blazers, they had no answer to Nikola Jokic who shot 11 of 18 from the floor for 37 points with nine boards and six dimes. This was a big opening game for the Nuggets who played well despite playing less than forty eight hours before in a closely contested Game 7 versus the Spurs.
The Blazers are a considerably different team playing at home where they average six more points per game on their own court – 117.8, and 111.1 away from home. They have won 35 of 44 on their own court this season, and at +230 odds, this may be too enticing of a series price to pass up considering how evenly matched both squads are.