Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics Game 2 Pick:
It was a frustrating end for the Game 1 pick which saw the over land by two points despite looking like it was under the cosh for the majority of the game. The Cleveland Cavaliers won’t care about that though as they have stolen home court away from the Boston Celtics and can really turn the screw by making it 2-0 ahead of a return home later this weekend.
The Boston Celtics were 2-0 down in the First Round of the Play Offs after dropping back to back home games to open the post-season against the Chicago Bulls. They recovered by winning four straight against the Bulls, but they were a healthy favourite coming into that series and coming back from dropping two home games against the defending NBA Champions is not really a position from which I can see them recovering.
There has to be some big adjustments made by the Celtics who couldn’t make consistent stops throughout the game. They showed little energy on the boards until the game was a blow out and even the shooting only heated up when the game was unmanageable.
Confidence won’t be shot by one loss, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have been playing so well that it is hard to see how they will drop off from the form they have been showing throughout the Play Offs. LeBron James is at an extremely high level and you can see why the oddsmakers in Vegas have moved the spread a couple of points further in Cleveland’s direction in the light of their performance in Game 1 and the domination they showed throughout.
Defensively there is still some room for improvement and I think the Cavaliers are going to want to prevent the three point shooting that Boston displayed in the second half of Game 1. Keeping Isaiah Thomas down will give Cleveland a real edge, although I also think Boston will be better Defensively with a little more energy in the legs with a day off between Game 1 and Game 2.
The ‘under’ burned me thanks to over 120 second half points, but even then the total was barely surpassed. I am going to stick with that in the expectation both teams play better Defensively in Game 2 and I have to expect some of the three point shooting will be challenged much more effectively this time. The total hasn’t moved and I will go back to the well and look for more fortune than Game 1 and having the ‘under’ hit.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Boston Celtics-Cleveland Cavaliers Under 219.5 Total Points
Golden State Warriors @ San Antonio Spurs Game 3 Pick:
After losing Game 1 in epic fashion, there were clearly some mind games being played by Gregg Popovich to make sure his team were fired up for Game 2. However that was not the case at all for the San Antonio Spurs who were not only beaten by the Golden State Warriors, but were actually run off the court with very little belief in their own game.
They are not being helped by the absence of Kahwi Leonard and it looks like their star player at both ends of the court is going to be missing for at least one more game. By that time the decision may be made by the San Antonio Spurs that there is no reason to risk Leonard’s health, especially if they are to drop Game 3 at home and move to the brink of elimination.
Popovich will have been working on the confidence of the San Antonio Spurs players over the last few days as he tries to give them the belief they can compete with the Golden State Warriors. It is a big ask and he will need help from the veterans like LaMarcus Aldridge who just simply didn’t show up as expected in Game 2.
Losing Leonard also means losing their best Defensive player and the Golden State Warriors have had their way with the Spurs since he exited in the Third Quarter of Game 1. The Spurs have been outscored by a huge margin since then and it is a big ask for them, even in the emotion of being at home, for San Antonio to challenge the Warriors who have a deep rotation of players that can score points.
There is some concern that Draymond Green could miss out for the Warriors, although I am not convinced that will be the case. Golden State look to have too much scoring for the San Antonio Spurs and a fast start should take out the emotion from the Arena and allow the Warriors to move into a 3-0 lead.
Golden State do have a poor 9-19 record against the spread in their last twenty-eight games in San Antonio, but they blew out the Spurs in their last visit here. It won’t be as wide a margin as Game 2, but I still think the Warriors can cover the spread in Game 3 and I will back them to do that.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Golden State Warriors – 5.5 Points at 1.85
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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