The NBA Finals is tied 1-1 after two games in San Francisco.
The Celtics won the series opener convincingly last Thursday and then the Warriors rebounded with an even bigger win Sunday to even the series.
With eight quarters of basketball to analyze, let’s review what betting trends have emerged early on and how we can use them to inform picks as this series progresses.
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Golden State was favored to win each of the first two games of the series and went 1-1 against the spread (ATS) and on the moneyline.
The Warriors were 3.5-point favorites in the opener and lost outright, 120-108. Game 1 was the first time the Warriors lost at the Chase Center in the playoffs and it continued a streak of excellent road play for the Celtics. Despite the loss, Golden State was installed as a 4.5-point favorite for Game 2 and covered easily in a 107-88 victory.
Neither game was decided by single digits, continuing a trend that popped up in the conference finals and semifinals of recurring blowouts in the NBA playoffs.
It should be noted that despite the one-sided final scores of both of these games, these contests have been competitive up until halftime, at least, and Game 1 was a single-digit game with three minutes remaining in regulation.
Boston won the fourth quarter by 24 points in Game 1 to put the game away and Golden State won Game 2 by outscoring the Celtics by 21 points in the third quarter.
This brings individual quarter bets to our attention.
The Warriors have won both first quarters and both third quarters in this series. Golden State’s notorious advantage in third quarters, which it won 38-24 and then 35-14 for a +35 advantage in 24 third-quarter quarter minutes, is greater than its first-quarter edge, which it narrowly won 32-28 and 31-30.
Boston, meanwhile, won both fourth quarters, 40-16 and 24-20. The game situation was very different from Game 1 to Game 2 where the Celtics erased a 12-point deficit in the opener and then narrowly beat the Warriors with the starters on the bench for the bulk of the final quarter.
Each team won the second quarter once and curiously, the winner of each game won the second quarter as well.
The over hit in the first Finals game and defense prevailed in Game 2 where the under cashed.
The total for Game 1 closed at 214 and the three-point barrage helped smash that number—2the teams combined for 228 points. The Celtics and Warriors combined for 40 made three-pointers in the offensive onslaught.
In Game 2, the total closed at 213.5 and the final score didn’t come anywhere near it. Despite Golden State’s big third quarter, both teams slowed down in the second half—Boston scored just 38 in the final 24 minutes—and combined for 195 points.
Both first quarters have been high scoring thus far. There were 60 combined points in the first frame of Game 1 and 61 total points in the first in Game 2.
The only consistent player in this series has been Steph Curry. He scored 34 points in the first game, followed by 29 in Game 2. Twice he’s gone over on his point total and three-pointers props despite playing 38 and 32 minutes in the two games.
Jayson Tatum’s performance has been more difficult to predict.
Boston’s star scored just 12 points in his first-ever Finals game and then led the team with 28 points in the second game. He’s 1-1 on his point prop bets and anyone looking to cash in on the playmaking Tatum flashed in Game 1 (13 assists) was flummoxed when he had just three in the following game.
The entire Celtics starting lineup fell off after they stole Game 1. Al Horford followed 26 points with two, Marcus Smart had two as well after scoring 18 in Game 1 and even Jaylen Brown disappointed with 17 points Sunday after he scored 24 in the win.
Klay Thompson has disappointed, scoring 15 and 11 points, respectively. His Game 3 points prop is down to 18.5 after he failed to go over in each of the first two games.
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