Game 1 of the first-round series between the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets was a classic — especially by Round 1 standards.
The game, decided on a buzzer-beating layup by Boston’s Jayson Tatum, felt more like an Eastern Conference Finals atmosphere with the array of talent on the floor, not to mention the vitriol between Nets star Kyrie Irving and Boston’s fanbase.
On Wednesday night, the two teams will reconvene for Game 2 in Boston before the series shifts to New York. After such a heartbreaking defeat, how will the Nets get up off the mat and respond?
The Celtics are 3.5-point favorites at BetMGM with the total currently listed at 226.5. In Game 1, the Celtics had a balanced scoring attack. Tatum led the way with 31 points, but Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Marcus Smart each had at least 20.
The Nets were paced by Irving, who had 39 on 12-of-20 shooting. It was an off night, though, for Kevin Durant. Durant scored 23 points, but did so on an uncharacteristic 9-of-24 from the field. He also had six turnovers. Despite that, the Nets had an excellent chance to steal Game 1 on the road but were unable to do so.
It’s stating the obvious, but the Nets will need a better performance from Durant if they want to even the series at 1-1 before it heads to Brooklyn. As of Wednesday morning, a majority of bettors were confident they could do so.
According to BetMGM, 81% of the bets and 80% on the moneyline came in on the Nets at +135. With the point spread, 64% of the bets and 68% of the money are on the Nets at +3.5.
The Nets were 4-point underdogs in Game 1 and were able to cover that spread. On the whole, the Nets have been one of the NBA’s worst ATS teams this season at 33-49-2. On the road, however, the Nets have done quite well for bettors. As an away team, the Nets are 24-17-1 ATS, including an 11-6-1 ATS mark as a road underdog.
Can 76ers, Bucks extend their series leads?
There are two other games in the NBA playoffs on Wednesday night, also out of the Eastern Conference.
The Philadelphia 76ers have dominated the Toronto Raptors to take a 2-0 series lead, but are just 1.5-point favorites on the road for Game 3. The Raptors have been unable to contain Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia offensive attack. They also have dealt with absences from two of their best players — Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr.
Barnes, who missed Game 2 with an ankle injury, was listed as doubtful for Game 3 on Tuesday. Trent, dealing with a non-COVID illness, was listed as questionable.
The point spread opened at Sixers -2.5, but has since ticked down a point despite 84% of the bets and 90% of the money at BetMGM coming in on the Philly side.
Elsewhere, the Milwaukee Bucks will host the Chicago Bulls for Game 2 of their series. Game 1 was a low-scoring battle, but the Bucks were able to pull out a 93-86 win. The Bulls covered the spread as 10.5-point underdogs in Game 1. In Game 2, they are 9.5-point dogs.
Despite a spirited effort from Chicago in Game 1, most bettors are on the Bucks. According to BetMGM, 62% of the bets and 75% of the money is on the Bucks -9.5.
What’s going on in the MLB?
It’s another busy day in baseball with 16 games to sort through, including a Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Guardians doubleheader.
There’s also plenty of afternoon action, including the Los Angeles Dodgers looking for a series victory over the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers won Game 1 of the series 7-4 with Freddie Freeman homering against his former team. On Tuesday night, Max Fried out-dueled Walker Buehler in a 3-1 win for the Braves. In Wednesday’s series finale, the Dodgers are -135 favorites at BetMGM.
Additionally, the Houston Astros are home underdogs (+110) against the Los Angeles Angels, who have reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani on the mound. Ohtani has struggled in his two starts this year, allowing seven earned runs in just 8.1 innings pitched.
NHL regular season winding down
There are just four NHL games on tap for Wednesday, but two of the teams fighting for a Western Conference wild card berth — the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights — are in action.
The Stars, who have a four-point edge on the Knights in the wild card standings, are +125 on the road against the Edmonton Oilers. The Knights are -130 favorites at home against the Washington Capitals.
What’s the best bet?
I’m going to lay the 9.5 points with the Bucks over the Bulls.
Chicago had their chance to steal Game 1 but let it slip away down the stretch. I’m expecting Milwaukee to come out with much more urgency and be much sharper offensively in Game 2. This could be a blowout.