Nikola Jokic went bonkers in Game 1, helping the Nuggets take a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. Game 2 gets underway on Thursday, and I expect some adjustments to be made. Let’s breakdown some betting angles on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Any added plays will be posted to Twitter as I play them.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets
1st Half UNDER 115.5 (-110) — 1.5-units
Game 1 was played at a rapid pace out of the gates. Jokic came out and dominated the first quarter in all phases — he scored, assisted, and crashed the offensive glass to get the Nuggets more possessions. Denver was also running off of stops, which all just combined for a ton of offense. Eventually, the Lakers had to just play a different way to try and get back in the game (which worked, despite falling short of the win).
I expect a lot of adjustments to be made entering Game 2. According to how this team has responded during this postseason run, LeBron James and the Lakers will look to slow this game down and focus on defense. The Lakers have lost four postseason games, and the following game first half totals have landed on 88, 104, 107 and 102 — and that’s against other teams that play with pace in Memphis and Golden State.
After big Game 1 wins in each round, the Nuggets have also been staying under this number in the first half of the second game at home — 113 against Minnesota and just 82 against Phoenix. The Lakers will adjust better than both of those teams, and likely make this one a rock fight early.
Rui Hachimura ALT Points 15+ (+165) — 1-unit
I’ll contradict myself a bit here with some player prop overs, but I think they are smaller numbers on role players that should be obtainable. The Lakers got swarmed early by the Nuggets, and while I’ve mentioned Game 2 adjustments, I think they found one of them during Game 1.
Hachimura wound up playing 28 minutes, and really helping out on defense on Jokic. That success should find him some extra minutes for as long as he remains effective. Hachimura scored 17 points in Game 1, going for at least 15 for the fifth time in these playoffs. He’s been particularly effective early in series’, dropping 20 in Game 2 vs. the Grizzlies and 21 in Game 2 vs. the Warriors.
But the primary reason I like this play is because we can project an expanded role. Hachimura’s 28 minutes in Game 1 were the most since Game 2 against Memphis, and we should see him top 30 in this game.
Austin Reaves OVER 1.5 3-Pointers (-150) — 1-unit
Reaves has been flame throwing from downtown. We have him to lead the series in 3-point makes at 30-1, which he currently does with five. The five makes in Game 1 were the eighth time in 13 playoff games that Reaves connected for multiple triples. Averaging just over 2.3 makes per game during this playoff run, this still seems underpriced.
Miami Heat at Boston Celtics (Friday)
Celtics Win Game 2/Series (-150) — 1-unit
The Celtics are a very frustrating team, unable to close home games that they are big favorites in, even with big leads during the game. I couldn’t touch them in Game 1, but Game 2 is the type of stage this team thrives on. You cannot go down 2-0 at home in the NBA, and history tells us that teams do not.
The last 16 times a home team has lost Game 1 of an NBA series, they’ve gone on to win Game 2, going 15-1 ATS in the process. The Celtics were in this spot last round against the 76ers and in 2022 against the Bucks, and did win Game 2 each time. Over these last two postseason runs, the Celtics are 7-1 straight up and ATS following a home loss.
I trust the Celtics to bounce-back in this spot and get the series back on track.
I may also look to play this game in other ways come Friday. While the first quarter and first half are inflated, I’ll probably back them in some fashion to start the game hot. A prop for Jayson Tatum to rebound from his fourth quarter puke job may also be in order. From the Heat side, Jimmy Butler had an insane six steals in Game 1, going over 1.5 for the eighth time in his 12 playoff games. So I may look to back Butler steals as well.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment.