Here's our best bet for tonight, as the Golden State Warriors look to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their first-round NBA Playoffs series with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Are Golden State Warriors Punching At Their Weight Class?
The Warriors were unequivocally the best team in the NBA when the regular season was done and dusted and now they're well on their way towards underscoring that fact in the first round of the NBA playoffs, up 1-0 in the best-of-seven series with the Pelicans.
After depositing a franchise best 67 wins in the regular season, the Warriors lived up to NBA betting expectations in game 1 of the first-round of the NBA Playoffs as they defeated the Pelicans 106-99 marking their third straight home playoff win since last postseason.
Although the Warriors came through as the significant home faves, they did short change NBA bettors in spread betting markets by failing to pick up the cover. The worst bit: they failed to cover as the 12.5-point favourites against the spread in a rather concerning manner that has been a source of debate since the weekend.
A combination of better play by the Pelicans and a dramatic drop in focus by the Warriors saw the hosts frit away a 25-point lead late in the fourth quarter. In fact, the Pelicans came within four-points and perilously close to levelling the score.
It's not enough to look the part of overwhelming NBA Championship favourites for just half of the game. The Warriors built a nice 84-59 lead in by the tail end of the third quarter and then they took the foot off the pedal. Tactically, they started to play to protect the lead rather than keep the momentum going, which allowed the Pelicans to settle into the game and Anthony Davis to find his rhythm as they went on a 40-22 run. The box score shows the Pelicans levelled the third quarter 25-25 and outright won the fourth quarter 33-22.
If the role of an underdog is to play up to the opponent, the Pelicans did so admirably late in the game and that must serve as notice to the Warriors: not to flirt with chance against an underdog that is clearly determined to turn the NBA odds in its favour.
Pelicans Rise To The Occasion
Few NBA bettors were giving the Pelicans a chance in this series. On paper, it was a mismatch of huge proportions and reflected on the NBA betting board. Yet, after an exhilarating 30 minutes to close game 1, there are those that are looking at the Pelicans with a little bit more respect than initially.
It took Anthony Davis (35 points and seven rebounds) some time to settle into the game, let alone his first playoff appearance and the atmosphere itself. But once he did he was instrumental in the Pelicans' late surge. He had 15 points and one rebound in the first three quarters, but 20 points and six rebounds in the fourth quarter.
Davis has now averaged 31 points in his last three meetings with the Warriors and he'll fancy his chances in Game 2 to continue this stellar run of points against the league's best defense. The bad news for the Pelicans is they could be playing without Tyreke Evans, who missed the second half with a knee injury. As well, Holiday is still questionable.
NBA Betting Verdict
Game 2 NBA betting lines offer up no surprises. The Warriors remain runaway favourites to win outright at -1300 while the Pelicans are the quintessential long shots at +800 NBA odds. As well, the Warriors remain the double-digit favourites in spread betting markets, opening as the 11.5-point home chalk and moving up steadily to 12.5-points at some sports betting exchanges as game time approaches.
By and large, the NBA predictions are as follows: Warriors win big in Game 2, or to that effect. Clearly, these predictions pay lip service to the overarching NBA Playoff outlook and the first 30 minutes or so of Game 1 when the Warriors punched at their weight class. The idea is also that the narrow win will have been a wakeup call and send them into the second game intent on playing all four quarters with the same intensity and focus. It goes without saying: there's no value in a Warriors win at their absurd -1300 price tag, unless you have silly money to put down on your NBA picks. Hence, the popular NBA pick is the Warriors to cover the 12.5-point spread .
But what of the last two quarters and the Davis-inspired surge late in the game. Can it be brushed aside without considering it's merit towards your NBA picks today. It's quite possible the Pelicans aren't being given enough credit for their heroic account in the first game of this tough best-of-seven series. We're not saying the Pelicans are going to win, although it's such an attractive +800 NBA pick practically gagging for a tickle. But we're saying they could keep this game closer than the odds makers are suggesting. Hence, we're fading the public and shading the Pelicans to cover as the +12.5-point road underdogs.
NBA Picks: Pelicans +12.5