By Mark Strotman | | 5 mins
Celtics vs Warriors NBA Finals Game 2 Odds, Picks & Predictions
Well, that was unexpected. With all due respect to the Boston Celtics, the Golden State Warriors entered Game 1 of the NBA Finals with a sparkling 9-0 record and +14.4 net rating at home in this year’s postseason. Then again, Boston traveled West with a 7-2 road record and an NBA-best +6.7 road net rating.
Something was bound to give—and it did with the Celtics pummeling Steph Curry and Co. in a decisive fourth quarter that gave the C’s a 120-108 Game 1 victory and 1-0 series lead. The series is, of course, far from over.
But the Celtics head into Game 2 as the title favorites (-190) on NBA betting sites with the Warriors in unfamiliar territory as underdogs (+160).
NBA Finals Game 2 Odds
NBA Finals Celtics vs Warriors Game 2 Betting Tips
History favors the Warriors
Home teams losing Game 1 of the NBA Finals is pretty rare. Over the last two decades, only the 2013 Heat, 2004 Lakers and 2001 Lakers had done so prior to the Warriors on Thursday.
What happened in Game 2? The home team won and covered in all three instances: The Heat beat the Spurs by 19; the ’04 Lakers won by eight in overtime; and the ’01 Lakers beat the Sixers by nine. You need to go back to 1995 to find the last road team to win Games 1 and 2, with the road Rockets knocking off the young Magic in a Jordan-less NBA Finals.
Does this make the Warriors a lock in Game 2? Maybe. Golden State lost back-to-back home games just twice this season, and once was without Curry in the lineup and the other was over an 11-day span in between the All-Star break.
Golden State is 27-19-2 against the spread as a home favorite this year. No other team has covered that many NBA spreads, and that 58.7% cover rate is seventh best in the NBA. The Warriors know how to adjust, and losing on their home floor is rare.
Don’t be scared off by the under
The shot-making in Game 1 was something else, with the two teams combining to go 40 of 86 (46.5%) from beyond the arc and 47.4% from the field. At one point in the fourth quarter, the two teams traded nine consecutive made shots. The over, naturally, hit with ease on betting sites. It’d be natural to watch Game 1 and think this series is destined to go over (Game 2’s total is a point higher at 215.5).
But not so fast. Lest we forget that these two teams ranked No. 1 and 2 in defensive efficiency in the regular season. Golden State ranked 15th in pace, and Boston ranked 24th. These are A) excellent defensive teams, and B) teams that don’t exactly push in transition all that often. Both teams also boast excellent coaching staffs who will certainly make adjustments to slow down some of the open looks that the opposition got in Game 1.
Oh, and we don’t think Al Horford, Marcus Smart and Derrick White will combine for 15 made triples again. That feels safe. We’re tentatively loving the under on betting apps in Game 2—and beyond.
More Al Horford, please!
No one had played in as many as postseason games without reaching the NBA Finals as Al Horford prior to Thursday night. Well, he proved he was ready for the bright lights with an epic 26-point performance in Game 1 and led the fourth-quarter charge that put the game out of reach.
Oddsmakers aren’t exactly buying all the way into the hype, with his Game 2 props set at 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Since Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Heat, Horford has tallied nine or more rebounds in four of his last six games and gone over 12 points in three.
There’s no doubt his range on offense is going to make him a critical factor in this series, meaning 35+ minutes in a close game should be a lock. On volume alone, we love both his props here. After watching him in Game 1, how could you bet against him?
NBA Finals Celtics vs Warriors Game 2 Prediction
The Boston Celtics are for real. We knew that. But let’s not forget who’s on the other side of this matchup. Steph Curry and the Warriors may no longer be the favorites according to the latest NBA Championship odds, but they’re inside Chase Center needing a victory.
A loss would mean something happened in the NBA Finals that we haven’t seen in 27 years. There’s just no way that Curry lets that happen. Expect Steve Kerr to deploy a different strategy in Game 2 to avoid that fourth-quarter lull that wound up costing them Thursday’s contest. We’re on the Warriors -4, and as we mentioned above, we’re also grabbing the under.