NBA Playoffs Betting Guide for Monday, June 7: Sharp Money Pouring on Milwaukee in Game 2

SI Gambling analyst Ben Heisler breaks down the betting data for the Bucks and Nets of the NBA playoffs.
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When James Harden left the court within the first minute of Game 1 between the Bucks and Nets, anyone holding a Nets -3.5 ticket looked to be in trouble. Milwaukee held a two-point first-quarter lead and trailed by two at the end of the half, but Brooklyn outscored Milwaukee 35–23 in the third and held on for a 115–107 victory, covering the 3.5-point spread.

Game 2 takes place tonight from Barclays Center in Brooklyn as the Nets look to keep home court advantage over Milwaukee. Brooklyn's odds have been extended slightly at DraftKings Sportsbook to -220 to win the series, up from -200 before the matchup began.

Meanwhile, in the Western Conference, the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds match up in Phoenix when the Suns host the Nuggets. Both teams won on their opponent's home floor in Game 6, with the Suns' upsetting Los Angeles despite being the higher seed. The Lakers entered the postseason with the second-lowest odds behind Brooklyn to win the title at +400. 

NBA Playoffs Betting Splits - Monday, June 7

Information via PointsBet Sportsbook as of 4:24 pm ET

Information via PointsBet Sportsbook as of 4:24 pm ET

Today's betting guide will focus on the Game 2 matchup between the Bucks and Nets, but here are a few notable trends to consider for the late game between the Nuggets and Suns out West.

  • The Suns finished 46-30-2 ATS during the regular season, covering 60.5% of their games. That tied with the Knicks for best in the league.
  • Both the Nuggets and Suns finished in the top 6 for "Over Record," hitting the over 56.4 and 55.8% of their regular-season games.
  • The road team won all three games in the regular season, with Denver's winning both their games in overtime.
  • Both Phoenix and Denver, despite being the higher seeds were underdogs in their first-round series.
  • The Suns are the largest favorite amongst all remaining teams to win the series, coming in at -220 at DraftKings Sportsbook. Brooklyn is also -220, but that number moved from -200 after Game 1.

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Milwaukee vs. Brooklyn: Game 2

SERIES ADVANTAGE: Nets 1–0

POINT SPREAD: Nets +1

TOTAL: 237

INJURIES:

  • James Harden (Nets) - OUT
  • Donte DiVincenzo (Bucks) - OUT
  • Jeff Green (Nets) - OUT

Game 2 opened up with Brooklyn as 2.5-point home favorites but has moved nearly 3.5 points the other way since James Harden was confirmed out for Game 2. The Nets have been covering at a red-hot pace going 10–1 both straight-up and against the spread (ATS) over their last 11. Their one loss came in Game 3 of the first round when they lost by six to the Celtics.

Meanwhile, Milwaukee had reeled off three consecutive wins both straight-up and ATS before their loss to Brooklyn in Game 1. Despite the three straight wins, the Bucks are 4–8 ATS over their last 12 but are 12–3 straight-up in their last 15. Milwaukee is winning close games, but other than in the final three games of the Miami series, not enough to assert complete dominance and take a team out.

Since it's tough to determine whether the sharp money is moving the line because of their respect for the Bucks, or to get a better number on the Nets, I'm avoiding a play on the point spread or on the moneyline. I would lean Milwaukee but not more than the current number of -1.

Instead, I'll focus on the total, which has gone up from its opening number of 235 to 237. I expect the public's recency bias to lean under without Harden in the lineup, and the fact that the total from Game 1 (222) went way under the projected number of 239.5. 

Via Brandon Anderson, the Bucks and Nets played at their fastest pace without Harden in the lineup and also points out that the Bucks' woeful shooting percentage (6–30 on three-pointers and 11–19 on free throws), is not likely to repeat itself again. Milwaukee averaged 116.2 points per game in the regular season and finished fourth in the league in team possessions and third in pace.

Look for Milwaukee to make more shots, get better possessions and run up and down the court with Brooklyn for a high-paced Game 2 with limited defense.

THE PLAY: OVER 237


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