Since the first round of the NBA Play-offs was switched to best of seven series, the statistics have shown that home teams that claimed Game 1 on 58 occasions.
Of those winners, only seven have failed to advance into the next round, a troubling statistic for Milwaukee, Boston and Golden State who are all 1-0 down heading into their respective second games on Tuesday evening.
Despite a narrow 97-95 loss in Denver on Saturday, Golden State are a mammoth 4.30 to level the series with the Nuggets at 1.23. That’s because David Lee, their lone All Star this season, is done with a hip injury, leaving the Warriors with a huge gap to fill in points and rebounds.
It’s a huge ask for them to progress without Lee, and the Warriors are just 3-18 in his absence over the past three years. But the forward, despite his upside, is a defensive liability and it might allow Golden State to once again keep Denver below 100 points.
Their problem will be scoring. There is a lot of pressure now on Stephen Curry but the Nuggets can throw multiple bodies on him. The hosts will also have Kenneth Faried back to provide some extra help, so they’re a tempting -8 on the handicap at 1.91.
Boston struggled to score in the second half of their Game 1 loss in New York as the Knicks took an 85-78 victory. And although they’ll doubtless regroup, it’s tough to see how the Celtics can level the series unless Kevin Garnett is able to give them even more offensively.
That’s hard at this stage of his career and Boston’s lengthy absentee list and thin roster is coming home to roost. New York had 36 points from Carmelo Anthony but the Celtics can, at least, take some heart from their defence on the rest of the opposing line-up.
Boston are 3.45 to steal one back and +6.5 on the handicap at 1.91 but with a little less pressure on the hosts, we might see the Knicks raise their game.
The Miami Heat thrashed Milwaukee 110-87 in Game 1. The Bucks are +14 on the handicap. That’s still not enough to back against the Heat.
Best Bet: Take Denver -8 on the handicap over Golden State at 1.91
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