Mears: Is Game 2’s Total Moving the Wrong Way?

Mears: Is Game 2’s Total Moving the Wrong Way? article feature image

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: JR Smith and Kevin Durant

The under in Game 1 was looking good until George Hill missed a free throw with seconds remaining and JR Smith lost track of the score. The game went into overtime, and the total blew past the closing number of 218. Game 2 opened at 216 and has since been bet down to 214.5, and there’s an argument to be made that it’s an overreaction from the “lucky” over.

Mostly, it’s because it was very lucky that the game was even under at that point in the first place. Sure, LeBron James went off for 51 points, and while that may not happen again, the Warriors don’t seem to have a way to guard him. Kevin Durant was simply atrocious against him, Andre Iguodala may not play again, and the Warriors never want to put Draymond Green on him because they value Green’s help defense too much. LeBron will get his points, and his peripheral stats should be better in Game 2.


I’ll give credit to Ty Lue: The Cavs ran a lot of sets that generated awesome looks for a bunch of their excellent shooters. The problem was that a lot of those just simply didn’t go in despite the math being in their favor. On 17 LeBron assist opportunities on 3-pointers, the Cavs hit just three of them. And if you haven’t noticed before, LeBron’s assist opportunities to 3-point shooters are usually very highly efficient possessions. Kevin Love and Smith were just 2-of-16 on LeBron’s assist opportunities, including 1-of-10 from beyond the arc, per Mike Zavagno and ESPN Stats and Info.

This is not a “the Warriors got super lucky yet again” article, because, honestly, Durant likely won’t struggle offensively again like he did in Game 1. And Klay Thompson missed a bunch of open shots he normally hits, maybe partly because of his early-game injury. The bigger point is this: This game shouldn’t have included an under moose because it should’ve been way past the closing total even before JR’s gaffe. Especially as the total moves down to potentially 214 or lower, I think the over is interesting here given the likely shooting regression from both teams.

More Coverage of Game 2

Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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