Photo credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard
- After the eight Game 1s this weekend, series prices have shifted -- some dramatically so.
- Matt Moore re-ranks all the current NBA Playoffs first-round series prices, headlined by a surprising team still getting plus odds.
Everyone always overreacts to Game 1.
Well, OK, not every time. For example, last year when the Pelicans ran roughshod over the Blazers, few saw a sweep coming. Sometimes Game 1 is a test case of how bad the matchup is. Sometimes it’s an outlier. Sometimes it’s the only strike a team gets in before an unstoppable adjustment. There’s a lot to figure out in some of these matchups.
But based off what we saw in Game 1, where’s the value on the new adjusted series prices? Where was the overreaction? And where should you exercise caution? Here’s a look at the series prices and their value after the Game 1s.
1. Brooklyn Nets (+180)
They were my No. 1 value before the series started and remain that way. The expectation has to be that Philly will respond in Game 2. However, unlike the other upsets this weekend, this one feels like it has more sustainability. Joel Embiid isn’t right, and as long as he isn’t, this series will be up in the air.
More to the point, even the saving graces for Philadelphia were a concern.
- Jimmy Butler had 36 points, but it never felt like he was making teammates better; he finished with zero assists.
- The gap in 3-point shooting was a concern going into the series and was only exacerbated; unlike the other upsets, this one was the one that held true to form for both teams’ regular-season profile beyond the arc.
- D’Angelo Russell was terrible in the first half.
- Jarrett Allen was in foul trouble.
- J.J. Redick and Jonathon Simmons seemed unplayable.
The Sixers don’t just seem like they’re in a tough matchup — they seem mentally compromised, from Ben Simmons’ comments about the booing to their questionable chemistry with Butler to the same between Embiid and Simmons.
You’re still getting plus money on the Nets, who play with a lot of confidence and may have the coaching edge in this matchup. The Nets have nothing to lose, but they also seem more connected. If the Nets take Game 3 (I’m expecting Philly to take Game 2), this number’s going to shift to minus odds. This may be the last good chance to get the Nets at a plus number with confidence.
2. Toronto Raptors (-400)
I expected the Raptors to drop that game. They can’t win Game 1s. Doesn’t matter what new guys they add, the Raptors are still the Raptors in Game 1. However, it was way more of an outlier than the Sixers’ performance. The Magic hit 14 three-pointers on 48% shooting from deep; they averaged 11.3 per game in the regular season on 36% shooting.
Kyle Lowry defecating in the sleeping quarters is no surprise in a playoff environment and especially Game 1, but going scoreless is an outlier even for him. Much was made of his +11 plus-minus, but if he had made two buckets, he would have been a +15 and Toronto wins that game.
Similarly, Toronto shot 33% vs. their regular-season mark of 36% from deep. It took both a red-hot night from Orlando and D.J. Augustin and a pitiful night from Toronto for a three-point win.
Toronto opened -1400 to win this series and now is all the way down to -350; that’s too good of value for a team this good. The Magic played a great game, but not every Raptors game is a Game 1.