O Canada? How about O Cameroon?
The shoo-in for the NBA’s Most Improved Player, Pascal Siakam, finished 14-for-17 from the field in Toronto’s Game 1 victory in the NBA Finals, and his odds to be the MVP of the series have dropped from +5000 (50-1) to +700 (7-1) on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Hey, that’s what happens when you take over Game 1 of the NBA Finals and throw the Golden State Warriors onto their heels — something they are not all that used to in their five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.
Throw in the fact that Kevin Durant is doubtful for Game 2 and won’t be speaking publicly until he is ready to play, and the NBA Finals are looking a whole lot different than folks thought as we look ahead to Game 2 at Toronto on Sunday night.
For now, let’s look at what is on the board at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
Expect the unexpected?
Interestingly, Siakam’s over/under on points is 19.5 for Game 2 … which either means that his Game 1 outburst was an aberration, or somebody at DraftKings has access to Steve Kerr’s defensive scheme and/or the next secret weapon that Drake is going to employ to get this series evened at one game apiece.
For those who believe the Raptors are the new NBA juggernaut and cannot be stopped, Toronto is at 22-1 odds to sweep the series at FanDuel and 20-1 to sweep the series at DraftKings.
For counterthinkers who believe Durant will make a miraculous comeback, DeMarcus Cousins will become a contributor and the Warriors will win the next four games, the line for Golden State in 5 is just 5-1 at both domestic books. (Things that make you go Hmmmm.)
One thing for certain coming out of Game 1 … you gotta expect the unexpected as this series moves along, and you cannot discount the advantage that Toronto is getting from its homecourt advantage. Fans were lined up for several blocks around Scotiabank Arena just to watch the game on the large screens outside. Inside, the thrill of appearing in the NBA Finals for the first time was palpable, and if this thing comes back to Toronto (c’mon, you don’t really think the Raptors are going to sweep, do you?) … that fan fervor is going to be a constant factor.
Out in Oakland where Games 3 and 4 are being played as the Warriors play their final games in that city before moving into their new digs in San Francisco, there is going to be a “been there, done that” malaise that Toronto can exploit if coach Nick Nurse can somehow figure out a way to harness it.
In order for that to happen, he is going to have to continue riding Siakam, Kawhi Leonard and Marc Gasol … two of whom have Finals MVP odds on the board. Leonard is +200 at DraftKings Sportsbook and +195 at FanDuel, and Siakam has dropped from 50-1 to 7-1 at DraftKings to +850 at FanDuel.
Steph Curry remains the favorite to win the MVP, being listed at -111 at FanDuel and -110 at DK.
Props for Game 2
Draymond Green finished with a triple-double in Game 1 with 10 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds (none on the offensive end), and triple-double props are the type of fun bets that folks in states where wagering is legal.
Perhaps they will be up by Sunday, but for now DraftKings is listing odds on double-doubles, with the best bets looking like Curry (4-1) and Gasol (9-2).
DraftKings also has odds up on 3-pointer over/unders (we touted Danny Green in our last column), and Green (who had three of them in Game 1), is again at 1.5 at DK, as is Gasol (who had two of them in Game 1). Curry (4-for-9 from long range in Game 1 is listed at 4.5 on the 3-pointer over/under list), and Siakam (who was 2-for-3) is at 1.5 on DraftKings.