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The NBA playoffs got underway this past weekend and for the most part, chalk held strong. All eight series have Game 1 in the books, and the higher seeded teams went 6-2. The Jazz and Timberwolves were the only two lower-seeded teams to take their series' opener.
On Monday, the Raptors, Mavericks and Nuggets will try to even their series in Game 2. With the playoffs here, the betting action is heating up. Which sides are bettors at BetMGM siding with ahead of tip-off?
Bettors love the 76ers
In game one on Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers looked dominant en route to a 131-111 win on their home court. If you told the Toronto Raptors that they'd hold Joel Embiid to just 19 points, they almost certainly would have signed up for that. Most people would expect Toronto to win that game. However, Tyrese Maxey scored 38 points himself and Tobias Harris added another 26 to pace Philadelphia.
As Game 2 approaches on Monday, the Raptors might be in trouble. Rookie of the year contender Scottie Barnes has been ruled out with an ankle injury. Gary Trent Jr. is doubtful with an illness while Thaddeus Young is also doubtful with a thumb injury. That's two starters and a key bench piece unavailable for the Raptors in a pivotal game.
As a result, bettors are rushing to back Philadelphia. The line opened with the Sixers as a 6.5-point favorite, but that's been pushed up and Philadelphia is now a 7.5-point favorite. As of Monday morning at BetMGM, 77% of bets and 88% of the money is backing the 76ers to cover the spread as a favorite.
While the opener was high-scoring, bettors are expecting a lower scoring game in Game 2. The total has dropped two points from the opening number and currently sits at 217.5 points. Bettors are siding with the under, as 71% of bets are backing a low scoring game.
Warriors getting 90% of the money
Denver hung with Golden State through the first quarter in Game 1, but eventually the Warriors pulled away in impressive fashion. Golden State opened up a 24-point lead en route to a 16-point win in the series opener.
In Game 1, Steph Curry came off the bench in his return from injury to chip in 16 points in 21 minutes. However, the game belonged to Jordan Poole who started in his place. Poole dropped 30 points as the Warriors trio of Poole, Curry and Klay Thompson proved to be too much for the Nuggets to handle.
Bettors don't expect things to change in Game 2. Currently at BetMGM, 81% of bets and 90% of the money is on Golden State to cover a 6.5-point spread as the favorite. It's worth noting that despite all of the action on the Warriors, the line has actually moved in favor of Denver after opening with a 7.5-point spread.
Unders are 10-4 so far in the NBA postseason, and bettors like the under on Monday night in California. As of Monday morning, 81% of the money is backing the under, but the total has actually risen from 223.5 to 224.5 points.
Bettors expect Jazz to handle Mavs
While Luka Doncic hasn't officially been ruled out for Game 2 just yet, he is "unlikely" to play due to his calf strain. Doncic was injured in the regular season finale and missed Game 1, a 99-93 win for Utah over Doncic's Dallas teammates.
With Doncic likely missing the game, the Mavericks are 5.5-point underdogs in Game 2. Dallas is the higher-seeded team and is playing on their home court, but Doncic is obviously one of the better players in the league and Dallas is severely hampered by his absence.
Bettors don't have faith in Dallas to get the job done without their superstar. 63% of bets and 77% of the money is backing Utah to cover as a 5.5-point favorite. In the opener, Donovan Mitchell scored 32 and Bojan Bogdanovich added 26 points to lead Dallas. Rudy Gobert was a presence defensively for Utah, bringing down 17 rebounds and blocking three shots.
Neither team cracked 100 points in Game 1, causing the total for Game 2 to open at just 203.5-points. Bettors can't pass up the really low number, as 73% of bets and 86% of the money is on the over. As a result, the total has bumped up two points to 205.5.