The Los Angeles Clippers have been down 0-2 in a series before. Twice in the past month or so, actually.
Only 30 times in NBA history has a team won a series after falling behind 0-2, and two instances were the 2021 Clippers. While they aren't uncomfortable in that position, it isn't ideal. Especially with how well the Phoenix Suns are playing, and with Kawhi Leonard hurting.
The Clippers face a long road after just one game of the Western Conference finals, mostly because they're without their best player. The Clippers are 4.5-point underdogs at BetMGM for Game 2 of the series on Tuesday night. They're a hefty +310 to win the series (which is down from +350 on Monday).
Those odds reflect how well the Suns are playing. They disposed of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round, then had an impressive sweep of the Denver Nuggets in the second round. They found themselves without Chris Paul for the start of the Clippers series because of COVID protocols, and that seemed to be the latest in a long line of depressing bad breaks for the franchise. But the Suns won Game 1 120-114. This Suns team was very good in the regular season and it's gaining momentum in the playoffs.
The Suns also have the guard depth to fill in for Paul. Cameron Payne, Cam Johnson and Torrey Craig played well in Game 1 alongside Devin Booker. Paul is an all-time great point guard, but the Suns showed they could survive without him. The Clippers won two games against the Utah Jazz after Leonard's knee injury, but it's hard to depend on 39-point games from Terrance Mann every night. Leonard is one of the best players in the NBA and nobody seems to know when or if he'll return this postseason. Maybe the Clippers find that magic they had late in the Jazz series again, but it's hard to imagine them taking four games off the Suns without Leonard.
The Clippers did fight hard in Game 1 and they will have a great effort on Tuesday night. The line was -4 for Game 1, and it did move a half-point. If the Suns can win and cover, it's a good indication of how the series is going to go. This is a 0-2 hole that the Clippers would be unlikely to dig out of.
Here's a first look at Tuesday's betting slate:
Can Vegas hold off a spirited Canadiens team?
The bettor who took the Canadiens to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals at 30-to-1 odds at BetMGM, risking $5,000 to win $150,000, had to be pretty excited in the third period of Game 4 on Sunday night. The Canadiens led 1-0 and were outplaying the Vegas Golden Knights. They were close to taking a 3-1 series lead.
Then the Golden Knights scrambled to tie the series. They tied the game in the third period and won it early in overtime. There's a big difference between being up 3-1 in a series and being tied 2-2.
Yet, the Canadiens aren't going away quietly. Vegas is a big -250 favorite for Game 5, but the Canadiens (who are +195) have been very competitive in the series. Maybe Vegas wins Tuesday night and takes control of the series, but Montreal hasn't made that easy.
What Euro 2020 action is on tap?
There was some fun on Monday, with Denmark, Finland and Russia fighting for second place in Group B and a spot in the round of 16. Denmark got the spot with an emotional win over Russia.
Group D finishes up on Tuesday. It will be Czech Republic vs England (which will determine the winner of the group) and Croatia vs Scotland at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time. As always, Yahoo Sportsbook's Nick Bromberg has your Euro 2020 picks here.
Who cashed tickets on Monday?
The Tampa Bay Lightning barely squeezed by the New York Islanders in Game 5 (checks notes) ... 8-0?!?! Yikes. At least we didn't pick the Isles as a live dog yesterday.
The other underdog we liked, the Los Angeles Dodgers, gave up four runs in the first inning and lost to the San Diego Padres. They're now 0-1 as underdogs this season. Also, the Arizona Diamondbacks finally snapped a 17-game losing streak, beating the Milwaukee Brewers. In total, five underdogs won in the eight MLB games.
MLB with a full slate including one afternoon game
Day baseball is happening on Tuesday, with the Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins squaring off at 1:10 p.m. Eastern. The Twins have been perhaps the most disappointing team in baseball, reaching a season-low 15 games under .500 last week. They did rebound after that, winning four in a row including a sweep of the (speaking of disappointing) Texas Rangers. The Reds have been inconsistent, following a six-game winning streak with five losses in a row to drop below .500. That includes a 12-inning loss Monday at Minnesota. Still, the Reds are the better team and a slight -105 underdog, which is a fine bet.
The Padres and Dodgers highlight the rest of the slate. It's the best rivalry in baseball this season, between perhaps the two most talented teams. The Dodgers will be looking to even the series after losing Monday night.
What's the best bet?
Let's try to bounce back from a rough Monday. I don't have that much faith in the Clippers and taking the Vegas Golden Knights at -250 seems like cheating, so it's back to MLB. Let's go with the Toronto Blue Jays at +100 over the Miami Marlins. Blue Jays starter Ross Stripling has been on a nice run, and we know Toronto can hit. It's Blue Jays to break my slump.
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