The Milwaukee Bucks entered the NBA playoffs as the favorite to win the championship. Their outlook changed a few minutes into their first playoff game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo landed hard on his back, had to leave Game 1 and the Bucks lost to the No. 8 seed Miami Heat. Then Antetokounmpo was listed as doubtful to play in Wednesday’s Game 2.
The team hasn’t given up hope Antetokounmpo will play through the back contusion, but the possibility of being without the two-time MVP puts the Bucks in a precarious position. No team has ever won a championship after losing its first two playoff games according to NBA.com. Teams that fall behind 0-2 in a series win the series just seven percent of the time, according to LandofBasketball.com.
The Bucks are 6.5-point favorites at BetMGM against the Heat for Game 2 in what looks like a must-win game just four days into their postseason.
The Bucks did go 11-8 without Antetokounmpo in the regular season, and the Heat has their own injury issue. Tyler Herro is out for a few weeks with a broken hand suffered in Game 1. And perhaps Antetokounmpo will play, though he probably won’t be fully healthy if he does.
The Heat are a tough team that is a little more dangerous than a typical No. 8 seed and the Antetokounmpo injury changes everything. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns, both Game 1 losers, covered as favorites on Tuesday night. It might not be that easy for Milwaukee.
Here’s a first look at the sports betting slate for Wednesday:
Can Memphis avoid 0-2?
Ja Morant will be a game-time decision with a hand injury, which puts the Memphis Grizzlies in a tough spot. Memphis is a 1.5-point underdog at home against the Los Angeles Lakers, who are up 1-0 in the series.
The Grizzlies have been good without Morant the past two seasons. They had a 11-10 record without Morant this season. Whether Morant plays or not, the Grizzlies can’t afford to be in a 0-2 hole going back to Los Angeles.
In the late playoff game, the Denver Nuggets are an 8.5-point favorite over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Denver is coming off an easy 109-80 win in Game 1.
Road teams doing well in NHL
It was a good night if you took road underdogs in the NHL on Tuesday. Road teams went 4-0. All four road teams were underdogs. That makes it 6-2 this NHL postseason for road teams.
If you follow zig-zag betting, it might be best to look at a lot of home teams for Game 2. Here are Wednesday’s matchups with the odds from BetMGM:
New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes (-175)
Florida Panthers at Boston Bruins (-250)
Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars (-155)
Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers (-255)
MLB has all 30 teams in action, and 11 of the 15 games are in the afternoon.
One of the more intriguing matchups is the Atlanta Braves at the San Diego Padres. The Braves have been great to start the season, with a 14-4 record. They have won eight in a row. The Padres have been struggling, which is surprising for a team with so many blue-chip (and expensive) players. They’re just 8-11. The Braves are a -120 road favorite for the series finale.
What’s the best bet?
I’ll go with the Grizzlies as a home underdog. I was leaning to the Heat, but it’s also possible a deep Bucks team rises to the situation and wins while covering the spread. I do think the Grizzlies win in an urgent spot, with or without Morant. Then the rest of that series will be very competitive.
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