Orlando Magic +11 @ Toronto Raptors, Total 211.5 – The Magic were the largest underdog (+8.5) to win outright in the first game of any playoff series this year. The win was a huge sign to the Toronto Raptors that this series will not be a pushover or a sweep. Orlando did an excellent job of converting on 3-point attempts (14-29, 48.3%) and trips to the free throw line (18-20, 90%). However, a solid night statistically was almost not enough to overcome the #2-seeded Raptors. A poor night from Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka, combined 5 points on 2-13 shooting, left a lot of room for Toronto to improve in game 2. It cannot be expected for that pair to shoot brick after brick again tonight, but have a much stronger performance at home. The good news for Orlando however, was the poor play of Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic. Combining for 21 points on 6-24 shooting, the star forwards will surely have a much better night offensively to boost the Magic.
Looking at the total from game 1 (212.5 points), there was large line movement from the opening number (216) towards the ‘under’. D.J. Augustin’s game-winning 3 sealed that result, but a miss on that shot and the ‘over’ covers midway through overtime. The pace of these two squads is fairly slow and oriented towards half-court play, but I expect the Raptors to have more urgency tonight and show some aggression at the rim.
4* Over 211.5 and 4* Orlando +11
San Antonio Spurs +7.5 @ Denver Nuggets, Total 209 – San Antonio was also a successful 7-seed, winning game 1 of their series as a road-underdog. The Spurs were able to control the pace and play more towards a half-court game. It was a strong result, despite star forward LaMarcus Aldridge having a relatively poor shooting night. San Antonio was an efficient 7-15 from behind the arc, which could not be said for the Nuggets. Denver shot 6-28 from 3 and will look to desperately change its playing style tonight to capture a home win. The starting 5 combined to shoot 3-22 from deep and frontcourt stars Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsaps had subpar outings. A little bit of adjustment and rhythm could prove wonders for Denver in turning the tides of the series.
The total in game 1 (211) did not show much movement from
the opening line (211.5), as it seemed most people did not have a strong feel
for how it would play out. Given the poor shooting performances of the Nuggets
and the lowered total tonight (209), there is an expectation that the same
result will occur tonight. However, Denver will have to push the pace and force
the Spurs to play a little less of their half court game and lean on the strength
of their guards. A better shooting performance should lend itself to a nice ‘over’
4* Spurs +7.5 and 5* Over 209