Who is going to take control of the NBA Finals?
The series is back on the West Coast for Game 5 on Monday night with the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics tied at 2-2.
After the sides split Games 1 and 2 in San Francisco and Boston took Game 3 at home, the Celtics had a golden opportunity to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. But Stephen Curry had other ideas in Game 4.
Curry put the Warriors on his back and poured in 43 points in a dramatic 107-97 victory that evened the series at two games apiece. The Warriors also received a big lift from Andrew Wiggins, who scored 17 points and pulled down a career high of 16 rebounds in the win. On top of that, the Warriors out-rebounded the Celtics 55-42, forced 15 turnovers and limited Celtics star Jayson Tatum to 23 points on 8-of-23 shooting.
Can they put forth a similar defensive effort on Monday night?
For Game 5 at BetMGM, the Warriors are favored by 3.5 points with the total listed at 210.5. The Warriors are 10-1 at home this postseason, but that lone loss came in Game 1 of the Finals. From a betting perspective, the Warriors have covered the spread in eight of those 11 home games – all as a favorite.
And on the heels of that Game 4 win, the public betting is heavily backing the Warriors at home. According to BetMGM, 69% of the bets and 82% of the money is on the Warriors covering the 3.5-point spread.
The Celtics, though, are 9-2 against the spread as the road team and 7-2 ATS as underdogs this postseason.
Most bettors are expecting this game to be more high-scoring with 68% of the bets and 71% of the money on the over. Games 1 and 3 of the Finals have gone over the total with the under hitting in Games 2 and 4.
For the series as a whole, the Warriors are now -150 favorites with the Celtics listed at +125. Additionally, Curry has surged back into the position of Finals MVP favorite. Curry is listed at -145 ahead of Tatum at +185. From there, it’s Boston’s Jaylen Brown at +700 before a precipitous drop-off to Marcus Smart at +6600 and Al Horford and Wiggins both at +15000.
Here’s a look at the rest of the betting slate for Monday.
What’s going on in baseball?
There are 10 MLB games on the schedule for Monday, including the red hot Atlanta Braves.
The Braves have won a whopping 11 straight games and are -145 favorites on the road against the Washington Nationals.
Elsewhere in the NL East, the Philadelphia Phillies just had a nine-game winning streak snapped on Sunday but are back at it at home against the Miami Marlins. The Phillies have Aaron Nola on the mound and are -135 favorites. Nola threw eight shutout innings in his last outing.
There are also two do-or-die games in the College World Series. In Super Regional action, Stanford hosts UConn and Oregon State hosts Auburn. It’s Game 3 in both regionals with the winners from Monday’s games heading to Omaha and the losers seeing their seasons come to an end.
We already saw a huge upset with Notre Dame knocking off national championship favorite Tennessee on Sunday. If UConn can upset Stanford, it would be another big upset. The Cardinal are -250 on the moneyline on Monday. UConn is +200.
In Corvallis, Oregon State is -165 after squeaking out a one-run win on Sunday night. Auburn is a +135 underdog.
Stanley Cup lookahead:
The Stanley Cup Finals are set to begin on Wednesday night with the Colorado Avalanche hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning for Game 1.
The Lightning are the two-time defending Cup champions, but the Avalanche are -190 favorites to win their first championship since 2001. The Avs swept the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Finals while Lightning needed six games to take care of the New York Rangers in the East.
For Game 1, Colorado is -160 on the moneyline with the total listed at six goals.
What’s the best bet?
I’m leaning towards the Celtics +3.5 in the NBA Finals, but my favorite play of the day is the under 7.5 runs in the Phillies vs. Marlins game. Aaron Nola was lights out his last time out and the Phillies, despite their hot play lately, always seem to struggle offensively vs. the Marlins.
The fact that the Marlins have Sandy Alcantara on the mound adds to my confidence in this pick. Alcantara has a 1.61 earned-run average on the season and has allowed only three earned runs total in its last six starts.