Westgate now has Denver as the ‘chalk’ to win NBA Finals

Westgate now has Denver as the ‘chalk’ to win NBA Finals

Denver (63-32 straight up, 52-43 against the spread) rallied from a double-digit deficit in the third quarter to capture a 108-103 win in last night’s Game 2 of the Western Conference finals. The win gave the Nuggets a 2-0 series lead, but the Lakers covered the spread again as 5.5-point road underdogs.

After struggling with his shot for most of the night, Jamal Murray erupted for 23 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to lead Denver to victory. Murray added 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals. Nikola Jokic posted his fourth consecutive triple-double and his seventh of the postseason by producing 23 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists and three steals.

Michael Porter Jr. added 16 points, seven boards and three steals, while Bruce Brown and Aaron Gordon were also in double figures with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

L.A.’s Rui Hachimura made all seven of his field-goal attempts while scoring 17 of his 21 points in the first half to give his team a 53-48 lead at the break. The Lakers led 74-64 with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter, but that’s when Denver went on a 10-0 run to pull even.

LeBron James finished with 22 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds, four steals and a pair of blocked shots, but he missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Austin Reaves had 22 points, five assists, three boards and one steal, while Anthony Davis contributed 18 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and four blocked shots.

However, Davis went just 4-of-15 from the field, getting most of his points at the free-throw line by making 9-of-11 attempts.

Los Angeles (52-45 SU, 50-45-1 ATS) will be in desperation mode for Saturday’s Game 3 back at Crypto.com Arena, where it owns a 30-18 SU record and a 27-19-1 ATS mark. Darvin Ham’s team is undefeated both SU and ATS in six home playoff games.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets have struggled on the road this season, going 21-25 both SU and ATS. They’re 2-3 both SU and ATS in five road assignments in the playoffs, winning Game 4 at Minnesota and Game 6 at Phoenix.

As of early Friday afternoon, most books had the Lakers listed as 5.5-point home favorites with a total of 223.5. The Nuggets were in the +180 to +195 range on the money line.

In Game 1, the 258 combined points went ‘over’ the 222.5-point total. At least for the total, the Zig-Zag Theory worked last night as the 211 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 225-point tally.

With a commanding 2-0 series lead, the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas has adjusted Denver to its +125 ‘chalk’ to win the 2023 NBA Finals. Boston now has +150 odds, while the Lakers are Heat are both at +800 (or 8/1).

Westgate now has Denver as the ‘chalk’ to win NBA Finals

Most spots have the Celtics listed as nine-point favorites for tonight’s Game 2 vs. Miami. The total is in the 215-216 range and the Heat are +330 to win outright.

Boston (65-31 SU, 53-42-1 ATS) is 36-13 SU and 28-21 ATS at home this year, while Miami (54-42 SU, 40-52-2 ATS) is 21-27 SU and 20-26-1 on the road.

Even though the Celtics are in desperation mode tonight, I still like Miami +9. Now I’ll concede that I’m not nearly as bullish on the Heat tonight as I was in Game 1, but I’m on them nonetheless.

I went 3-0 ATS in Game 1 with my picks on VegasInsider. My big play was the Heat +8, but I also cashed on Boston’s Team Total to go ‘over’ 109.5 and on ‘over’ (for both teams for the game) 212 points.

Erik Spoelstra’s squad won 123-116 thanks to another spectacular effort from Jimmy Butler, who dominated with 35 points, seven assists, six steals and five rebounds. Bam Adebayo finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and one steal, while Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Caleb Martin and Kyle Lowry added 15 points apiece.

As loyal readers know (and if you didn’t, follow me on Twitter at vegasbedwards), I’ve been riding these Boston Team Totals to go ‘over’ since Game 2 of the Atlanta series. The Celtics have scored 114 points or more in 12 of their last 16 games. Although it would be one-half point short tonight, I’ll still point out that they’ve scored at least 112 in 14 of those 16 contests.

For money-management purposes in tonight’s Game 2 of the East finals, I’m going to back Boston’s Team Total ‘over’ 112.5 points (+100 or even money at some shops) for 1.5 units. Then I’m also on the Heat +9 for one unit.

Finally, let’s go with the ‘over’ again for one-half unit, and that’s 215 points at Circa, Westgate and DraftKings as of 1:20 p.m. Eastern.

The ‘over’ has hit at a 14-5 clip for Miami in its last 19 games. One of those ‘unders’ had 221 combined points that would’ve been an easy ‘over’ with tonight’s number.

The ‘over’ is on a 9-3 roll for the Celtics in their last 12 outings.

As for futures, I bought a 16/1 ticket on the Heat that I purchased prior to Game 5 of the East semifinals against the Knicks.

Whether you tail or fade, best of luck and enjoy the NBA action this weekend!

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