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Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry walks upcourt after a play during the second half in Game 6 of the team’s second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets on May 10, 2019.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry walks upcourt after a play during the second half in Game 6 of the team’s second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets on May 10, 2019.|Eric Gay | Associated Press
NBA

NBA Playoffs: With Durant out, Frank sees 2 picks of value in Trail Blazers vs Warriors Game 1

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Trail Blazers (+7.5) @ Warriors (219)
Pick: Trail Blazers +7.5
Pick: Over 219

It’s always smart to try to exploit overreactions in the market and we think we have one here. Golden State was a 7.5-point pup in its series-clinching victory in Houston on Friday minus Kevin Durant. Now, Golden State is laying 7.5 in the opening game of the Western Conference Finals and Durant is still not playing. Does Friday’s performance + a perceived lesser opponent + home court = a 15-point adjustment? The answer is unequivocally no. Everyone’s picking Golden State in this series and while I’m not necessarily disagreeing, I do think Portland will keep this close throughout and wouldn’t be surprised if it did what Houston couldn’t do and left Oakland later this week with a split of the first two games. At -125, I think Portland +2.5 games for this series makes an awful lot of sense. For a Trail Blazers team that’s 5-1 at home in the postseason and also has three road playoff wins so far this year, finding two wins somewhere in this series shouldn’t be that difficult. Granted, in the three playoff games the Trail Blazers have lost on the road in the first two rounds, they did not cover any of those three. However, that doesn’t change my initial assertion that this point spread is an overreaction to Golden State’s convincing close in the fourth quarter in Game 6 against the Rockets. The Warriors lines have been a bit inflated at Oracle Arena even before Friday’s game anyway which explains Golden State’s 2-4 ATS playoff record at home through two rounds. Conversely, I don’t think the markets reacted enough when setting this total. It opened at 216 and has been bet up to 219 and I’d keep following the money. Without Durant, Golden State dropped 118 in Houston on Friday. In a series against Portland in the 2016 playoffs, before Durant arrived in the Bay Area, the Warriors averaged 118.6 points per game. Steph Curry looked like himself again in the second half of Game 6 against the Rockets scoring 33 points in the final 24 minutes after being held scoreless in the first two quarters. I think both teams go over 110 in this one which puts the game over the total.