When it was announced that Spurs star Kawhi Leonard would miss Game 6 against the Rockets because of an ankle injury, San Antonio’s other players stepped up their games Thursday and crushed Houston by 39 points.
But the Warriors aren’t the Rockets.
When Leonard left Game 1 of the Western Conference finals Sunday after reinjuring his ankle with the Spurs up by 23 in the third quarter, Golden State went on an 18-0 run en route to a improbable 113-111 victory.
“That was the whole game and you can argue the only thing that can keep this series competitive,” CG Technology sports book director Jason Simbal said. “Without (Leonard) in Game 2, it’s going to be tough for the Spurs.”
All it took was one of the greatest comebacks in NBA playoff history to make a winner of a CG Technology bettor who wagered $262,000 to win $37,000 on Golden State on the money line.
There were also plenty of bettors who cashed in on the Warriors on in-progress wagering at William Hill sports book, which offered Golden State at odds as high as 9-1.
“On in-play (wagering), we got murdered,” William Hill sports book director Nick Bogdanovich said. “9-1 was the highest but all the damage was done at lower numbers.”
Leonard moves line
With Leonard banged up, the Warriors opened as 13-point favorites over the Spurs in Tuesday’s Game 2. When it was announced Monday that he’d miss Game 2, the line quickly climbed to 14.
“I don’t expect much resistance out of San Antonio at this point,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “They can come out with effort and energy but Golden State played miserable the first half getting down by 20 and you saw what San Antonio was without Leonard. It’s going to be tough.”
The Westgate posted odds on the exact series result and the Warriors winning in a four-game sweep is the minus-110 favorite.
Trend to watch
If, as expected, the Warriors beat the Spurs on Tuesday to take a 2-0 series lead, a profitable trend will be in play for Saturday’s Game 3 in San Antonio.
Home teams trailing 2-0 opened the playoffs 12-0 against the spread in the first quarter and first half of Game 3. The trend is 14-2 overall this year after the Raptors and Jazz each went 1-1. Toronto failed to cover the first quarter against the Cavaliers but covered the first half and Utah followed the same script against the Warriors.
The trend is 16-2 going back to Game 3 of the 2016 NBA Finals. However, proceed with caution as bookmakers are aware of the trend and have adjusted their numbers accordingly.
“The numbers are built in now. We’ve seen some halftime lines more than the game line,” Sherman said. “I’ve been (betting) that (trend) myself for years. If you handicap the NBA regular season, rarely can you find spots where emotion plays such a large part. But you can see that emotional edge in the playoffs.”
Bettor wins two big parlays
A CG Technology bettor hit a pair of $3,000 parlays Sunday that paid a total of $62,000. The bettor cashed $36,000 on a three-teamer on the Astros and over 8½ against the Yankees in the second game of their doubleheader and the Ducks minus-1½ goals (plus-225) over the Predators. Houston jumped out to a 8-0 lead after two innings of its 10-7 win, but the bettor had to sweat out Anaheim’s 5-3 win over Nashville. Antoine Vermette scored an empty-net goal for the Ducks with 44 seconds left to cash the puck line.
The bettor also won $26,000 on a four-teamer on the Spurs (plus-10), Pirates (plus-1½) and the Giants and Ducks on the money line. Pittsburgh beat the Diamondbacks 6-4 on Jose Osuna’s two-run homer with two outs in the 10th, and Tony Watson escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the inning.
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com or 702-266-6080. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.