More than enough hype accompanied the NBA Finals last week, but if the series needed a boost, Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce supplied it by jumping into the act with his theatrics.
Pierce hopped out of a wheelchair and hit two key 3-pointers to carry the Celtics to a 98-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 on Thursday. Boston closed as a 3-point home favorite.
While money clearly favored the Celtics in the opener, the betting public is leaning to the Lakers in today’s Game 2. Pierce is bothered by a strained right knee but said he plans to play.
“It’s obviously a big game for the Lakers, and most people think they will bounce back,” MGM Mirage sports book director Robert Walker said.
The Lakers are 1-point favorites today. Las Vegas Sports Consultants and the MGM Mirage favored the Celtics by 2 on the opening line, but Walker said betting has been steady on the Lakers.
Wagering is expected to pick up after what Walker said was an “ordinary” handle in Game 1.
“We didn’t take any really huge wagers — no six-figure bets,” he said. “I was a little surprised by that. But I think we’ll see a lot more action in Game 2.”
The adjusted price on the best-of-7 series still favors the Lakers at minus-145, down from minus-190 before the series.
The total for Game 2 ranges from 190 to 191. The opening game was on pace to go over the total after three quarters, with the Celtics leading 77-73, but the teams combined for only 36 points in the fourth quarter and the total went under 192.
The Las Vegas Hilton has made slight adjustments to most of its proposition bets for Game 2.
The Game 1 prop for Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s total points was 29. Bryant finished with 24 points on 9-for-26 shooting and had three rebounds. The total for Bryant’s combined points and rebounds in today’s game is 341/2.
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907.