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Saturday NBA Bets: Keep investing in the Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are just too dominant to pass up
By Dan Favale
The first two games between the Utah Jazz and Golden State Warriors, from a betting standpoint, have been weird.
In spite of some wire-to-wire toughness from the Jazz, the Warriors have won both contests rather decisively. And yet, entering Saturday night, they find themselves 0-2 against the spread, having never once pulled away enough to cover the generous differentials the sportsbooks have thus far lavished upon them.
That should change in Game 3, mostly because a 5.5-point spread is pretty routine for them.
Yes, the Jazz are playing at home, where they have been a tough beat all year. They are 29-12 in front of their fans, with one of the best point differentials in the league. They seem to feed off the crowd's energy and become more adept at forcing opponents to player their game—a bruising, sloth-paced affair prided upon half-court efficiency, clock management and quality defense.
Going up against the Warriors is a different experience altogether, though. They hurt you in so many ways, it's impossible to entirely butcher their identity.
During Game 1, they failed to hit a ton of threes, their modus operandi, sinking seven triples to the Jazz's nine. But they won the transition war without even blinking, pumping in 29 points on the break to Utah's six.
It was a different story in Game 2. The Jazz coaxed the Warriors into playing more of a half-court game. They fouled almost every time it looked like the Warriors were getting out in transition, opting sometimes for free throws rather than the potential to forfeit a pull-up three or and-1 opportunities. But the Warriors countered by detonating from beyond the arc, drilling 14 three-pointers. It was all the Jazz could do to keep up, and while they did keep up, banging in 12 treys of their own, they'll be hard-pressed to do the same thing again.
And this isn't even the biggest dilemma that comes with squaring off against the Warriors. No, the biggest problem is this: Even if, on the off chance, the Jazz can lure them into playing outside their comfort zone, operating only has a half-court team that has to reach the basket, manage the clock and play exceptional defense to offset three-point despair, the Warriors can win that way.
They have won that way.
Remember: Golden State wrapped the regular season second in points allowed per 100 possessions. And now they are first in points allowed per 100 possessions through six playoff tilts, all victories. They will win grind-it-out slugfests if they have to. It isn't their preference, but they have the shot-creators to conjure looks out of nothing, and Draymond Green, one of the smartest defenders in NBA history, anchors a fortress that suffocates everyone, both those on and off the ball.
All of which is to say it suddenly feels like a tall order for the Jazz to win even a game in this series—especially when there's a chance they'll be without George Hill. He missed Game 2 with a big toe injury on Thursday night, and he's questionable for Game 3.
Though the Jazz are comfortable using Joe Ingles, Gordon Hayward and Joe Johnson to orchestrate the offense, Hill adds a different dynamic because of his ability to knock down shots off the catch and create easy looks for everyone else. Hayward went 11-of-21 from the field in Game 2, but he feasted largely on difficult shots. Put him under the same circumstances, without Hill, and it's unlikely the results are identical.
The results of this game, however, should be. Expect the Warriors to knot their third double-digit victory of the series, only this time, they'll do so while covering the spread.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-5.5)
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