The Daily Sweat: Lakers have a chance to take a big step toward eliminating Warriors
Being down 0-2 in an NBA playoff series is bad. Being down 0-2, dropping those two games at home, is much, much worse.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a shot to put the Golden State Warriors in a big hole on Thursday night. The Lakers won Game 1, holding off a Golden State rally at the end to get a big win. A split in San Francisco would be good but a sweep would be even better.
The Warriors are 5.5-point favorites at BetMGM in Game 2. The Lakers have taken over as the favorite to win the series though. The Lakers are -175 to advance.
Since mid-February, the Lakers have been one of the best teams in the NBA. They started to get healthy and some pieces added at the trade deadline have clicked. When Anthony Davis plays as well as he did in Game 1, the Lakers are hard to beat.
The Warriors know all of this. They understand that only about 7% of teams that are down 0-2 in an NBA series come back to win. It's a veteran team with a championship pedigree and there will be urgency on Thursday, like we saw from the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
It sets up a big showdown early in the series. The Warriors should be at their best. If the Lakers can come up with another upset, the series might not last too long.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:
NHL home teams look to rebound
On Tuesday, home teams went 0-2. That means the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars face the same scary 0-1 series hole the Warriors are looking at in the NBA.
The Maple Leafs are known for playoff disappointment, and dropping Game 1 against the Florida Panthers won't help ease their fans' tension. The Maple Leafs are -185 favorites. The Dallas Stars were stunned in overtime by the Seattle Kraken and need to win Game 2. The Stars are -210 favorites.
Verlander's Mets debut highlights MLB
Justin Verlander will make his first start with the New York Mets on Thursday after an IL stint to start the season. He'll do so against the Detroit Tigers, his first MLB team. The Mets are -185 favorites and a win with Verlander might help spark something after a mediocre 16-15 start to the season.
There are 10 games overall in MLB on Thursday. Nine of them happen in the afternoon, leaving the night mostly free for some basketball and hockey playoff action.
What's the best bet?
I'll go with the Warriors. We saw them come to life a bit at the end of Game 1, and they understand they can't afford to lose this game. The Lakers are playing well, but we'll see the Warriors' best effort on Thursday night.