Oddsmakers Shake Up the Books for Game 2

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

An exhilarating Game 1 has ostensibly set the tone for the 2021 Western Conference Finals as the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers set the scoreboard ablaze on Sunday in the Valley of the Sun. Following 11 years of chaotic disappointment, the Suns have the opportunity to “Beat L.A.” twice in a single postseason to punch their ticket to NBA Finals for the first time since 1993.

Now with the Suns aiming for a 2-0 lead over the Clippers, the sportsbooks are mixing up the wagers for bettors who look to take advantage of history being made one way or another in the Western Conference.

 

The Spread (As of June 21)

Los Angeles Clippers +6.0 (+205)

Phoenix Suns -6.0 (-245)

Oddsmakers have set the spread equal to Game 1’s final margin of six points. While the Clippers are guaranteed to be without Kawhi Leonard for Game 2, the Suns have yet to rule out starting point guard, Chris Paul, who remains in the NBA’s health and safety protocols for COVID-19. Paul has been isolated from the team but reportedly has been symptom-free during his absence.

While on their eight-game playoff win streak, the Suns have covered the spread in each victory. This is the 32nd time this season that Phoenix has been favorited by six points or more. In those games, the Suns are only 15-16 against the spread. Overall this season, Phoenix has regularly beat the spread at 51-31-1.

The Clippers have spent far more games as a 6.0+ underdog than the Suns have spent as a 6.0+ favorite. Los Angeles is 25-22 this season when listed as an underdog of six points or more. In fact, this isn’t even the largest spread they’ve played against as an underdog. In Game 5 of the Conference Semifinals against the Jazz, the Clippers were an eight-point underdog on the road and still defeated the Jazz by eight points. Throughout the season, L.A. has often covered their spread at 47-37-2.

Beyond Game 2, William Hill Sportsbook favors the Suns (-430) to win the Western Conference Finals series over the Clippers (+330). Phoenix is also ranked with the second-best odds to win the NBA Championship at +150, only behind the Milwaukee Bucks (+105).

Over/Under

224.0 Total Points (-110)

Regardless of the omission of two of the best players remaining in the NBA Playoffs, it certainly didn’t refrain the two teams from annihilating the over/under in Game 1, set at 219.5. Even after a 21-21 knot to conclude the first quarter, the duo combined for 234 total points in the series opener.

For Game 2, oddsmakers believe defense will be more prevalent, only rising the over/under to 224 total points. The Suns are averaging 112 points per game in the playoffs, and have scored over 110 points in each of the past seven games. Phoenix has hit the over five times in the past ten games. This is the largest over/under placed on a Suns game since their Game 2 victory against the Nuggets (224.5), which resulted in the teams hitting the under.

Phoenix has hit the over 47 times this season in 83 games but is only batting about .500 in the playoffs. The Clippers have only hit the over in 48.8% of their games but have hit the over in four of their past five games as the underdog. In their three regular-season meetings this season, the two teams average 215 total points.

With uncertainty continuing to loom over both franchises ahead of Game 2, the Western Conference Championship appears to remain wide open. The Clippers weren’t able to take advantage of a Chris Paul-less Suns in Game 1 and still are without Leonard. A victory for Phoenix would not only hand the Suns a 2-0 lead heading to L.A. but also mark their ninth straight playoff win.

The Suns and Clippers face off in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday on ESPN at 6:00 p.m.

Arizona native, Devon Henry, joined the Sports360AZ crew in 2018 after graduating from Arizona State's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Devon has avidly partaken in coverage of the Arizona high school sports scene since 2013 and has covered NASCAR and INDYCAR at Phoenix Raceway since 2017. Devon is also a play-by-play announcer, calling over a dozen different sports and hundreds of events.