This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals tips off Friday night between the Lakers and the Heat. Following a lopsided Game 1 blowout, the Heat find themselves in a near-must-win scenario, and they'll likely need to do it without two of their best players.
Bam Adebayo (neck strain) has already been ruled out, while Goran Dragic (torn plantar fascia) is considered doubtful to play Friday, leaving Miami shorthanded against a Lakers team that looks to be hitting its stride at the right time.
The series is far from over, but oddsmakers have already shifted their numbers even more in favor of the Lakers. Game 1 closed with a 4.5-point spread in favor of LA, but as Game 2 approaches, the Lakers sit as nearly double-digit favorites.
Let's take a look at some betting angles for Game 2.
All odds via the DraftKings Sportsbook
Point Spread: Lakers -9.5
Total: 217.0 points
The pick: Lakers -9.5; UNDER 217.0 points
Assuming both Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic don't play, it goes without saying that Miami will be undermanned. Even if the Lakers come out with less tenacity on defense and on the glass – where they held a 54-36 advantage in Game 1 – it'll be difficult for the Heat to survive without arguably their two best players in the postseason. Better games can be expected out of Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson, but the Lakers will be able to sell out on shooters even more in Game 2 without the threat of a dump down to Adebayo.
Thanks to Miami's second and third quarter struggles, Game 1 went under, despite the Lakers putting up 116 points. Chances are, the Lakers won't hit 15 three-pointers again, but it's not totally out of the question considering the quality of the looks they were getting in Game 1. Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope caught fire in the first half, but it wasn't one of those alright, this is getting ridiculous shooting games for the Lakers. At one point, Los Angeles missed 13 consecutive threes, and the trio of Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso combined to hit only three of their 12 attempts.
With all of that said, I like Game 2 to again go under 217 points – mostly because of the injuries to Miami. Had it not been for Kendrick Nunn's eruption in the second half – partially enabled by the Lakers giving roughly 15% effort on defense – the Heat might've struggled to break 85 points. I see this as another rough offensive night for Miami, even if Kelly Olynyk and/or Meyers Leonard can open things up from a spacing perspective.
Tyler Herro OVER 18.5 points (+100)
If there's no Dragic and no Adebayo, the Heat will have no choice but to turn to Herro for more production. There's no doubt that the rookie will be up to the task, even if that leads to an inefficient shooting night. As great as Jimmy Butler is, volume scoring has never been his calling card. Butler should lead the way in Game 2, but I wouldn't be surprised if Herro ends up leading the team in shot attempts. Herro has scored at least 19 points in three of his last five games – all of which came with Adebayo and Dragic in the lineup. I wouldn't necessarily bet it, but the DraftKings Sportsbook also offers Herro to lead the game in scoring at 25/1.
LeBron James to finish with a triple-double (+275)
Perhaps the oddsmakers are factoring in blowout potential, but I'm willing to take that risk at this number. James was one assist shy of a triple-double in Game 1, and multiple teammates blew opportunities to grant him that final assist in the fourth quarter. At this point in his career, James may not be able to score at will, but he's a virtual lock to put himself in position for a triple-double on any night. Over his last four games, James is averaging 29.8 points, 12.0 rebounds and 9.5 assists. Even if the Lakers don't need his best effort in Game 2, James should once again knock on the door of his fifth triple-double of these playoffs.
Danny Green OVER 1.5 made three-pointers (-118)
I've been as critical as anyone of Green's play, but I like him to have another solid game after hitting three three-pointers in Game 1. Every look Green got in Game 1 was virtually wide open, and that should be the case again – especially without the specter of Adebayo mucking things up when the Lakers drive the lane.
Jimmy Butler UNDER 22.5 points (-110)
Butler will be Miami's undisputed No. 1 option in Game 2, but I'm not sure that's necessarily a good thing. Without having to worry about Adebayo and Dragic, the Lakers' defense can key in on Butler, who likely won't be close to 100 percent healthy, himself. Double-ankle-roll aside, Butler was one of the few bright spots for Miami in Game 1, but he hit some difficult shots early on and had his most efficient shooting game of the entire postseason. As long as the Lakers bring even a baseline level of intensity on defense, I like their chances to slow down Butler and force Miami's role players to beat them.