NBA Finals live series odds: Is there value on Warriors, Celtics ahead of Game 3?

Jesse D. Garrabrant / National Basketball Association / Getty

After the first two games of the NBA Finals, the series is tied at one win apiece, and oddsmakers view this series as practically a coin flip. That leaves some value on the live series line for either the Warriors or Celtics - but which one?

Here's how we'd bet this series entering Game 3:

NBA Finals live series odds (6/6)

TEAM ML SPREAD
Warriors -120 +1.5 (-205)
Celtics Even -1.5 (+170)

Oddsmakers see this as a true best-of-five series with the Warriors priced as ever-so-slight favorites. But should they be?

Sure, Golden State is coming off a dominant win in Game 2 and carries a championship pedigree that makes this club attractive at a near-even price. But this isn't exactly the elite team of years past; we saw that with the Warriors' Game 1 collapse when nobody could generate their own shot down the stretch.

That changed in Game 2 when Stephen Curry went supernova in a whirlwind third quarter to bury the Celtics for good. He can do it again, surely, but what if he doesn't? We haven't seen much from his supporting cast. Klay Thompson has officially reached concerning levels of play, Jordan Poole is shooting 38.1% in this series, and only Andrew Wiggins (15.5 PPG) is averaging more than 13 points per game for the Dubs.

It's not as if Boston's plan isn't working in these Finals. The Celtics held the Warriors below 110 points in each of the first two games and a combined 44.8% from the field, the C's made 15 threes on 40.5% shooting in Game 2 after a Game 1 eruption from deep, and they got Jayson Tatum (28 points) into a groove after his quiet series opener.

As has been the case all postseason for this team, the issue is turnovers. Boston turned it over 18 times in Sunday's loss, which has been a harbinger of bad results for this group: The Celtics are 0-5 in these playoffs when they cough it up 16 or more times, compared to 12-3 when they post 15 or fewer turnovers.

Nobody has weathered adversity in this postseason better than the C's, who are an incredible 6-0 following a loss. Most impressive is how they've turned things around: They've committed just 10.2 turnovers per game following those six losses, reducing their turnovers by an average of 5.8 per game.

If Boston can avoid giving up easy points in transition - the Warriors scored 33 points off turnovers, tied for the second-most in a Finals game in the last 25 years - that'll force Golden State to win in the half court, which is an area in which we've seen this group struggle against the Celtics' elite defense.

Also, consider that even after Sunday's loss, Boston still owns home-court advantage in this series and will likely be favored in three of the remaining five games, if it comes to that. The Celtics will be favored in at least the next two, which should give pause to anyone considering betting the Warriors as series favorites.

Pick: Celtics (even)

C Jackson Cowart is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on Twitter (@CJacksonCowart) or email him at cjackson.cowart@thescore.com.

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NBA Finals live series odds: Is there value on Warriors, Celtics ahead of Game 3?
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