Can The Nets Protect Home Court Without James Harden?

  • The Brooklyn Nets lost James Harden in the first minute of Game 1 against the Milwaukee Bucks.
  • They managed to win the game anyway, by a score of 115-107.
  • Harden will not be playing in Game 2, and the Bucks are within striking distance on the odds boards as a result.

LAS VEGAS - The Milwaukee Bucks dropped Game 1 against the Brooklyn Nets, but they have another chance to steal home court advantage from the Nets in Game 2.

The major storyline in the game will be the absence of James Harden, who was officially diagnosed with hamstring tightness.

It’s unclear to what degree Brooklyn is playing their cards close to the vest with Harden’s injury.

Still, the Nets were able to win Game 1 with Harden leaving the game in the first minute, which bodes well for their chances in Game 2.

The Bucks have a real shot, however - the online sportsbooks see the Nets as favored, but very mildly - to the point that the Bucks could be outright favorites at home in Game 3.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets Moneyline

  • Milwaukee Bucks -105
  • Brooklyn Nets -115

The Nets entered this series with odds around -200 to win it, but Harden’s absence seems to have shaken everything up.

Now, the ostensible favorites to win the NBA Finals might find themselves being pushed to the brink by the Bucks.

Milwaukee Bucks vs. Brooklyn Nets Spread

  • Milwaukee Bucks +1.0 (-110)
  • Brooklyn Nets -1.0 (-110)

The spread for the game is only one point, which is notable given that Brooklyn won Game 1 (without Harden for 47 minutes) by eight points.

Including the playoffs, the Bucks are 35-42 against the spread, and all of that negative differential comes from their road ATS record. On the road, the Bucks are 16-23 against the spread, whereas at home, they are 19-19.

The Nets have flat-out dominated at home, both straight up and against the spread, and their home court advantage should mean something.

They have a 31-8 record at home over the course of the regular season and the playoffs, and they are 23-17 against the spread when playing at home. In addition, they’re 9-1 in their last ten games, and 9-1 against the spread in those games as well.

The real question for sports betting fans is whether or not the loss of Harden is enough to invalidate the Nets’ vast home success.

For now, the answer seems to be “almost, but not quite”, but it’s worth noting that the line opened at Nets -2.5 and has gradually moved to where it is now over the course of betting, which suggests that bettors are taking positions against the Nets.

Game 2 of this series could be pivotal in determining the outcome. It airs at 7:30 p.m. EST on TNT.