The Daily Sweat: Will Giannis take over in Game 2 of the NBA Finals?

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How will Giannis Antetokounmpo look in Game 2?

The Bucks star made a somewhat surprising return from a knee injury to start Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday. Antetokounmpo missed two games against the Atlanta Hawks after he suffered a hyperextended knee in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Antetokounmpo played after he had been upgraded from doubtful ahead of the game. He’s set to play in Game 2 as Milwaukee attempts to even the series and it’s fair to wonder if Giannis will be more comfortable with his knee and his conditioning on Thursday night.

Antetokounmpo played 35 minutes in Game 1 as Milwaukee tried to push Phoenix to the buzzer in a 118-103 loss. He was 6-of-11 from the field and 7-of-12 from the free-throw line for 20 points and also grabbed 17 rebounds.

His 11 field goal attempts were a playoff low for a complete game. Antetokounmpo had 10 field goal attempts in 24 minutes in Game 4 against Atlanta before his knee injury and he’s attempted 20 or more shots in 10 of the 16 playoff games he’s participated in this season. He also averaged 18 field goal attempts per game in the regular season.

Those stats are why we’re comfortable thinking Antetokounmpo will have more points in Game 2 than he had in Game 1. And that makes some of his prop bets at BetMGM tantalizing.

While you can’t bet on Antetokounmpo’s total points by themselves, you can get an over/under on his total points and assists and total points and rebounds. Here’s a look at some of the Giannis props that you can put some cash on ahead of Game 2.

30.5 Points + Assists

Over (-120)

Under (-110)

37.5 Points + Rebounds

Over (-120)

Under (-110)

With Antetokounmpo’s rebounds over/under at 11.5 and his assists over/under at 4.5, we can reasonably assume that his points over/under sits at around 25.5. That’s an easy over for us if and when it’s back on the board at BetMGM. He’s scored 26 or more points in 10 games this postseason.

He’s also grabbed 11 or more rebounds in all but two of his playoff games in 2021. Bet the over on 37.5 points and rebounds too and thank us later. Milwaukee may not get the series to 1-1 on Thursday night, but we’re convinced Antetokounmpo is set for a big game.

A stacked Scottish Open field

With the British Open looming in a week, there’s a bit of a split among PGA Tour pros. Many of the stars you’ll see in the fourth and final major of the year are already across the Atlantic and playing in the Scottish Open. The tournament features 18 of the top 50 players in the world and even grouped Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy together for Thursday and Friday.

Rahm entered the tournament as the favorite to win at +650. Xander Schauffele was +1100 as of Thursday morning and Tommy Fleetwood was at +1200. Our advice to you is to watch the first-round scores come in and take advantage of some extended odds on a golfer who isn’t a huge name. There could be some value there.

A wide-open John Deere field

As a bunch of recognizable names are already in the United Kingdom, the field for the John Deere Classic doesn’t have a clear favorite. Daniel Berger is the tournament favorite at +1000 and just three other players — Brian Harman, Sungjae Im and Alex Noren — have odds better than +2000 to win the tournament.

The TPC Deere Run course sets up for a birdie and eagle extravaganza; the final score will probably be in the neighborhood of 20-under par. This is a tournament to bet a wild card or three.

Can Cleveland snap the streak?

The Cleveland Indians enter Thursday night’s game at home against the Kansas City Royals as -140 favorites to win the game straight up and are +140 to beat the Royals by two or more runs.

Cleveland is a favorite on the moneyline despite having lost nine straight games. How? Well, the Royals have been a part of some terrible losing runs so far this season and Cleveland is still ahead of Kansas City in the AL Central standings. Cleveland is 42-42 and is now eight games back of the division lead after the White Sox have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games.

Thursday’s pitching matchup features Danny Duffy for the Royals and Zach Plesac for Cleveland. Duffy has been phenomenal when healthy for the Royals this season and has 57 strikeouts in 52 innings. He’s allowed 10 hits and three earned runs in 11.2 innings against Cleveland this season, though his last start against them came on May 6. Given the Royals’ inability to get consistent production from anyone outside the top four in their lineup, we really like Cleveland at +140 to win by two or more.

Who cashed tickets on Wednesday?

Bettors who jumped on the Tampa Bay Lightning at any point to win the Stanley Cup Final were thrilled with the Lightning’s win on Wednesday night. The Lightning clinched their second straight Stanley Cup in five games over Montreal in a series that only wasn’t a sweep after Montreal snuck a Game 4 win.

Some other Tampa Bay bettors had a good day on Wednesday too. The Rays swept Cleveland in a doubleheader and the second game was a combined no-hitter for Tampa Bay. Anyone with the under (a measly 6.5 runs) and Tampa was very happy with the Rays’ 4-0 win in the second game.

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