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Wizards favored to bounce back

Wizards favored to bounce back

Wizards favored to bounce back

Washington, which trails Cleveland, 2-0, in the best-of-seven first-round series, is a five-point favorite in Thursday night's game.

With offense-minded guard Gilbert Arenas returning to a Washington Wizards lineup that already included Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, the team figured to have one of the more potent attacks in the NBA playoffs.

But after two games against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Wizards are looking for answers as they trail, 2-0, in their best-of-seven first round series entering tonight's Game 3 at the Verizon Center.

Washington, which averaged 98.8 points a game during the regular season, was held to 86 points in each of two losses to Cleveland. The last time the Wizards failed to score at least 87 points in consecutive games was Nov. 3-8, 2007.

The good news for Washington supporters is that Las Vegas oddsmakers expect the Wizards to bounce back tonight. They have been made five-point favorites with an over/under of 189.5.

The over/under bet may be worth a look because over the last two years, Cleveland's defense has made the Cavaliers a strong under bet in the playoffs.

Dating to last season's run to the NBA Finals, the under is 13-3 in Cleveland's last 16 postseason games when it has been an underdog, and the under is 7-1 in the Cavaliers' last eight games overall.

It's clear what Las Vegas oddsmakers think of the 2007-08 regular season MVP award. After leaning toward the Lakers' Kobe Bryant over the last month, the bet is no longer available on most sports betting boards.

But odds on the MVP of this season's NBA Finals are easy to find.

Boston's Kevin Garnett is listed as the favorite to take home the award at 3-1, followed by Bryant at 4-1. Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Boston's Paul Pierce are 8-1.

The Lakers' Pau Gasol is listed at 10-1, the same as New Orleans' Chris Paul, Utah's Deron Williams and Boston's Ray Allen.

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