2014 NBA Western Conference Quarterfinal Series Betting Picks
San Antonio may have streaked its way to another regular season title in the West, but heading into the playoffs, this conference is loaded with three or four other teams that are more than capable of making a run to this year's NBA Finals. The following is a brief betting preview for the four matchups on the slate in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs with odds provided by 5Dimes.
No. 6 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers
Series Odds: Golden State +305 Los Angeles -365
Golden State was dealt a serious setback when center Andrew Bogut was lost indefinitely with a broken rib. He would have been a key piece of the puzzle on both offense and defending against the Clippers' size underneath. The Warriors still have the hot hand of Stephen Curry, who led the team with 24 points per game this season, but it is doubtful that will be enough.
The Clippers were one of the hottest teams in the league down the stretch with a 20-5 straight-up run since late February. They were also a profitable team to wager on with a 7-3 record against the spread in their last 10 regular season games. The other good news is that Los Angeles should have all of top players available for this series with Danny Granger upgraded to probable for Saturday's Game 1. This all adds up to the Clippers making fairly short work of their Pacific Division rivals in this best-of-seven clash.
Los Angeles in 5
No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Series Odds: Memphis +400 Oklahoma City -570
Memphis is one of those teams that nobody wants to face in the playoffs mainly because of its ability to spread the ball around on offense and shut you down on defense. The Grizzlies closed-out the season with five SU wins to build some solid momentum heading into this series and they come in as healthy as they have been the entire season.
The pressure has been dialed-up on Kevin Durant and Co. to get back to the Finals this season after Russell Westbrook's injury led to an early exit in last season's playoffs at the hands of Memphis in five games. There is no lack of talent on the Thunder's roster to get the job done, but as a whole, this team has struggled with consistency at times this year. Oklahoma City swept the three-game regular season series and it returns the favor by ousting the Grizzlies from the playoffs this time around.
Oklahoma City in 6
No. 8 Dallas Mavericks vs. No. 1 San Antonio Spurs
Series Odds: Dallas +585 San Antonio -870
Dallas lost two of its last three games both SU and ATS to fall to the eighth seed in the West. There could be some benefit in this pairing since it will face a familiar foe in the Southwest Division; however you also have to keep in mind that the Mavericks have lost the last the nine games SU in this series including all four contests this season.
The Spurs propelled themselves to the top spot in the conference with a late-season 19-game winning streak and they finished the year with the best SU record in the NBA (62-20). The most dangerous aspect of this team is its almost equal ability to win on the road (30-11 SU) as opposed to winning at home (32-9 SU). It is also one of the most balanced teams in the NBA; ranking sixth in both points scored (105.4) and points allowed (97.6). This all adds up to a major mismatch in this series.
San Antonio in 5
No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers vs. No. 4 Houston Rockets
Series Odds: Portland =175 Houston -210
There is no doubt that Portland can light-up the scoreboard with an average of 106.7 PPG and it has some solid star power in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. The big question in this matchup is that with a defense that was ranked 22nd in the league in points allowed (102.8) can the Trail Blazers come out on top four times in what should be a series of shootouts?
Houston comes into this opening round showdown as the second-highest scoring team in the NBA with 107.7 PPG and it is ranked even higher than Portland in points allowed (103.1) so you immediately want to take a hard look at the OVER in every game of this series no matter how high the betting line is set. The big question for the Rockets in both this series and in the playoffs in general is can Dwight Howard continue to play at a high level after fading a bit in past postseason performances? This should easily be the most entertaining first round series in the West, but Houston prevails with the home court advantage.
Houston in 7