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Betting Predictions For NBA West Playoffs – Thunder, Spurs Headed For Western Showdown

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/15/2012 3:01:14 PM

Sports betting players are moving on to the second round of the NBA playoffs, and in the Western Conference it looks like the two best teams have to go through the Los Angeles duo to make to the finals. They should be able to do so without much fuss.

Lakers Thunder Betting

Oklahoma City likely came into this matchup as the NBA betting favorites and they have to be even bigger favorites after a 119-90 rout of the Lakers in Game 1 in which Los Angeles looked exhausted after a seven-game series with Denver, including three games in the high altitude of the Pepsi Center, while the Thunder looked well rested after sweeping the defending champions from Dallas. Oklahoma City is going to look to push the pace as much as possible and basically play the Lakers the same way as Denver did, except the Thunder has better players.

If the Lakers are going to stop the Thunder, they’re going to need Ramon Sessions to wake up as he has declined throughout the postseason and he has to be able to offset Russell Westbrook, who had 27 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the opener. He doesn’t have to put up those types of numbers, but Sessions has to put some pressure on Westbrook when the Lakers have the ball and force him to use energy at that end of the court. The Lakers also need their bench to step up because you know the Thunder is going to get scoring from their second unit, although Sixth Man of the Year James Harden is a glorified starter.

Speaking of Harden, the subplot between he and the Lakers’ Metta World Peace will be a theme throughout this series, but don’t expect any revenge for World Peace’s elbow that netted him a seven-game suspension at the end of the regular season. The Thunder realize that the best form of revenge will be to thump the Lakers and they played with a lot of intensity in Game 1. They’ll carry that intensity throughout the series and the Lakers just don’t have the horses to hang with the Thunder; Harden is going to have a monster of a series and there isn’t much that the Lakers will be able to do about it. The Thunder in five games sound about right.

Betting Edge: Oklahoma City Thunder

Clippers Spurs Betting

NBA betting odds have San Antonio as a massive -2000 favorite over the Clippers at +1200, and many sportsbook players feel that most of that edge goes to the Spurs because of coaching; Gregg Popovich was the Coach of the Year and really, he has been one of the top two or three coaches in the league over the last 15 years. The Clippers counter with Vinny Del Negro, who has earned deserved criticism for many moves, but his decision to bench his starters and go with the subs was the main reason why the Clippers won a tough Game 7 in Memphis to wrap up the first round. There were a lot of folks ready to pounce on Del Negro, but he made a gutsy move and stuck with it.

Del Negro will have to make more moves like that if the Clippers are going to hang with the Spurs, who made short work of Utah in a sweep that was never in doubt. Many thought the Spurs would be one of the teams that suffered most in the shortened season because of their age, but Popovich did an excellent job of pacing his stars, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, and he also threw younger players like rookie Kawhi Leonard into the fire so they would be ready for this time of year. While the team still takes on Duncan’s personality, the straw that stirs the drink is Parker, who earned some MVP consideration for his play.

The matchup between Parker and Los Angeles’ Chris Paul is going to be fun to watch if you’re a point-guard aficionado; for all of the credit Parker got this year, Paul got a little more and is regarded as the best pure point in the league by many experts, so Parker has motivation to show that he belongs up there with Paul; yes, a three-time champion and former Finals MVP has something left to prove.

Watching Duncan against Blake Griffin in the post will be another matchup to watch, although the Spurs will likely run a number of defenders at Griffin so they can save Duncan’s legs for late in the game. Duncan has never been the most athletic player in the league and is even less now, while Griffin relies solely on his athleticism.

The Spurs won two of three against the Clippers during the regular season, with all three going over the posted total, but the game will slow down in the playoffs and we have more faith in the Spurs’ experience, which is why they should be your online betting pick in five games.

Betting Edge: San Antonio Spurs


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