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NBA Western Conference Playoff Betting Tips – Thunder, Mavericks Highlight Opening Round Out West

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/27/2012 2:28:04 PM

The NBA playoffs are finally here, and while the first round isn’t always the most exciting time on the basketball calendar, the parity in the Western conference is much stronger than in the East, and that has provided sports betting fans with what is undoubtedly the most exciting matchup of the opening round on paper. The defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks overcame the upstart Oklahoma City Thunder in last year’s Western conference finals en route to their NBA title, but will now tip off against them as the underdogs in the first round. The Mavericks still have some of the veteran pedigree that helped them win the title a year ago, but this time around it’s the Thunder with more weapons to lean on, as we take a quick look at the opening round.

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Utah Jazz

Winners of five-straight games to close out the regular season, the Jazz secured a playoff berth playing every sports bet contest like it was already the postseason, and that should have them ready for the Spurs in the opening round. San Antonio was in no danger of missing out on the postseason but still won an incredible 10-straight to close out their schedule and secure home advantage throughout the playoffs. The Spurs won 28 of their 33 home games this season to tie the Miami Heat for the best home record in the NBA, and with a rejuvenated Tim Duncan and Tony Parker continuing to play at an elite level, head coach Greg Popovich’s team should have enough to at least get through the opening round, with a focus on getting the job done as quick as possible to have time to rest.

NBA Betting Pick: Spurs in Five

(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks

With no Tyson Chandler or JJ Barea, the Mavericks aren’t nearly as deep as they were a year ago, and MVP Dirk Nowitzki isn’t playing at the same level either. The Thunder on the other hand appear to be firing on all cylinders with Russell Westbrook emerging as a legitimate All Star and Kevin Durant an MVP candidate. The potential loss of James Harden will force Oklahoma City in to a longer series than they want, but unless Nowitzki suddenly rediscovers his 2011 playoff form the Thunder should be able to get through to the next round.

NBA Betting Pick: Thunder in Six

(3) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (6) Denver Nuggets

The Lakers  will be without Metta World Peace for the opening round, and while that makes this series more competitive than it needs to be, Denver simply has no match for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol down low. The Nuggets made the playoffs based on their strong team play as well as the focus and determination they showed in every game, but in the end they have no match for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles big men.

NBA Betting Pick: Lakers In Four

(4) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (5) Los Angeles Clippers

One of the most interesting sportsbook matchups of the opening round features the high-flying Clippers against a powerful Memphis team that may be somewhat underrated heading in to the playoffs. The Grizzlies are built for the playoffs with some solid offensive depth and a defense that ranked fifth in the NBA in points allowed during the regular season. In contrast, the Clippers struggled with consistency all season despite Blake Griffin consistently making the highlight reel with his incredible dunks. Those won’t happen nearly as often in the playoffs though, as Memphis does all it can to close out the lanes.

NBA Betting Pick: Grizzlies In Six

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