Get the best handicapping articles and gambling advice throughout the football, basketball and baseball seasons from the world's top sports handicappers, as well as from Bovada (Bodog) Sportsbook and Casino.
NBA Playoff Journal, April 28
by Larry Ness - 04/28/2014
There are a number of terrific storylines in the 2014 NBA playoffs. Let’s starts with the fact that both No. 1 seeds (Indiana and San Antonio) are struggling. The Pacers are tied with the 8th-seeded Hawks after four games, with Atlanta threatening to become the 2nd-worst team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven playoff series. The 1958-59 Minneapolis Lakers posted a ..458 win percentage but still managed to make it to the NBA Finals (defeated the St Louis hawks before losing 4-0 to the Celtics in The Finals). Atlanta posted a ..463 win percentage (38-44) in the regular season. As for the Spurs, after posting the NBA’s best regular season record of 62-20 (assuring the home court advantage in EVERY series), San Antonio has shot 50.0% and 54.3% the last two games against the Mavs, only to lose both and find themselves down 2-1 heading in Monday’s game in Dallas.
We’ve also seen seven OT games after 30 contests, with the Houston/Portland series accounting for THREE of them. Over the last three days, we saw the Bulls and Rockets rally to win Game 3 on the road, after losing both home games to open their respective series. Saturday saw Indiana get a are win in Atlanta (just the Pacers’ THIRD since 2006), Vince Carter nail an improbable three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Spurs by one point and the Thunder even their series with Memphis with an OT win in game 4, despite Durant and Westbrook each scoring only 15 points (Reggie Jackson scored a playoff-high 32!).
Sunday brought us the surprising Wizards going up 3-1 over the Bulls, the Blazers winning in OT to put the Rockets in an 1-3 hole and the Raptors blow all of a 17-point lead at Brooklyn but then down four points with 6:11 left in the game, go on to outscore the Nets 14-2 the rest of the way (Brooklyn went 0-6 from the floor with four TOs,) However, despite all that, the story which dominated the headlines all weekend was the “Donald Sterling tape.” I won’t weigh in (hasn’t there been plenty of that already?) but will note that the Warriors sure played one heckuva game on Sunday, led by Curry’s 33 points, routing the Clippers 118-97. Were/are the Clippers too distracted? We’ll find out Tuesday night at Staples Center.
From a betting perspective, the 2014 playoffs have been quite surprising as well. Home teams have rarely struggled this badly in the early going, as after 30 games, home teams are under .500 SU (14-16) and a ‘money-burning’ 10-17-3 ATS. Let me add that over bettors feel as if it’s Christmas, as the tally stands at 20 overs and just 10 unders plus “Zig-Zaggers,” who have been ‘kissing their sisters’ for years now, are suddenly all smiles, having gone 13-6-3 ATS, or plus-6.4 net games. Three more games are set for tonight. TNT airs another doubleheader, Miami at Charlotte in the first game and San Antonio at Dallas to follow. The NBA Network gets Atlanta at Indiana.
The Heat have beaten the Bobcats 19 straight times (the last 18 coming since LBJ and Bosh joined Wade in South Beach), while the Bobcats are stilling looking for the the franchise’s first playoff win (sit at 0-7). Miami is favored by eight points (total is 188). The Spurs own the overall No. 1 seed but a loss here and they are down 3-1. The scary thing is, Dirk is averaging only 15.0 PPG (first time he’s had three straight playoff games without reaching 20 since his first postseason back in 2001), yet the Mavs are up in the series. The Spurs are again the road favorite, laying four points with a total of 201 1/2. The other game is Atlanta at Indiana, with the Pacers favored by 6 1/2 points (total is 186).