The Insiders Handicapping Guide to the NBA Conference Semifinals
The Insider’s Handicapping Guide to the NBA Playoffs
The quest for this season’s NBA World Championship continues as the conference semifinals are underway in the Eastern Conference and set to start on Monday night in the West. The following is a closer look at each of the four series matchups along with a few betting trends to help handicap this week’s games.
Philadelphia has to be kicking itself for blowing a double-digit lead in Saturday’s Game 1 of this best-of-seven series in a 92-91 loss as a 5.5-point road underdog. This team is just not good enough to absorb those kinds of setbacks.
While Boston has to consider itself somewhat lucky to come out of Saturday’s game with a win it also realized it can still beat the Sixers with less than a perfect effort. The Celtics shot 43.9 percent from the field but were a dismal 2-for-18 from three point range with Ray Allen the only player to connect from beyond the arc.
Philadelphia is 3-8 against the spread in its last 11 games following a straight-up loss while Boston is now 11-5-1 ATS in its last 17 home games. The 76ers are 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings with the total going ‘over’ in the last three.
Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat
Indiana brought a ton of momentum into Sunday’s Game 1 after taking-out Orlando in five-games, but let most of it slip away down the stretch in a 95-86 loss as an 8.5-point road underdog. The Pacers were outscored 25-16 in the fourth quarter after keeping the game close through the first three quarters.
Miami continues to be able to find that higher gear when it needs to the most to run its record in the playoffs to 5-1 both SU and ATS. The total stayed ‘under’ the 186.5-point line in Game 1 and has now stayed ‘under’ in four of the Heats six games.
The Pacers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight playoffs games as underdogs of five to 10.5 points. The Heat are 5-0 ATS in their last five games as home favorites. The underdog is 24-10-1 ATS in the last 35 meetings and the total has now stayed ‘under’ in five of the last seven meetings in Miami.
Western Conference Semifinals
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
It was not always pretty, but the Lakers were able to rise to the occasion when they needed to the most to win their first-round series against Denver in seven games. Saturday’s 96-87 victory over the Nuggets as 5.5-point home favorites raised LA’s record ATS in that series to 3-4.
A well-rested Oklahoma City team will have to quickly shake-off the rust in Monday night’s Game 1 after eliminating the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in four-straight games. With the exception of a 95-79 blowout in Game 3 as 3.5-point road underdogs, the Thunders’ other three victories were by five points or less.
Los Angeles is 1-6 ATS in its last six playoff games as underdogs, while the Thunder are 1-4 ATS in their last five games as favorites in the playoffs. The favorite is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings and the Lakers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games in Oklahoma City. The total has stayed ‘under’ in five of the last seven meetings.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs
The Clippers avoided blowing a 3-1 series lead against Memphis with an impressive 82-72 victory in Sunday’s Game 7 as 7.5-point road underdogs. They ended-up going 3-2-2 ATS against the Grizzlies with the total staying ‘under’ in four of the final five games.
San Antonio made short work of Utah in the first-round with four straight victories by a combined 64 points. The only game the Spurs failed to cover in was an 87-81 win in Game 4 as 7.5-point road favorites. The total stayed ‘under’ in all four games.
LA is 1-3-1 ATS in its last five games following a both a SU and ATS win. San Antonio is now 22-5-1 ATS in its last 28 home games as a favorite. The Clippers are 3-11 ATS in the last 14 meetings overall and 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games against the Spurs. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of the last five meetings.
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