NBA Playoffs Betting: Thunder at Spurs

NBA Playoffs Betting: Thunder at Spurs

It’s been a tale of two series in the Western Conference Finals through four games. The first tale was San Antonio blowing out Oklahoma City in impressive fashion in the first two games. The second tale could be called the Return of Serge, as the Thunder evened the series at home due in part to Serge Ibaka’s rapid recovery from a strained calf. What chapter will be written on Thursday night in a critical Game 5 remains to be seen. Can the normally calm and collected Spurs right the ship? Will the dynamic duo of Durant-Westbrook dominate once again? Whatever happens, this has the makings of a classic NBA Playoff series. Here’s a breakdown of the night’s matchup.


What happened to San Antonio in Games 3 and 4? Serge Ibaka’s presence in the paint was certainly a factor, but it doesn’t solely explain the poor shooting efforts posted by the Spurs. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan showed their age against the younger, more athletic Thunder lineup. The veteran savvy that makes San Antonio so formidable has been missing. Their superior depth should provide a significant advantage the longer the series goes. That said, if they fail to at least slow down Durant and Westbrook, the number of fresh bodies they throw at them won’t matter. Gregg Popovich is a master at devising methods to weaken a strength, so expect a different approach form here on out.

Speaking of Durant and Westbrook, the duo combined to take 46 of OK City’s 76 shots in Game 4. The other three starters attempted 14 shots and scored a meager 14 points. This of course is nothing new, but getting increased production from the likes of Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, and Caron Butler will only improve their odds of seizing the series’ lead. Relying on Durant and Westbrook to score 60-70 points is risky versus a Spurs roster that thrives on smart play.

The Spurs’ perimeter shooters, most notably Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Danny Green, must look for and convert open shots. With Ibaka’s shot-blocking skills patrolling the paint, it makes little sense to attack the rim with the same regularity as they did in Games 1 and 2. Green, in particular, must get back on track in front of a friendly home crowd; his made three-pointers dropped from 11 to 3 once the series went on the road. It’s role players like Green, Boris Diaw, and Marco Belinelli that make San Antonio so tough to beat. Unlike their opponents, counting on “stars” to do everything isn’t the Spurs’ formula for success.

San Antonio is 6-0 ATS in their last six home tilts. The Thunder are 12-3-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings overall. They might not win, but look for the visitors to cover.

Bet Oklahoma City  +4.5