NBA Playoffs Betting

NBA Playoffs Betting

The quest for the 2013-14 NBA Championship begins on Saturday when half of the playoff field takes the court, highlighted by a showdown between Golden State and the Clippers, two of the league’s most explosive offenses. Also in action, presumed MVP Kevin Durant will attempt to stymie the pesky Grizzlies, who he averaged 35 points against in three regular season meetings. Here’s a breakdown of all four Saturday matchups, including the latest point spreads.

BROOKLYN AT TORONTO -2.5

Two of the Eastern Conference’s surprising teams throwdown in the opening round. They split four meetings this season with three of the games coming down to the final minute. At the end of December, Brooklyn was 10-21; point guard Deron Williams couldn’t stay healthy, and new arrivals Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were struggling to fit into the lineup. Then they started playing stout defense and have been hard to handle since. The Raptors owe their successful campaign to solid defense of their own and one of the NBA’s most potent backcourts in DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Nets are 1-4 ATS in their last five trips to Toronto. Raptors are 21-19-1 ATS at home. This is Toronto’s first home playoff game in six years.

Bet Toronto -2.5

GOLDEN STATE AT LA CLIPPERS -7

Don’t expect much defense in this one. It’s not as if neither team plays defense, because each is decent at that end of the floor. However, the winning team in four regular season meetings scored at least 105 points. Both the Warriors and Clippers are more comfortable running-n-gunning. Steph Curry versus Chris Paul will be fun to watch. As will Blake Griffin, who took his game to another level over the last few months. LA has won 20 of 25 and finished with a franchise-record 57 victories. Golden State is hoping to improve upon last year’s postseason success, but a banged-up Andre Iguodala and an underachieving Harrison Barnes could derail those ambitions.

Bet LA Clippers -7

ATLANTA AT INDIANA -7.5

The Hawks have the dubious distinction of being the only playoff participant with a losing record (38-44). Indiana is the East’s top seed, but whether or not they are worthy of that claim is up for debate. They’ve dropped 8 of 13 entering the second season and appeared lethargic and frustrated down the stretch. The Hawks are 6-2 in their last eight overall and won two of four regular season meetings, including a 107-88 victory in Indiana on April 6. The Pacers are obviously the better team, but offensive production from Roy Hibbert and Evan Turner is needed for them to advance far. This is a tricky spread, because it’s unclear which Indiana will show up. Best advice is to steer clear of this one altogether.

Bet Atlanta +7.5

MEMPHIS AT OKLAHOMA CITY -7

On January 7, Memphis was 15-19. They went 35-13 to finish the season. Impressive. Their brand of physical, defense-first basketball is dangerous this time of year. Lest we forget, the Grizz bounced the mighty Thunder 4-1 in the 2013 Western Semifinals. However, that OK City team was missing Russell Westbrook, and didn’t have the 2014 version of Serge Ibaka posting double-doubles. The addition of veteran Caron Butler could be key to the Thunder’s title chances; Butler provides excellent defensive effort and clutch three-point shooting. Memphis has no answer for Durant, but the inside duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol will control the paint. Grizzlies are 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine visits to OK City. Thunder are 8-2-2 ATS in their last dozen home tilts. This should be a tight one.

Bet Memphis +7