Thunder vs. Mavericks Series Odds and NBA Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 5/16/2011
Before the NB playoffs started Sports Interaction had the Oklahoma City Thunder at +800 to win the Western Conference and the Dallas Mavericks at +700. The Los Angeles Lakers were the prohibitive favorite at -118 and the No.1 seed San Antonio Spurs were the second favorite at +200. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the conference finals.
The Spurs never made it out of the first round in a six-game series loss to Memphis and the Lakers were swept by the Mavericks, 4-0, in the semifinals. It took the Thunder seven games to get past the pesky Grizzlies in the other semifinal matchup, but the teams are finally set with best-of-seven Western Conference Finals getting underway this Tuesday night in Dallas.
The cards have been reshuffled and Oklahoma City is the underdog at +187 to win this series, while the Mavs are the favorites at -278. The NBA odds favor either a five-game or seven-game Dallas win at +300. A four-game Dallas sweep is listed at +900 and a 4-2 series win for the Mavericks is listed at +400.
The Thunders’ odds of pulling off a sweep are +2500. The price on a five-game Oklahoma City victory is +1200. A 4-2 series win is listed at +500 while a seven-game win is +650.
Oklahoma City won its opening-round series against Denver in five games with the only setback being a 104-101 loss in Game 4 as a three-point road underdog. It finished the series 2-2-1 against the spread with the total staying ‘under’ in three of the five games.
The Thunders’ semifinal matchup with Memphis started with a shocking 114-101 loss as a 6 ½-point home favorite. They also lost their first game on the road, 101-93, in overtime as a 2 ½-point underdog, but rallied to win three of the next four games to advance to the finals. Oklahoma City finished this series 4-3 ATS with the total going ‘over’ in four of the seven games.
If the Thunder are going to pull off the upset in this series it will be on the backs of their two biggest stars; Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The two have combined to average 52.8 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 9.3 assists in their 12 playoff games. The team is averaging 103 points and 46.6 rebounds a game while holding its opponents to 98.7 points and 41.3 rebounds.
Dallas needed six games to get past Portland in the first round. After pulling off two fairly easy victories at home to start the series, the Mavericks were stunned by the Trail Blazers twice in a row on the road to leave the series tied at two games apiece heading into a crucial Game 5. Dallas responded with a 93-82 win as a five-point home favorite and put the series to bed in Game 6 with a 103-96 win as a 3 ½-point road underdog. It finished the series 5-0-1 ATS with the total evenly split at 3-3.
The real fun began with a 96-94 win over LA in Game 1 of the semifinals as a six-point road underdog. To prove it was not a fluke, the Mavs pounded the Lakers 93-81 as a seven-point road dog in Game 2. The stunned reining champs never recovered and Dallas won the next two games at home to complete the sweep. It ended this series a perfect 4-0 ATS with the total going ‘over’ in three of the four games.
A big reason for the Mavericks’ success this season after years of disappointing early exits from the postseason has been the consistent high-level of play from its biggest star; Dirk Nowitzki, as well as his supporting cast. Nowitzki has averaged 26.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game. Jason Terry is second with 18.3 points, while the mid-season addition of Tyson Chandler has paid dividends with 8.7 rebounds a game. The ageless Jason Kidd continues to lead the team in assists with 7.2.
This series should come down to which team’s stars can shine the brightest over the course of seven games as it is highly doubtful either team will go down quietly. It may seem like it is the Mavericks’ turn to finally live up to all the expectations, but for my Thunder vs. Mavericks predictions I say take the flyer on Oklahoma City in seven games at +650 behind the unstoppable combination of Durant and Westbrook.
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