NBA Conference Semifinals Betting and Handicapping Guide
by Dave Schwab - 5/22/2012
The NBA conference semifinals continue to press on, and while we already know that the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder will meet in the Western Conference Finals, the battle in the Eastern Conference rages on.
The following is a look at a few stats, facts, and figures along with some current NBA betting trends that will help NBA handicappers navigate this week’s slate of games.
Eastern Conference Semifinals Update
The Boston Celtics moved one step closer to a return trip to the Eastern Conference Finals with Monday night’s 101-85 victory over Philadelphia as 5.5-point home favorites to take a crucial 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series. The total went ‘over’ the 173-point line.
Each time the Celtics have won a game in this series the 76ers have been able to respond with a win of their own. The series shifts back to Philadelphia for Wednesday night’s Game 6 but even if Doug Collins’ gritty bunch of over-achievers manages to tie this series again, it is extremely doubtful they will have anything left in the tank for a Game 7 in Boston this upcoming Saturday.
The opening line on Wednesday’s Game 6 has the Sixers favored by 1.5 points with the total line set at 174.5.
The Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers have battled to a 2-2 tie in their series with Game 5 set for Tuesday night at the American Airlines Arena. The Heat have been opened as 6.5-point home favorites with the total line set at 180.5.
There have been more plot twists in this series than in a murder-mystery movie with most of them involving Miami. First, the Heat lost Chris Bosh for this series and possibly beyond with a strained abdominal and then had to battle through Dywane Wade’s sore knee and dreadful performance in an ugly 94-75 loss in Game 3 as two-point road favorites. Lost in all this drama is the fact that Indiana is a very talented team that is more than capable of winning this series. Tuesday night’s game should go a long way towards deciding its actual outcome.
Western Conference Semifinals Wrap-Up
From the start of the Western Conference playoffs it was pretty evident that the No.1-seed San Antonio Spurs and the No.2-seed Oklahoma City Thunder were on a collision course to meet in the conference finals. It took them a combined eight games to get through the first round with the Spurs sweeping Utah in four and the Thunder dumping the defending champion Dallas Mavericks in four games as well.
San Antonio then made short work of the Los Angeles Clippers in four games in the semifinals, with only one game ending in less than a double-digit margin of victory. The Spurs are now 8-0 straight-up in the playoffs and 6-2 against the spread. The total has stayed ‘under’ in six of the eight games.
Oklahoma City toyed with Los Angeles’ other team in the semi’s, but eventually dumped the aging Lakers in five games with a 106-90 thumping as a 7.5-point home favorite. The Thunder are now 8-1 SU and 5-3-1 ATS through their first two postseason series. The total has gone over in seven of their nine playoff games.
NBA Playoffs Betting Trends
Indiana vs. Miami Game 5
The Pacers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as underdogs on the road and 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games against a team with a winning record at home. The total has stayed under in six of their last eight playoff games as underdogs.
The Heat are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games as favorites and 16-6-1 ATS in their last 23 conference semifinal games. The total has stayed under in 24 of their last 31 home games as favorites.
Head-to-head, the underdog is 26-11-1 ATS in the last 38 meetings and the total has stayed ‘under’ in six of the last eight games in Miami.
Boston vs. Philadelphia Game 6
The Celtics are 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 road games and 7-3-2 ATS in their last 12 games as underdogs. The total has gone over in seven of their last 10 playoff games as underdogs.
The 76ers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games as favorites but 4-1 ATS in their last five games after giving up 100 points or more in their previous outing. The total has gone ‘over’ in 14 of their last 16 games following an ATS loss.
Head-to-head, the home team is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings and Boston is 1-5 ATS in its last six games in Philadelphia. The total has gone over in six of the last seven meetings and in the last three games of this series.
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