San Antonio Spurs Futures Odds and NBA Finals Predictions
by Aaron Smith - 4/27/2012
This wasn’t the way it was supposed to work out in the condensed NBA regular season. San Antonio locked up the top seed in the Western Conference several days before the end of the season. The Spurs were assumed out of contention for a title this season after last year’s first-round exit against the Memphis Grizzlies, and the shortened season should have hurt a veteran team that needed more time to recover between games.
The Spurs didn’t look like a bunch of tired old guys this year; however, and rather they looked like a group that has its sights set on a fifth NBA Championship in the past 15 years.
There is a big difference in the regular season and the playoffs, and the Spurs want to erase the memory of last year’s early exit. Even though they are the top seed in the Western Conference, it seems the oddsmakers aren’t particularly high on this team’s chances. Is there any value in the San Antonio Spurs NBA futures odds as we head into the 2012 NBA playoffs? Let’s take a closer look at their chances.
San Antonio Spurs 2012 Playoff Preview: Historical Perspective
Whether you want to call it a dynasty or not, there is no denying that the Spurs have been a tremendous franchise over the past 15 years. It all started in the 1998-99 season when David Robinson and Tim Duncan led the team to its first title in franchise history. Ironically, the 1998-99 season was the last lockout season, so the Spurs do have some experience winning the title in a lockout-shortened season.
Duncan has been the centerpiece for three more Spurs titles since 2003. He is clearly past his prime, but the Spurs have done a tremendous job adding terrific talent around him. This team was a perennial title favorite from 2003-07, but they have slipped a bit in the playoffs in the past few years. In fact, the Spurs have lost in the first round of the playoffs in two of the last three seasons.
Gregg Popovich is arguably one of the NBA’s best coaches of all time. Popovich realized that this group no longer can dominate inside and shut opposing teams down, so the team picked up the pace. The Spurs now use their tremendous depth to their advantage. The Spurs have nine players who average at least 8.7 points per game. Much has been made of the fact that Popovich has rested the veteran starters several times throughout the regular season, but those paying close attention will see that the bench players on this Spurs team are very good.
Manu Ginobili wasn’t healthy in last year’s playoffs and that really cost this team, but he is fresh and ready to go this year. Tony Parker is also playing his best basketball of the season right now. Additionally, the Spurs shoot a league-best 39.5 percent from behind the three-point line. This team can pile up the points.
It’s tough to find too many weaknesses on this team, but as with any team there is always some kind of imperfection. San Antonio is now a middle-of-the-road defensive team, and the playoffs are often about great defense. They’ll likely find it more difficult to put up 110 or 115 points on a regular basis when the playoffs get started. The Spurs could have some trouble against teams with a dominating inside presence.
Spurs NBA Futures Odds
What kind of chances are the oddsmakers giving the Spurs in this year’s NBA Playoffs? TopBet lists the Spurs at +200 to win the Western Conference. Oklahoma City is the heavy favorite at +100. 5Dimes lists the Spurs at +525 to win the NBA Championship this year. They are the fourth favorite behind Miami, Chicago, and Oklahoma City.
Many will say that the Spurs came in with the top record and exited right away last year, but I think those were completely different circumstances. This team has added a ton of depth, and they are playing a style that is much more suitable to their strengths. The original Big Three of Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker realize this is likely their last run at an NBA Championship. This team knows what it takes to win, and they will be a very difficult out this year. I think the Spurs get to the NBA Finals, and I wouldn’t be stunned if they won it all.
If you like wagering on NBA futures, consider the Spurs as a solid value. The combination of a team that has the experience necessary and the depth to win it all is very dangerous this time of the year.
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