NBA Betting Stock Up, Stock Down: Taking a Closer look at the First Round
by George Monroy - 4/28/2014
Over the weekend, ESPN correspondents Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Bill Simmons both declared the first round of the NBA playoffs to be best they had ever seen. Even though that statement might be a mouthful, can you really disagree with them? Since the 2014 NBA playoffs begin 10 days ago, fans have been treated to seven overtime games, two eight seeds taking a series leads, a seven seed dominating a two seed, and a five seed stealing both Games 1 and 2 on the road.
The NBA layoffs have been one of the most competitive, exciting and compelling postseasons in memory. And the beauty of it all is that the first round is not expected to be completed until the weekend.
More than a few teams have changed their championship perception amongst fans and experts through the first few games of the postseason. Some are riding a wave of momentum, while others are beginning to lose their championship luster. Let's take a closer look at a few of those squads in this edition of NBA stock up, stock down.
Title odds before playoffs : +2300 Sportsbook.ag
Current title odds : +10000
Even if Houston can somehow manage to come back and win its series, the team lost a lot of its luster and will be on the downward trend heading into the next round. The Rockets are confused on offense, can struggle on defense, and simply fall apart late in games.
On Sunday night during the final minute of Game 4 with Houston trialing by four points, team-superstar James Harden seemed disengaged and was already throwing up crazy three-point shots when there was more than enough time to produce a quality offensive possession. Houston is not a team that bettors should get behind at the moment.
Title odds before playoffs : +12500
Current title odds : +4000
The Wizards have been a revelation during the playoffs and seem to be finally putting all their talent to good use. Trevor Ariza scored 30 points during Washington's Game 4 win, which helped the team extend its series lead to 3-1. The squad's biggest strength, outside of its physical defense, is its ability to score points late in games-a luxury that Chicago does not have without its superstar point guard, Derrick Rose.
Washington's road to the NBA Finals is not as impossible as it would seem at first glance. The team is on course to play a second-round matchup against either Indiana or Atlanta-both extremely flawed teams-and could easily make an Eastern Conference Finals series against either Miami or Brooklyn. The Wizards are one of those sneaky good teams at the moment.
Title odds before playoffs : +800
Current title odds : +1200
Something happened to the Pacers after the all-star break in February that experts have still not been able to quantify. But whatever it is will probably send the team home from the playoffs earlier than expected. Indiana is currently in the middle of a tougher-than-expected series against the Atlanta Hawks. The matchup, however, is not competitive because of anything that Atlanta is doing but simply because the Pacers are falling apart.
The oddsmakers have not dropped Indiana's title odds too far from its original number, but bettors should beware: Indiana is not the same team as it was earlier in the season and should be placed on upset alert for the rest of the playoffs.
Title odds before playoffs : +10000
Current Title Odds : +4000
Heading into Dallas' first-round No. 8 vs. No. 1 matchup against the universally-admired San Antonio Spurs, everyone forgot just how good Dirk Nowitzki really is. We also forgot how well-coach the Mavericks are and how well the roster works together. If Dallas was to pull off an upset during this series-which seems very likely as it heads into Game 4 with a 2-1 lead-it would not be shocking at all.
Dallas has excellent championship and Western Conference title odds value. The west is currently being flipped on its head, with upsets still in play for every single series in the conference. If Dallas beats the Spurs, they could have an easier-than-expected road to the title that could include matchups against Portland and Golden State before facing another potential series against Miami.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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