Will home advantage prove to be a decisive factor on Saturday as the Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies try to gain the upper hand in their respective NBA Playoff series? You bet.
The Grizzlies’ performance in Game 2 of their Western Conference semi-final match-up with the Oklahoma City Thunder has shortened their odds to win the Western Conference. With a 17-1 record in Memphis since February, they’ve every reason to be optimistic about seizing control of this series as OKC continue to toil in the absence of Russell Westbrook.
Kevin Durant has averaged over 37 points per game to try and carry a greater load – and he’s 1.85 to go over 34 today. But the Grizzlies have pushed up their own scoring at home in this post-season to 105.3, a massive factor for a team that is conceding a league-low 89.3.
For the Thunder to have any chance, they need to rebound better and reduce their turnovers in the face of Memphis’ clinical pressure. However the hosts are -5 on the handicap at 1.91 with a good value bet available for going over the total points line of 186.5 at 1.91.
Indiana need to recover from a 105-79 humbling in Game 2 of their Eastern semi series with the New York Knicks. Their record at home has been vastly superior to their mark on the road all season, a key reason why the Pacers are favoured on the handicap by -4.
The Knicks will gamble on bringing back Amar’e Stoudemire from injury to throw one more body at Indiana’s powerful interior line. But what New York really requires is extra output from Sixth Man of the Year JR Smith, who has been a shadow of his former self in the play-offs, earning a suspension and dropping his output.
New York still have enough offense to advance in this series, with Carmelo Anthony at 1.91 to notch over 29.5 points here. If the Pacers can limit everyone else, they should bring the total points down below the line of 184 and edge in front.
Best bet: Take Memphis on the handicap of -5 at 1.91 over Oklahoma City