The Miami Heat and Memphis Grizzlies can book their places in the Conference Finals of the NBA Play-offs on Wednesday night. On current form, would anyone dare bet against them moving closer to the title by wrapping up a 4-1 series victory?
If the Grizzlies close out, the Oklahoma City Thunder will surely wonder what might have been if Russell Westbrook had not picked up an injury a few weeks ago.
Back then, they were the clear favourites to win the West. In his absence, not even the singular brilliance of Kevin Durant has been enough to carry them to the same heights.
But they’ve not been far short. OKC have lost the last three games by six points but failed to score above 97, a poor return for a side that has averaged 105.7 over the course of this season.
That illustrates how much Westbrooks’ playmaking has been missed. It has also highlighted just how much Mike Conley has improved for Memphis, averaging 19.3 points in this series.
With home advantage, the Thunder might have one last stand to make and they’re -4 on the handicap at 1.91. But the Grizzlies just keep improving and they’re great value at 2.49 to come out on top.
Miami also have the opportunity to strangle the hopes of the Chicago Bulls and such has been the supremacy of the champions over the last three games that their challengers are a mammoth 13.20 to prolong this series. It would be a massive shock if the Bulls won tonight, despite that Game 1 victory which now seems an age ago.
The Heat’s last three victories have been by an average of 23.3 points and Chicago, for the first time all season, has looked as if they have run out of fight.
That’s no shame on their part, given their injury woes. While the Bulls could still cover the handicap of +14.5 at 1.91, take Miami on the outsider line of -8.5 at 1.33 to snuff out their foes.
Best Bet: Take Memphis to defeat Oklahoma City at 2.49
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