San Antonio Spurs 1.35 – Dallas Mavericks 3.30 (series tied 3-3)
The first round of the NBA Playoffs comes to an end on Sunday with four teams staring down elimination with winner-take-all Game 7s.
And for the Spurs, going the distance with the Mavericks is the last thing they needed in their bid to drag their miles-laden legs towards another title challenge.
With the younger, slightly fresher Portland Trail Blazers awaiting the victor in the Western Conference semi-finals, San Antonio will rue the chances blown on Friday when Dallas ground out a 113-111 win to force the decider on the road.
It was the first time the Spurs have lost all season when taking a lead into the fourth and Monta Ellis, who is scoring a series-high 21.8 points, again proved to be the catalyst for Dallas.
The Mavs have risen to the challenge and although their leading lights are on the elderly side, they all have past experience of being go-to guys, one reason why they have posed so many questions of their Texan rivals.
The head says San Antonio will survive. Although given how tightly this battle has been fought, don’t expect Dallas to walk quietly away.
Toronto Raptors 1.67 – Brooklyn Nets 2.25 (series tied 3-3)
Neither the Raptors or Nets have even won a Game 7 in their franchise histories but there’s no time like the present with a showdown with a clash with the Miami Heat at stake in the East semi-finals.
Brooklyn held Canada’s finest to just 83 points in Friday’s Game 6 win with their 34-19 first quarter cushion providing the platform.
They also got more impact from Kevin Garnett who, despite averaging just 7.8 points per game in this series, found ways to contribute in an effort that kept Kyle Lowry in check.
Garnett’s experience, and that of the Nets in general, could work in their favour in this winner-take-all clash.
And if Brooklyn’s veterans hold serve, their handicap of -2.5 at 2.55 could represent great value.
Best bet: Back Dallas on the handicap of +3.5 against San Antonio at 2.45.