San Antonio Spurs 1.40 – Oklahoma City Thunder 3.00 (Game 1)
The NBA’s Western Conference Finals tip off on Monday in a battle between the Spurs dynamic dozen and the Thunder’s Dynamite Duo.
And while Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have the talent to win a series almost on their own, the key is ‘almost’. Losing Serge Ibaka to injury, it comes down to whether OKC’s bench – especially back-up bigs Steven Adams and Nick Collison – can step up to fill the void as the collective third option to match the depth of their foes.
The Spaniard’s absence will surely push up the total points line with going over 213.5 delivering odds of 2.45. The Game 1 visitors will also need more boards from elsewhere to stand a chance, with Durant 1.90 to grab over nine rebounds.
San Antonio, who are 12.00 to sweep this series 4-0, have now moved up to be favourites for the title at 2.50 following Miami’s Game 1 loss to Indiana. 2014 may be the last championship shot for their veteran group.
And the loss of Ibaka will give more offensive opportunities to Tim Duncan. The All-Career forward, notching 15.8 points per game this post-season, is 1.85 to go over 16.5 here.
Although Oklahoma City swept the regular season series, the Spurs are on a roll and they’ve won their last nine consecutive Game 1s in Playoff series. The Thunder will need something special to break that run.
Best bet: Back San Antonio over Oklahoma City on a handicap of -5.5 at 1.88