Oklahoma City showed that they had what it took to beat the San Antonio Spurs in Sunday’s Game 1. But they didn’t carry it through. Leading headed into the fourth quarter, the Thunder were out-scored 39-27 as their seemingly impregnable rivals stole a 101-98 victory.
That made it 19 wins in a row for the Spurs, despite a nervy showing. It also floated the idea that maybe OKC still aren’t ready to contend for the championship. Let’s not get carried away too soon. Scott Brooks admitted he missed a trick by benching defensive rock Serge Ibaka for most of the fourth quarter. It’s a mistake he won’t make again.
His team admitted their defence dropped in crunch time, particularly on Manu Ginobili, and that’s easily fixed second time out. Hence go under the forecast total points line of 201.5 at 1.91, and it’s worth a punt on the Thunder to win on the handicap of +4.5, also at 1.91.
But can they close out and level the series? San Antonio are 1.48 favourites to win in regulation with Oklahoma City at 2.90.
In the overall championship betting, the Miami Heat’s comprehensive 93-79 destruction of Boston in Monday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals has solidified their position as title favourites at 2.15, leaving the Celtics as 30.00 outsiders. For the East, Boston are now tabbed at 7.00 to bounce back to win the Conference title and it’s certainly too soon to write them off completely.
But there’s been precious little evidence the Heat are good enough to see off the best of the West. Better to take a punt on either the Spurs at 2.35 or OKC at 5.50 to win out.
Bet of the Day: Take the Thunder over the Spurs on the handicap at 1.91.