NBA Playoff Western Conference Semi Expert PicksJosh Bailey
After dispatching the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors respectively in their first round Western Conference playoff series, the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers will look to win and advance by pulling off a pair of upsets in the second round when the conference semifinals get underway beginning tonight.
Here are my expert NBA playoff betting tips for both series matchups that help you cash in.
Portland Trail Blazers Vs. San Antonio Spurs NBA Series Betting Tips
Game 1 in San Antonio: Tuesday, May 6, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 in San Antonio: Thursday, May 8, 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Game 3 in Portland: Saturday, May 10, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 in Portland: Monday, May 12, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 5* in San Antonio: Wednesday, May 14, TNT
Game 6* in Portland: Friday, May 16, ESPN
Game 7* in San Antonio: Monday, May 19, TNT
Regular Season Series: Split 2-2.
How the Spurs got here: Beat No. 8 Dallas Mavericks 4-3 in the first round.
How the Blazers got here: Beat No. 4 Houston Rockets 4-2 in the first round.
Points per game: Spurs 105.4, Blazers 106.7
Points allowed per: Spurs 97.6, Blazers 102.8
Matchups worth watching: Spurs PG Tony Parker vs. Blazers PG Damian Lillard, Spurs PF Tim Duncan vs. Blazers PF LaMarcus Aldridge.
Spurs: Tony Parker (16.7 ppg),
Blazers: LaMarcus Aldridge (23.2 ppg)
How can the San Antonio Spurs beat the Rip City Blazers?
The defending Western Conference champion Spurs were extended to seven games against the surprising Dallas Mavericks but I think this may have been a negative for the Portland Trail Blazers as the Spurs, to a man, all agree that they will have to play their brand of basketball even better against the surprising Blazers.
The good news for Spurs fans is the fact that this veteran-laden team has far more depth than the Blazers – and is a far better defensive team as well. The Spurs will have to shoot the ball well against an explosive Blazers team and they’ll also need Tim Duncan to dominate his battle against Robin Lopez while Tony Parker does likewise against Damian Lillard.
Key San Antonio Spurs NBA Playoff Betting Trends:
- Spurs are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Spurs are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games following an ATS win.
- Spurs are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a SU win of more than 10 points.
- Spurs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Spurs are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
- Spurs are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a SU win.
Can the Portland Trail Blazers Beat The Age-less Spurs?
The Blazers have one of the best big-small duos in all of basketball with LaMarcus Aldridge and gifted floor leader Damian Lillard doing the bulk of the yeoman’s work for Portland offensively.
Aldridge in particular, must play well against the Spurs frontline, but I don’t see anyone being capable of stopping the explosive Lillard. While no one is expecting Aldridge to perform the way he did in the first two games against Houston, if he can get somewhere close to 27 or 28 points against the Spurs, the Blazers will have a much better chance of pulling off the upset.
Key Portland Trail Blazers NBA Playoff Betting Trends
- Trail Blazers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games.
- Trail Blazers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following an ATS loss.
- Trail Blazers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Trail Blazers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. NBA Southwest.
Key Head-to-Head Betting Trends
- The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.
Series Analysis: Portland will need to cause turnovers and play at an up-tempo pace that isn’t comfortable for San Antonio. The Blazers will also need some offensive production from someone that isn’t named Aldridge or Lillard and I’m not too sure that the 15-plus points per game they get from both Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews is going to be enough to counter the contributions of guys like San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili, Marco Belinelli, Patty Mills, Danny Green and even Tiago Splitter. Players that all averaged double figures in scoring during the regular season or something close to it.
In the end, I like the Spurs to win and advance in six games because of their huge edge in depth – and experience.
NBA Playoff Series Betting Pick: San Antonio Spurs in 6 Games
Los Angeles Clippers Vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Betting NBA Series Betting Tips
Game 1 in Oklahoma City: Monday, May 5, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2 in Oklahoma City: Wednesday, May 7, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 3 in Los Angeles: Friday, May 9, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Game 4 in Los Angeles: Sunday, May 11, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Game 5* in Oklahoma City: Tuesday, May 13, TNT
Game 6* in Los Angeles: Thursday, May 15, ESPN
Game 7* in Oklahoma City: Sunday, May 18, TNT
* If necessary
Regular Season Series: Split 2-2.
How the Thunder got here: Beat No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies 4-3.
How the Clippers got here: Beat No. 6 Golden State Warriors 4-3.
Points per game: Thunder 106.2, Clippers 107.9
Points allowed per game: Thunder 99.8, Clippers 101.0
Matchups worth watching: Thunder PG Russell Westbrook vs. Clippers PG Chris Paul, Thunder PF Serge Ibaka vs. Clippers PF Blake Griffin.
Thunder: SF Kevin Durant (32.0 points a game)
Clippers: Power Forward Blake Griffin (24.1)
Can the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Surging Clippers?
Oklahoma City was extended to seven grueling games against Memphis but may be better off for it if you ask me. Oklahoma City will need another humongous effort from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in this series after the all-star pair averaged 29.9 and 25.6 points per game respectively against the Grizzlies.
Not only that, but the Thunder will have to play better defense in this series against a far more potent offensive team this series. The good news for the Thunder is that the Clippers’ style of play actually plays perfectly into the hands of the similarly up-tempo Thunder.
In their two regular season wins over L.A. Westbrook and Durant combined to average a whopping 48.5 points per game, but it very well could be ‘third wheel’ Serge Ibaka that is the difference-maker in this series, seeing as how he put up 16.0 points per game in the Thunder’s two regular season wins over the Clippers.
The Thunder hold the edge in free throw percentage, defense, rebounding and bench production in this series, making the growing contributions of blossoming point guard Reggie Jackson almost invaluable.
Here is a look at Oklahoma City’s key NBA playoff betting trends:
- Thunder are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Pacific.
- Thunder are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Thunder are 10-4-2 ATS in their last 16 home games.
- Thunder are 19-9-2 ATS in their last 30 games playing on 1 days rest.
- Thunder are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 Monday games.
- Thunder are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Conference Semifinals games.
Can the Los Angeles Clippers Beat The Thunder?
The Clippers squeaked past Golden State in seven games, but won’t have home court advantage in this series, not to mention the fact that they don’t have anyone on their roster that is remotely capable of stopping Durant or Westbrook.
Still, the Clips do have a pair of all-stars in point guard Chris Paul and high-flying power forward Blake Griffin, not to mention a defensive force in still-blossoming center DeAndre Jordan.
That trio notwithstanding, I think it may be L.A.’s bench that is the deciding factor in this series. While reserves, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and J.J. Redick all played outstanding basketball in their series win over Golden State, the Clippers will need to more production against a Thunder second unit that features Jackson as its go-to scorer and Thabo Sefalosha as its defensive stopper.
If the Clippers can get some better offensive performances from
Darren Collison, Hedo Turkoglu, Danny Granger and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis, they could pull off the upset and advance, but that may be asking a bit much of a group that hasn’t contributed much to the teams’ postseason success so far.
Here is a look at the Clippers key NBA playoff betting trends:
- Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Conference Semifinals games.
- Clippers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
- Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. Western Conference.
- Clippers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following an SU win.
- Clippers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games.
Key NBA playoff Head-to-Head Trends
- Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Oklahoma City.
- Over is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings.
- Clippers are 13-5 ATS in the last 18 meetings in Oklahoma City.
- Clippers are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
Series Analysis: This series should be very entertaining, but ultimately, it will come down to which team plays better defense at the most crucial moments. Personally, I like Oklahoma City to get its act together after playing a bunch of uninspired basketball against Memphis.
Not only can the Thunder match the Clippers offensively, but they are the better defensive ballclub and that will almost assuredly be the deciding factor in this series.
Kevin Durant played fantastic basketball inn helping Oklahoma City win each of its last two games and should have a carry-over effect heading into this series after getting off to a poor shooting performance against the Grizzlies.
I also think Russell Westbrook will either get the upper hand against Chris Paul or at the very least, hold his own in this matchup of elite floor leaders while Serge Ibaka makes Griffin work hard to get his.
In the end, I think the Thunder are more experienced and better prepared as a unit to win and advance, particularly with the Clippers still reeling from the Donald Sterling scandal.