Friday, May 10, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Odds to win the NBA Championship
- Miami — minus-280
- San Antonio — 6-to-1
- Memphis — 10-to-1
- Oklahoma City — 16-to-1
- New York — 16-to-1
- Golden State — 17-to-1
- Indiana — 18-to-1
- Chicago — 45-to-1
- Source: William Hill sports books
Anyone who’s gambled on the Golden State Warriors throughout the 2013 NBA Playoffs might not be able to make it to the betting window before the team’s game against the San Antonio Spurs tonight.
That’s because they’re likely drowning underneath a bathtub-sized mound of cash. Golden State has gone a perfect 8-0 against the spread in the postseason thus far.
If a bettor started by placing a $100 wager on the spread in Golden State’s first playoff game and let the winnings ride in every subsequent contest, he’d now be up $17,550.
The Warriors, currently tied with the Spurs at one game apiece in their Western Conference semifinal series, are Las Vegas’ big movers three weeks into playoff action. After opening at 100-to-1 to win the NBA title before its first-round series against the Denver Nuggets, Golden State is down to 17-to-1 at William Hill sports books.
The last time the Warriors failed to cover the spread came April 11 when they lost 116-97 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the team that’s coincidentally shifted the most in the other direction during the playoffs.
After spending all season tied at the top or in second, Oklahoma City now finds three teams ahead of it in odds to win the NBA title, with a fourth offered at an equal price. The Thunder are 16-to-1 at William Hill.
Oddsmakers tried not to overreact to the injury to Russell Westbrook, the team’s second-leading scorer, but were left with no choice when Oklahoma City narrowly escaped from Memphis in Game 1 of its current playoff series and dropped Game 2.
The Warriors serve as an example for why sports books don’t go overboard when one player gets hurt. It’s an inexact science.
Golden State lost David Lee, its second-leading scorer, a game before Westbrook went down for Oklahoma City. The plucky underdogs found out how to adjust while the top-seeded behemoth continues to tinker.
The Warriors and Thunder aren’t the only teams engaged in playoff series that are tied at one game apiece. Both the matchups in the Eastern Conference rest at the same tally.
It should make for some memorable basketball as the playoffs progress.
Find a full update on all of Las Vegas’ NBA Playoffs betting odds, including picks, below. Numbers come from William Hill sports books.
Miami Heat vs. Chicago Bulls
Updated series price: Heat minus-1,600; Bulls plus-1,100
Game 3: Miami minus-7; over/under: 187 (5 p.m. Friday, Chicago)
What to consider: Stealing Game 1 in Miami affected Chicago’s odds of winning the series — effectively chopping the Heat’s minus-3,000 price in half — but not much else. The Heat actually are favored by a half-point more than they were in their last trip to the United Center, when the Bulls snapped their 27-game winning streak, in Game 3. That’s in part because of the injuries to Chicago’s Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, who are both doubtful for Game 3.
Pick: Take the Heat minus-7 in tonight’s game. Miami has performed better against the spread on the road (26-17) than at home (24-21) all season. If the market drives the spread down in Chicago’s favor because of Derrick Rose possibly returning, pounce on Miami. Rose likely won’t play, and if he does, he won’t make a major difference against a team that has a plus-30 score differential in the first two games of the series.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors
Updated series price: Spurs minus-165; Warriors plus-145
Game 3: Warriors minus-2.5; over/under: 204 (7:30 p.m. Friday, Oakland, Calif.)
What to consider: With 26.5 points per game and a postseason-leading nine assists per game, Stephen Curry is the star of the NBA Playoffs through three weeks. Bettors have responded accordingly. After watching Golden State cover in each of the first four games against Denver, the public bought in on this team. The Warriors' Game 2 victory over San Antonio cost sports books money, and bookmakers likely will root against “The Splash Brothers” — the nickname for backcourt mates Curry and Klay Thompson — again Friday.
Pick: Bet the under 204 in tonight’s game. Because of the Warriors’ vaunted offense and feverish pace over the past few years, bettors have branded them an “over” team. But they’re beginning to shed that tag, posting 22 unders to only 17 overs since the All-Star Break. Golden State is joining San Antonio, a safe under bet all season, as a team capable of playing tight enough defense to deliver scores comfortably below the Las Vegas number.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Updated series price: Grizzlies minus-180; Thunder plus-160
Game 3: Grizzlies minus-4; over/under: 188 (2 p.m. Saturday, Memphis)
What to consider: Since losing Westbrook, the Thunder are only 3-3 straight-up and 2-4 against the spread. And that’s with Kevin Durant scoring nearly 36 points per game. In the same span, the Grizzlies are 5-1 straight-up and 6-0 against the spread. They’ve played like perhaps the best team in the Western Conference — even in a 93-91 loss to Oklahoma City in Game 1 as 3.5-point underdogs — ever since going down 2-0 to the Clippers.
Pick: Side with the Thunder plus-5.5 in Game 3. Although William Hill only has the spread at 4.5, several books around town already adjusted a full point to 5.5 after early Memphis action. That’s the most points the Thunder have taken all season. For a team that went an NBA-best 49-31-2 against the spread this season, that’s too many points regardless of who’s missing.
New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers
Updated series price: Knicks minus-120; Pacers Even
Game 3: Pacers minus-3.5; over/under: 184 (5 p.m. Saturday, Indianapolis)
What to consider: Don’t forget the Pacers neared a pick’em price to knock off the Heat in the playoffs around this time last year. Up 2-1 and off of a 19-point Game 3 victory, Indiana gave Miami more of a scare than most thought was possible. So don’t write the Heat — a 9-to-1 favorite in the Eastern Conference at the LVH Superbook — into the NBA Finals yet. The Pacers went 2-1 both straight-up and against the spread versus the defending champions this year, and the Knicks one-upped them with a 3-1 mark in both categories.
Pick: Fire on the Pacers at even money to win the series. It doesn’t get more evenly matched than this series. These two teams have spent 288 minutes on the floor together this season, and the Knicks are currently up by two points. But that’s only after they won by 26 in Tuesday’s Game 2, which amounted to a must-win at Madison Square Garden. Indiana holds the defensive edge, which holds increased significance in the playoffs.Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.