NBA Playoff Betting: Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs

NBA Playoff Betting:  Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs

The Western Conference Finals in the NBA will tip off on Monday night as the San Antonio Spurs host the Oklahoma City Thunder.  The Thunder finally dispatched the pesky Los Angeles Clippers in six games while the Spurs had no trouble with the Portland Trailblazers, sending them packing in five games.

When these teams played two years ago the Thunder made the Spurs look old and slow as they won the Western Conference Finals in 6 games before being thumped in 5 games by the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.  At the time, there was much speculation that the Spurs’ ‘window had closed’ and that it would be the Thunder who would now become a fixture in the NBA Finals.  That wasn’t the case, however, and things changed precipitously the next year.  The Thunder were upset by the Memphis Grizzlies in the conference semifinals while the Spurs were back in the NBA Finals and came maddeningly close to winning before the Miami Heat ultimately prevailed in 7 Games.

This time around the Thunder definitely look vulnerable.  They’ll be without forward Serge Ibaka for the rest of the postseason and they’ll miss his defensive presence as much as anything else.  The Spurs aren’t without their own injury issues but they don’t appear to be as severe as Oklahoma City’s–guard Tony Parker was diagnosed with a hamstring strain but he’s listed as ‘probable’ for Game 1 of this series.  Oklahoma City has dominated the Spurs in head to head play over the past few years–since 2011 they’re 11-6 SU/12-4 ATS against San Antonio.  In San Antonio’s home gym the Spurs have a 5-3 SU advantage but the Thunder are 4-3-1 ATS.  The Thunder won all four regular season meetings going 3-1 against the spread.

While there’s a number of technical reasons to back the Thunder we’re going to go with the home team.  San Antonio looked scary good against a talented–though inexperienced–Portland Trailblazers team and the Thunder could take some time to get used to playing a more disciplined Spurs side after their previous series with the run and gun Los Angeles Clippers.  The loss of Ibaka is a bigger deal than most people realize and OKC will miss his rebounding and defense.