What a difference a week makes. We’re only about nine days into the NBA Playoffs and already the landscape has changed completely.
The Warriors lost Steph Curry to injury and will be missing him for at least two weeks. They should have no problem finishing off the Rockets without him, but it is possible that he could miss a large chunk of their second round series. If the team that plays them gameplans right, this could be a real difficult series for Golden State. Hopefully, he makes it back in time and we aren’t robbed of that Spurs-Warriors Western Conference Finals that this entire season has been building for. The question around Steph Curry’s injury is very real though as they went from -150 at the start of the playoffs to +150 today at Bovada. I still think they are a great bet, but there is a lot more risk involved in that than there was two weeks ago.
It looked like the Clippers would be the team that faced them in the second round and they had to think they had a good chance of beating them without Curry, but that is out the window as well. Chris Paul broke his hand and is most likely out for the rest of the playoffs. There is also the fact that Blake Griffin’s quad will keep him out of the rest of the playoffs as well. Plus, JJ Reddick having a heel issue that should continue to bother him. Thanks to all of these injuries, the Blazers are now in great position to win a first round series. The series odds on this one at 5Dimes are Blazers -135 to win the series compared to the Clippers at -115. Bovada also has Portland at -125. The Blazers are a great bet here when you consider that their back-up point guard is Austin Rivers, maybe one of the biggest drop-offs in the entire league. This line will move fast so grab it while you can.
The other bracket in the West is all locked up with the Spurs and Thunder meeting in the next round starting this weekend. The current line at 5Dimes has the Spurs as a -300 favorite to win the series and the Thunder at +250. Based on the way that the Mavericks played the Thunder and pushed them despite not having anywhere near the same level of talent, this one doesn’t surprise me at all.
In the East, there is only one series sewn up and that was the Cavs beating the Pistons. This is just about as close as a sweep can be and I really think the Pistons could’ve beaten a few of the other teams currently still playing in the East. This will be a fun team to watch going forward and I think they are the biggest beneficiary of a potential Steph Curry injury. Their current championship odds at Bovada have them at +325. Meanwhile, the Cavs will patiently wait for their next round opponent and it could be awhile.
The Hawks and Celtics winner meets the Cavs in the next round and right now it’s anybody’s series. The Celtics could be up 3-1 if not for that Avery Bradley injury, but instead are tied 2-2. The home team has won every game and now the momentum has swung back to the Celtics who have looked fantastic in their last two games. Still, this is basically a best of three series now with two home games for the Hawks. Anything could happen, but home court tends to win out. The series line on this one currently sits at Hawks -265 and Celtics +225 at 5Dimes. A big jump from the start of the playoffs when Atlanta was -165 and Boston was +145.
A similar situation is playing out in the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat series. The home team has won every game through four and none of the games have been very close. It’s been a match-up of hot hands and it’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out. Miami opened the series at -150 and now sit at -210 for the last three games. The Hornets moved from +130 to +175. We had this tagged as the closest series heading into the playoffs and it remains that way from a betting perspective.
Finally, we have the Raptors and Pacers. What is it with these Raptors and the playoffs? This is the third year in the row that they’ve been a higher seed and struggled against a lower team. DeMar DeRozan just doesn’t look like himself and they can’t seem to make the adjustments. The Pacers are playing great basketball, led by the hero playoff Paul George, and have gotten some great coaching. Still, it feels like they are overmatched in this series. The Raptors, who opened at -390, are now done to -355. Not a huge jump, but there is doubt. If they lose tonight at home? Look out. The Pacers +295 is intriguing, but unlikely. Then again, what have the Raptors done to prove it’s so unlikely?