Sunday, May 18, 2014

2013-2014 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals Preview (sport, gambling)

Even after all the overtime games, game 7s, and controversial endings of the first two rounds, we end up with the top 2 seeds in both conferences.

Oklahoma City Thunder (2) at San Antonio Spurs (1)

It's really hard to predict what will happen in this series with all the recent injuries. Ibaka was key during the regular season series, averaging double digit points, rebounds, and 4 blocks a game. They especially needed his rebounding as the Spurs were the best team in the league in opponent backcourt rebounds, which is one of Westbrook's strengths. While the Collison and Adams duo can probably pick up the slack in rebounding, it'll be hard for them to provide the same rim protection. But that might not even be necessary if Parker is also sidelined, as Mills and Ginobili run the offense very differently with fewer drives to the hoop. The Thunder swept the regular season series, but three of those games came early in the season when San Antonio couldn't beat a single good team, and the last one came on a back-to-back when Ginobili was being rested and key starters had minutes limited. This one is just too hard to predict, but I have a feeling OKC was both physically and emotionally spent in that Clippers series.

Prediction: San Antonio 4-1
Possible bets: Bet San Antonio to win the series. Current price around -220.

Miami Heat (2) at Indiana Pacers (1)

The Heat and Pacers split the regular season series, with both teams winning at home. The one player that stood out the most in those box scores was Roy Hibbert. In Indiana's two wins, he scored 24 and 21 points, while in their two losses, he scored 5 and 6 points. If Hibbert really is going to be the key to Indiana's success, the Pacers are in a lot of trouble. The Heat have clearly been preparing for this, as Chris Bosh took more 3 pointers this year than his five previous seasons combined. Atlanta showed how much Hibbert can really struggle against a three point shooting center, as he didn't have a single good game in that series. Indiana has also lost the first game of each of their playoff series this season, and they can't afford to do that here. I expect Miami to steal one of the first two road games, and then hold court at home.

Prediction: Miami 4-2
Possible bets: Parlay the under with Indiana winning outright in every game at Indiana. Indiana's best chance is to slow the pace down to a defensive, interior struggle where they have the size advantage.

Let's look back and see how my second round predictions went.

Overall Series Predictions vs Actual Result:

Prediction Portland 4-2 or San Antonio 4-3, Actual San Antonio 4-1
Prediction Oklahoma City 4-1, Actual Oklahoma City 4-2
Prediction Washington 4-2, Actual Indiana 4-2
Prediction Miami 4-1, Actual Miami 4-1

I went with a couple of underdogs and neither of them panned out. The betting results were even worse as I didn't make a pick in the only series that I predicted correctly.

POR to win the series. Lost.
OKC to win the series and parlay OKC with the over in each individual game. Overall 2-5 and -1.4 units for the series.
Over in every WASvsIND games. 2-4 for the series.

Overall results: 4-10 -4.8 units

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