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NBA Playoffs Warriors vs Spurs – Series Price and Best Bets

San Antonio Spurs(69-25) @ Golden State Warriors(75-15)

  • Where: Oracle Arena. Oakland, CA
  • When: May 14, 2017 3:30 pm EST
  • Spread: (Game 1) Spurs (+10) at Warriors (-10)
  • Moneyline: (Series price) Spurs (+750) at Warriors (-1050)

It is hard to imagine two teams taking more divergent paths to the NBA Western Conference Finals than the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs.

The Warriors are the aristocrats, having breezed through a pair of four-game sweeps against the over-matched Trail Blazers and Jazz. With the three-headed monster of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and a healthy Kevin Durant playing alongside an athletic and well-organized supporting cast, the cagers from Oakland have surpassed even the highest expectations to arrive in the conference finals unbeaten and unblemished.

The Spurs, in contrast, were not even expected to make it this far. When franchise legend Tony Parker went down with a season-ending quad injury in Round 2, Gregg Popovich’s squad lost scoring, defense and invaluable veteran leadership. Many predicted the Houston Rockets to outlast them. Remarkably, the Spurs found a way, winning a hotly-contested Game 5 before manufacturing a crushing 39-point road win to clinch the series.

But odds-makers don’t think much of San Antonio’s chances against the 2015 NBA champs. The current series price is hovering around (+750) for the Spurs, and a nearly useless four-digit minus ML for the Warriors.

Clearly, there are only two possible value-bets on the board – a long-shot wager on the veteran underdogs to somehow pull off the series upset, or finding another prop or individual game bet along the way. Let’s take a look at both opportunities.

Spurs jingling and jangling

First and foremost, props to the Spurs for bucking the pundits and prevailing in a conference semifinal that many wrote them out of halfway through.

Game 5 in San Antonio was the obvious turning point. James Hardin, an effective one-man show for most of the postseason, scored 33 points for the Rockets. But proportionally speaking, the Spurs marginalized Hardin as a point-getter and not much else. The Beard was 11 of 24 from the field and a -6 on the night. San Antonio star Kawhi Leonard missed his share of shots too, but combined with big LaMarcus Aldridge to grab 29 rebounds as the home team prevailed in overtime.

Unfortunately for the resilient #2 seed, Golden State is much more than a one-man show. When Curry and Thompson went cold from the field in Game 3 against Utah, Kevin Durant showed why the franchise went to so much expense to bring him on board by scoring 38 points in the victory.

Clearly, if the Spurs are to have any chance in this series it will be because they out-fox and out-play the Warriors as a team. Despite the constant lack of national hype around the franchise, there are those who believe Popovich’s system – intense, complex defense and patient, grinding offense – can always overcome any disparity in talent.

Betting on San Antonio in these circumstances is like gambling on a service academy in college football, hoping that the Flexbone offense and team discipline will surprise the bookies. But that works best when Air Force is playing an undisciplined mid-major in Week 1…not a star-studded former champion at the top of their game.

Game 1 upset special

Look for value in a point-spread play in Game 1 at Oracle Arena. Golden State is favored by (-10), reasonable given their dominance in the first two rounds. But San Antonio has excellent prospects to make the initial tilt a close one, if not a victory for the road team.

With Tony Parker sitting out, Pau Gasol is the remaining inside weapon for Popovich, and the coach will make good use of his seven-foot center. Leonard will be rested and ready to play at least 3/4ths of the contest despite getting bumped and banged up against Houston.

But the best reason to expect a close Game 1 is momentum and legs. At some point, the Warriors are bound to suffer the defects of their virtues – it’s great to win eight playoff games in a row, but the long layoff and comforts of home can spell at least temporary danger.

The Spurs just won a road game they weren’t supposed to, by about 40 points – and they did it without shooting that well. In Oakland, Coach Popo will find a way to engineer his inside game for consistent two-point buckets and a 100+ point day, while the favorites may suffer another cold shooting spell on Sunday.

It doesn’t mean Golden State will lose the series, but it does mean that the underside of a double-digit point spread carries betting value. The Spurs are an excellent bet, possibly 60% or 70% probability, to fight and make Game 1 breathlessly close if not an upset win.

Click here to bet on the San Antonio Spurs to cover (+10) in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at Bovada Sportsbook and receive a welcome bonus!

Be prepared to use the Spurs’ mystique

If the Warriors somehow lose the first game, the odds may change more than they ought to because of the reputation of the Spurs over the last decade. Though not always a fan favorite, San Antonio has won so many big series under Popovich that a Game 1 win could send book-makers scrambling to recalculate.

Golden State is too loaded, too stacked with great shooters and great defenders like Draymond Green to be seriously threatened by a hobbled opponent over seven games. If the series price shrinks to a workable wager on the Warriors, jump in and bet a unit on the #1 seed before Game 2…and before the bookies change their minds.

No foregone conclusions

You can count on Stephen Curry to dribble, move, shoot and score, and you can likely count on the heavily-favored Warriors to win the conference final. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a money-making bet or two in the offing.

Wager on the Spurs to make the first game a squeaker.

If the visitors win, double it up with a crafty bet on Golden State once the odds reset.

 

 

 

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.


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