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August 31, 2014

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Vegas odds and betting preview of the first round in the NBA playoffs

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Chris Schmidt looks up at a television at the LVH sports book during the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament Thursday, March 20, 2014.

LVH Superbook odds to win the NBA title

  • Heat: 9-to-5
  • Spurs: 5-to-2
  • Thunder: 4-to-1
  • Pacers: 5-to-1
  • Clippers: 10-to-1
  • Rockets: 20-to-1
  • Warriors: 30-to-1
  • Bulls: 40-to-1
  • Nets: 40-to-1
  • Blazers: 40-to-1
  • Raptors: 60-to-1
  • Grizzlies: 60-to-1
  • Mavericks: 100-to-1
  • Wizards: 100-to-1
  • Bobcats: 200-to-1
  • Hawks: 500-to-1

Which future bet would you make on the NBA championship?

Which future bet would you make on the NBA championship?
Spurs 5-to-2 — 31.2%
Heat 9-to-5 — 29.2%
Clippers 10-to-1 — 22.9%
Thunder 4-to-1 — 8.3%
Rockets 20-to-1 — 6.2%
Pacers 5-to-1 — 2.1%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Hardly anyone had a reason to watch Wednesday’s regular season finale between the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic with rooting interest.

The Pacers were locked into the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs and the Magic were headed to the NBA Draft lottery regardless of the result. A small subset of sports bettors, Talking Points included, sweated the matchup with the intensity of a game seven in the NBA playoffs, though.

The Magic teetered right on their preseason over/under win total of 23 victories. A win would have pushed them over the top, while a loss ensured a push for under bettors.

The 101-86 Pacers victory was a great result for the blog, as it made sure the profits from a successful preseason over/under post weren’t cut into. Talking Points finished 5-2-1 on NBA total wins bets before the season.

The easiest win came on a team that will continue into the playoffs, the Charlotte Bobcats, which amassed 43 victories to beat their over/under of 27 by 16 games. Under 49 victories for the New York Knicks, which missed the playoffs at 37-49, was also particularly simple to secure.

The two losses, on the Hawks over 40 wins and the Timberwolves under 41.5 wins, came by a combined margin of 3.5 games.

Enough reveling in past glory, however, as it’s time to prep for the next part of the season. The good part.

Check below for a rundown of the eight first-round NBA playoff series with odds and more.

No. 1 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 8 Dallas Mavericks

Series price: Spurs minus-700; Mavericks plus-500

Game One: Spurs minus-9 (10 a.m. Sunday)

Matchup: The Spurs advanced to the postseason for the 17th consecutive year since drafting Tim Duncan out of Wake Forest. They’ve only been ousted in the first round on three occasions during the streak, though in 2009 the Mavericks were one of the teams to do it. San Antonio’s 62-20 record (44-37-1 against the spread) this year is its second-best ever behind a 63-win season in 2006. Dallas appropriately was the team to defeat San Antonio that season, in a seven-game conference semifinal series.

No. 4 Houston Rockets vs. No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers

Series price: Rockets minus-200; Trail Blazers plus-175

Game One: Rockets minus-5 (6:30 p.m. Sunday)

Matchup: The most competitive series in the West according to the odds, Portland and Houston were the only teams in the conference that finished the regular season with identical records at 54-28. The Blazers were the more profitable bet, going 44-38 against the spread to the Rockets’ 40-40-2, which jibes with their status as a surprise team dating to the start of the season. Their over/under win total at the LVH was only 38.5, meaning they beat it by nearly 15 games. At 54.5 total wins, Houston fell a half-game short of cashing over tickets.

No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors

Series price: Clippers minus-380; Warriors plus-320

Game One: Clippers minus-7 (12:30 p.m. Saturday)

Matchup: The Clippers looked like the second-best team in the league, behind the Spurs, during the second half of the NBA season. They boosted their scoring differential to plus-7 per game, trailing only the Spurs, and went 20-7 straight up and 16-11 against the spread after the all-star break. This spot is familiar to the Warriors, though. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Co. were the sixth seed against the hottest team, Denver, in last year’s playoffs. Sports books had Golden State at plus-350 in the series — a tad higher than this year — and it pulled off the upset in six games.

No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies

Series price: Thunder minus-400; Grizzlies plus-300

Game One: Thunder minus-7 (6:30 p.m. Saturday)

Matchup: Last year’s conference semifinals featured Memphis taking out Oklahoma City in five games. While the Thunder were playing without Russell Westbrook, the Grizzlies nonetheless embarrassed them with five straight covers. The betting market doesn’t seem too concerned with history repeating itself. The LVH initially opened Oklahoma City lower in this series, at minus-360, before having to move higher rapidly when money began coming in. The Thunder exacted their revenge in the regular season, going 2-1 straight up against the Grizzlies and 1-1-1 against the spread.

No. 1 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 8 Atlanta Hawks

Series price: Pacers minus-600; Hawks plus-450

Game One: Pacers minus-7.5 (4 p.m. Saturday)

Matchup: Of oddsmakers’ top four teams in the Eastern Conference — all are favored in first-round matchups — Indiana is the only one that exceeded expectations from the start of the season. And it was a struggle until the end. The Pacers had to pull out wins in their final two games to get to 56 victories, which surpassed their win total of 54.5 and enabled them to regain the top seed. But concerns remain with Indiana’s 12-13 straight-up and 5-20 against-the-spread record since March. Of course, it may not matter against the lowly Hawks, who have an identical 12-13 straight-up record (11-14 against the spread) since March.

No. 4 Chicago Bulls vs. No. 5 Washington Wizards

Series price: Bulls minus-185; Wizards plus-165

Game One: Bulls-minus-5 (4 p.m. Sunday)

Matchup: A reprise of the only first-round playoff series to go seven games in 2013 looked destined until the final day of the regular season, when Brooklyn rested its starters and willingly fell into the No. 6 seed. Chicago should be happy, as it would be a smaller favorite against Brooklyn as opposed to Washington. The Bulls allowed the fewest points per game in the NBA throughout the regular season. Washington cleared Chicago’s points-against average of 91 points in two of three regular season games, though, and went 2-1 against the spread in the meetings.

No. 3 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets

Series price: Nets minus-160; Raptors plus-140

Game One: Raptors minus-2.5 (9:30 a.m. Saturday)

Matchup: The Nets went from potentially being a slight underdog for the series against Bulls to a slight favorite over the Raptors. The unheralded Raptors, who are led by Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, were the team everyone wanted to align with in the playoffs. But they’ve caught people off guard all season. Toronto’s 48 wins were 13 more than sports books pegged it for in the over/under totals. It also went 46-33 against the spread, good for the second-best mark in the East.

No. 2 Miami Heat vs. No. 7 Charlotte Bobcats

Series price: Heat minus-2500; Bobcats plus-1100

Game One: Heat minus-10 (12:30 p.m. Sunday)

Matchup: The Bobcats were the only team with a better against-the-spread record than the Raptors, as they went 47-32-2 versus the Vegas number throughout the regular season. But let’s be honest — no one is talking about Charlotte’s return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. All the attention here is on Miami’s quest to three-peat, and at plus-180 in the Superbook’s futures, Vegas odds think it will have a tougher time winning the title than each of the past two seasons. The Heat have a 95 percent chance to beat the Bobcats, according to the odds. They’re the highest first-round favorite for the second year straight.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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