2017-18 NBA Playoffs Betting Tips: Western Conference Finals

Mon, 14/05/2018 - 12:05pm, SmitsTips

2017/18 NBA Western Conference Finals Preview and Betting Tips

The script has gone to plan and it’s the two heavy weights in the West going at it for a chance to play in this year’s NBA Finals! The Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets are the deserving Western Conference Finalists after making light work of their respective opponents in the Semi-Finals. It promises to be a terrific series, so let’s get stuck into it!

The Houston Rockets finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA and will deservingly hold home-court advantage in their series battle with the Warriors. The Rockets were able to contain Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves in the first round, winning the series comfortably in 5 games, before taking care of a Donovan Mitchell led Utah Jazz in the second round, again in 5 games.

The Golden State Warriors didn’t quite have the dominant regular season that we’ve become accustomed to over the past couple of years, although they did still finish with 58 wins and the third best record in the NBA (second in the West). The Curry-less Warriors breezed through the first round against the Kawhi-less Spurs in 5 games, before getting Curry back for the second round against Anthony Davis and the Pelicans, where they again took out the series in 5 games.

The Rockets had the edge on the Warriors during their regular season meetings, taking the series 2-1, although most of the meetings coming early in the season so it’s hard to know how much we can actually take out of them.

Interesting facts:

  • The Rockets are 50-5 in 2017/18 when the ‘Big 3’ (Chris Paul, James Harden, Clint Capela) are playing together.
  • The Warriors have demolished teams in the third quarter this season. They have a +377 differential in 82 games in the 3rd, which was the best of any quarter in the NBA.
  • The Rockets have been the best first quarter team this season, outscoring teams by 360 combined points in 82 first quarters this season.
  • The ‘Hampton 5’ (Curry, Durant, Green, Thompson, Igoudala) outscored the Pelicans 113-64 in 37 minutes when they were on the floor together… The Rockets are yet to face this lineup this season.
  • In the post-season, Trevor Ariza has taken 99% of his shots from the restricted area or 3-point range, which is the highest among 85 players with at least 50 field goal attempts. He also leads the post-season in total plus-minus at +120.
  • The Warriors have allowed 4.9 fewer points per 100 possessions than they allowed in the regular season (104.2), which is the biggest drop from the regular season to the playoffs by any team.

Prediction

Despite all of the regular season success for the Rockets in 2017/18, I believe that the fully-fit Warriors just have too many weapons for them to handle. The Warriors cruised through the regular season, relying solely on their offensive firepower to get them wins, however, they’re now locked in on the defensive end and will make life extremely difficult for the Rockets in transition. If the Rockets are to have any chance of clinching a finals berth, they’ll need to take care of home-court in the first two games. The thing is… It’s just not going to happen.

TIP: Warriors series handicap (-1.5) - $1.93 at Sportsbet
BEST PROP: Top point scorer; James Harden -  $1.85 at Sportsbet

 

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