NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals Betting Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Golden State Warriors

2016 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Finals
#3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs #1 Golden State Warriors
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Odds to win Series Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbooks: Warriors -430 / Thunder +345

Game #1 – Monday, May 16, 2016, 9:05 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Oracle Arena- Oakland, California
Opening Line: Golden State -7 1/2
Current Line: Golden State -7 1/2
Opening Total: 222 1/2
Current Total: 223 1/2
Opening Money Line: Warriors -345 / Thunder +280
Current Money Line: Warriors -380 / Thunder +290

The Warriors and Thunder meet in the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors and Thunder meet in the Western Conference Finals.

Many thought it was a foregone conclusion that the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs would meet in the Western Conference Finals. Well, Golden State did their part, but the Spurs were upset in six games by the Oklahoma City Thunder. A Thunder-Warriors series isn’t a bad consolation prize though as the series features five all-stars and three of the top five vote-getters in the MVP balloting. Game One is Monday night in Oakland. The winner between the Warriors and Thunder will face either the Toronto Raptors or Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Oklahoma City is coached by Billy Donovan. Oklahoma City is 55-27 and won the Northwest Division by 11 games over the Portland Trail Blazers and were the #3 seed in the West. OKC is 44-48-3 ATS and the total is 44-49 this season. The Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks in five games in the first round. All four Thunder wins in the series were by double digits. After getting crushed by the Spurs in game one by 32 points, OKC won four of the next five games to win the series in six. The Thunder won game six Thursday night at home 113-99, after leading by as many as 28. The Thunder are in the Conference Finals for the third time in the last six seasons, after missing the playoffs last year.

Golden State is coached by Steve Kerr. Kerr won the NBA coach of the year award despite missing almost half the season recovering from back surgery. The Warriors set an NBA record for wins in the regular season with a 73-9 record. They won the Pacific Division by 20 games over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Warriors beat the Houston Rockets in five games in the first round. The Warriors then beat the Portland Trail Blazers in five games in the second round, including 125-121 in the clincher last Wednesday. Two time MVP Stephen Curry suffered knee and ankle injuries in the first round against the Rockets and missed six games in the playoffs. He returned for the last two games against the Blazers. Golden State is the defending NBA Champion.

Golden State won all three meetings against Oklahoma City in the regular season during a three week stretch from early February to March. The Warriors won in Oakland 116-108 and 121-106, and in Oklahoma City 121-118 in overtime. The Thunder led or were tied in the fourth quarter of each of those games. This is the third playoff meeting between the Warriors and Thunder, but first since 1992 when the Thunder were the Seattle Supersonics.

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Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 106-98 in the playoffs. The Thunder are #3 in scoring in the playoffs. OKC is shooting 46.9% from the field and 33.9% from three point range. Oklahoma City makes 79.7% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.9% from the field and 34.1% from three point range. OKC averages 46.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 36.5 per game. Oklahoma City averages 20.2 assists, 13.9 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 4.9 blocks per game. Opponents average 20.9 assists, 10.9 turnovers, 5.7 steals and 3.5 blocks per game.

Kevin Durant averages 27.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists during the playoffs. Russell Westbrook averages 25.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 10.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game. He had 18 triple doubles this season to tie Magic Johnson in 1981-82 for the most in the last last 40 seasons. Center Enes Kanter averages 11.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 11.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1.4 blocks per game. Steven Adams averages 10.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Dion Waiters averages 9.4 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal per game. Randy Foye, Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, Nick Collison, and Andre Roberson will also get minutes in the rotation.

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Golden State is outscoring teams 114-103 in the playoffs. The Warriors are shooting 48% from the field and 40.7% from three point range. Golden State makes 74.3% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.6% from the field and 35.4% from three point range. The Warriors average 45.6 rebounds per game and opponents average 45.6 as well. Golden State averages 27.1 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 8 steals and 6.4 blocks per game. Opponents average 19.9 assists, 16 turnovers, 7.6 steals and 4.3 blocks per game.

Klay Thompson averages 27.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game in the playoffs. Curry averages 24.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Draymond Green averages 17.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per game. He is probable with an ankle injury. Shaun Livingston averages 11.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Harrison Barnes, Andre Igoudala, Marreese Speights, Leandro Barbosa, Andrew Bogut and Ian Clark will also get minutes in the rotation. Bogut is questionable with a hip injury.  Kevon Looney is out for the season with a hip injury.

Oklahoma City is 6-1 ATS against teams with winning home records, 5-1 in road games, 4-1 against teams with winning records, overall and against Western Conference teams, and 7-2 in Monday games.

Golden State is 7-1 ATS at home, 6-2 in Monday games, 9-3 overall and against Western Conference teams, 11-4 on three or more days rest, 24-9 after failing to cover, 26-10-1 against teams with winning road records, 5-2 against teams with winning records, 7-3 after a straight up win, and after scoring 100 points or more. The home team is 7-0-1 ATS in this series recently and the favorite is 4-1-1 ATS. The Warriors are 4-1-1 ATS against the Thunder recently and have covered the last four games at home in the series.

Oklahoma City had the advantage in athleticism against the Spurs, but that won’t happen against Golden State. The Thunder showed a lot of poise and were actually tough in the fourth quarter against the Spurs. The Thunder will have to play even better defense and cut down on the turnovers. Still, the Warriors are simply better. I like them to win in six games, and it starts with a close win at home in game one for the Warriors.

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