Ultimate NBA Western Conference Playoff Betting Guide 2019
No team ever walks to the conference semifinals – especially in the Western Conference – but the adversity that both the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers overcame to get to this point was truly remarkable.
Significant injuries to key players, combined with the opponents they faced, made this a rather unlikely matchup for a spot in the NBA Finals.
Both teams, who were Western Conference leaders during the regular season in home win percentage, earned road victories to close things out in Round 2 and enter this series feeling good about their prospects despite the lopsided odds. Should fans of NBA betting feel the same way? Here’s how we see the series going.
(If you're looking to bet the matchups in the East, you need to be reading our other conference betting preview).
Odds to Win the West
|Golden State Warriors||1/6 (1.18)|
|Portland Trail Blazers||4/1 (5.00)|
Betting Storylines for the Warriors
In case you forgot about Stephen Curry and his status as a top-5 player in basketball, the two-time NBA MVP reminded everyone Friday night just how dominant he can be. Curry scored 23 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter of Game 6 in Houston to lead the Warriors to their fifth consecutive Western Conference Finals appearance.
Curry May Be Dialed In Now
Friday night’s incredible performance came after Curry went scoreless in the first half and after the Rockets had taken a seven-point lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. But Curry owned the final quarter, nearly outscoring the Rockets (26-23) by himself while scoring 16 of the Warriors’ final 19 points.
It had been a postseason to forget for Curry before the second half. Since the Warriors’ dynasty began in 2015, Curry is averaging lows in points (24.3), 3-pointers (3.6), 3-point field goal percentage (37.1%) and assists (5.1).
The good news is the Warriors have advanced in spite of it, and maybe that second half puts him on a roll as Golden State moves on to the conference finals. Golden State will rely heavily on Curry as a scorer, and he’ll want to go shot-for-shot with Damian Lillard. He’ll be a smart prop bet for points in this series.
Durant Status Uncertain
Kevin Durant, who suffered a right calf strain late in Game 5, won’t be reevaluated until Friday. That means he’ll miss at least Game 1 and potentially more depending on how the calf responds to treatment. The good news is DeMarcus Cousins, who has been out since April 15 with a partially torn quad, is on track to return at some point during the conference finals.
Assuming Durant gets the all-clear at some point, the Warriors eventually will be at full-strength against the Blazers. That’s something they weren’t able to say in the regular season. These two teams met four times in the regular season and split the series, but the Warriors were 2-1 in games that Curry played.
Durant averaged 28.8 points on 57.5% shooting against the Blazers, so the Warriors will need to find someone else to pick up the slack in his absence.
They’ll likely deploy their small-ball lineup, the Hamptons Five, early and often to negate the impact of Enes Kanter the same way they limited Rockets center Clint Capela. That could make Andre Iguodala a popular player prop bet both with points, rebounds and assists.
Betting Storylines for the Trail Blazers
The Blazers won 53 games and were the No. 3 seed in the gauntlet of the Western Conference, so it’s not as if this is a 16-seed advancing to the Final Four. Still, given the injury to Jusuf Nurkic late in the regular season and the teams they needed to beat to get here, it’s incredible that Terry Stotts’ group has advanced this far.
Portland the Most Battle-Tested
The Blazers crushed the Thunder in Round 1 in a series that wasn’t as close as the six games indicated, and they earned a quadruple-overtime victory in Game 4 against the Nuggets before winning Games 6 and 7 – the last one on the road – to advance to the conference semifinals.
None of the four NBA teams remaining faced even close to as difficult a scheduled as the Blazers did. That will serve them well as they now face one of the great teams in NBA history.
Given the injuries to Durant and Cousins, it’s imperative that they start fast. Any hope of competing in the series hinges on them winning Games 1 or 2. If they fall behind 2-0, they’d need to win four of five games against a Warriors team getting back two All-Stars from injury. Portland is an excellent 3-3 on the road in the postseason, so they could be up to the task.
Blazers More than Lillard
And while Damian Lillard has been the story all postseason – just as Russell Westbrook – C.J. McCollum is playing excellent basketball. In Portland’s back-to-back wins in Games 6 and 7, McCollum scored 30 and 37 points on 29 of 53 (55%) shooting.
Lillard was able to carry the Blazers in Round 1, but as the stakes got higher, McCollum came alive as a secondary scorer. He’s a smart player prop bet for points, while Lillard makes for a sneaky assist bet as the Warriors look to cut his scoring production off.
If the Warriors do go small, the Blazers will need production from Moe Markless and Zach Collins. Without Nurkic, someone will need to step up as a No. 3 option to give the Blazers a chance. That means Harkless as a scorer and Collins on the other end racking up defensive numbers.
SERIES PICK: Bet the Golden State Warriors to win the series at 1/6 (1.18) with Karamba. I see them winning in 5 games, and you can grab that prop bet at 11/5 (3.20).
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