Home Teams Dominate Opening Weekend of Playoffs
Home teams win on average at a higher percentage in the NBA than in the NFL, MLB or NHL. That was truly borne out of the opening weekend of the NBA Playoffs as every home team won – and was mostly a boon for bettors at Bovada.
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Six of the eight home favorites covered on the weekend; the only underdogs to do so were Boston at plus-7.5 at the New York Knicks in Game 1 Saturday and Golden State also at plus-7.5 in their opener that night in Denver. The only favorite to not cover by at least double digits was San Antonio at minus-9 in a 91-79 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Another trend emerging early is that defense is emphasized in the playoffs. The under hit in five of the eight games and no losing team scored more than 95 points (Warriors). The Celtics (78) and Lakers (79) were held under 80.
The Lakers looked lost offensively without Kobe Bryant as the Spurs packed the paint and dared the Lakers to beat them from the perimeter. Los Angeles never led again after scoring the opening basket. It shot 41% from the field – 3-for-15 on three-pointers – and committed 18 turnovers. Wednesday's Game 2 will have Live Betting at the book.
Warriors in Trouble without Lee
Golden State was a +325 series dog against the Nuggets, but the Warriors are even bigger dogs now with the loss of All-Star power forward David Lee for the rest of the season with a hip injury. Lee led the NBA in double-doubles with 56 this year and averaged 18.5 points, 11.2 rebounds. He had 10 points and 14 boards in Game 1.
During the regular season, the Warriors averaged 102.7 points, shot 46.7% from the field and were plus-2.9 in points differential (all per 48 minutes) when Lee was on the floor. When he wasn't, the Warriors averaged 94.5 points, shot 43% from the field and were minus-4.8 points per 48 minutes. Lee was given over/under series totals of 17.5 points and 11 boards. Carl Landry will start in his place.
The over/under games in the series was set at 5.5 with the over a -130 favorite, but the Warriors likely will be fortunate to win a game now against Denver, one of the NBA's best rebounding teams. Tuesday's Game 2 will have Live Play-by-Play Betting at the book, and the Nuggets are eight-point favorites. They will get back their starting power forward, Kenneth Faried, for the game. He missed the opener with a sprained left ankle. Faried averaged 11.5 points and 9.2 rebounds this year. His return means Wilson Chandler will return to a reserve role.
The Nuggets have won a franchise-record 24-straight home games. The previous four teams to enter the playoffs with at least 21-straight home wins all advanced to the NBA Finals. The Nuggets are 22/1 to win the title. The Warriors dropped to 150/1.
*-Also available for Live Betting early this week is Game 2 of Bucks-Heat, Celtics-Knicks (both Tuesday), Rockets-Thunder and Hawks-Pacers (both Wednesday).
Kings Going or Staying?
This figures to be an important week in whether the Kings will stay in Sacramento or move to Seattle for next season. The Maloof family, which has owned the majority of the Kings since 1999, wants the deal to Seattle because it nets them more money – about $357 million for 65% of the club.
However, Sacramento finally agreed to build the Kings a new arena and got a nearly similar financial package ($341 million) thanks to the work of Sacramento mayor and former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson.
Commissioner David Stern has said a final vote on the Kings' future will take place May 6, but a special committee of 12 owners will make a recommendation on which way the full ownership should vote later this week. One owner on that committee was quoted as saying "I think it's 50-50. I think it could go either way."
Bovada does offer a prop on where the Kings will be located in Game 1 of next season: Seattle, a much bigger TV market, is the 5/7 favorite with Sacramento at even money.
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