Two years gone by
It seems like just yesterday that we watched the Spurs go up 2-0 on the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals in 2012, just to watch OKC win four straight games on their way to the Finals. Now the two teams meet again two years later, but a lot has changed since the last time they met in the playoffs. Now in Game 1 of the 2014 Western Conference Finals, the Spurs are -4 ½ home favorites, with a total of 209.
Surprisingly both team’s defenses have been pretty good this postseason, especially last series. However as they always say, good offense beats good defense any day, and that may end up being the motto of this series. Both teams provide some bad mismatches for one another, and it could mean that the scoring is plentiful. At only 209, this total may be a little undervalued heading into this series.
However a lot has changed since the last time the Thunder bested the Spurs in the playoffs. For starters, the Thunder do not have the services of James Harden to help them with their offense. While the Thunder still have a lot different offensive weapons from two seasons ago, the Spurs also have a lot more on their side since then.
The emergence of Kawhi Leonard is going to give the Spurs an edge in this series. Much like Tony Allen did in the first round, I think Leonard is going to give Kevin Durant some trouble in this series. I feel as if the Spurs are going to load up on Durant and make Russell Westbrook kill them. The Clippers did that some last round, but with Leonard playing at the level he is, it could mean a different outcome from that of 2012.
The Sharp Pick
However as I mentioned above, the over still looks like a good play in this game. So far this postseason, Game 1’s have cashed the over at 9-3, and even though as this series goes on, the defense will probably get better, at the beginning there should be more scoring. These two cashed the over against one another in two of their last three regular season meetings this year, and I see that and the Game 1 trend continuing on Monday night.
Even though the Thunder cashed the under in their last three games against the Clippers, they are still 7-6 cashing the over in the postseason this year. Along with that, when the Thunder have had at least 2-3 days off this regular season, they are 11-8-1 cashing the over.
The Spurs on the other hand have cashed the under in their last two games, but they were both elimination games. As I’ve talked about a lot over the last few days, closeout games are normally lower scoring. However as we’ve seen from the Game 1 trends this postseason, the over looks very good. Even though they’ve cashed the under in their last two, the over is still 8-4 this postseason for the Spurs, and they cashed it in six games in a row before their last two versus Portland.
My Pick: OVER 209