NBA Playoffs Predictions: Western Conference 2017
The opening round of the NBA Playoffs is underway and the opening few games have painted a nice picture of how the bracket should advance. The general consensus is the Golden State Warriors will be unstoppable, but it’s definitely not quite as simple as that, especially with so much basketball to play and injury clouds over a few of the Warriors’ best. So team by team, here are our predictions for this year’s Western Conference.
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland came into the Playoffs as the eighth seed meaning they drew the shortest straw, having to face Golden State in the opening round. Unfortunately, this makes the analysis quite simple; they won’t be beating the Warriors. Damian Lillard and C.J McCollum couldn’t have played better in game one and they still came up short.
Damien Lillard first basket (Game 2): $7.10 (Sportsbet)
Damien Lillard for a double-double (Game 2): $3.00 (William Hill)
The Grizzlies have already lost the first two games in their series against the San Antonio Spurs which puts the seventh seeds on the brink of bowing out of the Playoffs, but you can expect them to steal a game or two before all is said and done. They play an aggressive brand of basketball and will come into game three (at home) fired up after some questionable officiating hurt them in game two. They won’t topple the Spurs and advance, though.
Memphis Grizzlies to win (Game 3): $2.37 (Sportsbet)
Memphis Grizzlies total score over 91.5 (Game 3): $1.83 (Bookmaker)
Grizzlies/Spurs series to go six games: $6.50 (Sportsbet)
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Russell Westbrook led Thunder probably have the most anticipated opening round match-up of any side as they take on the Houston Rockets. The sixth seeds started strongly in game one, but were no match over four quarters for a Rockets side that clamped Westbrook well. These two teams match-up quite evenly long-term though which makes things a little more interesting. However, it’s hard to see an upset happening here either. The Thunder are a one-man team at times and while this won’t be a 4-0 series, Houston should be too good.
Russell Westbrook to register a triple-double (Game 3): $1.75 (William Hill)
Russell Westbrook regular season MVP: $1.27 (Sportsbet)
Russell Westbrook series leading point scorer $1.98 (Sportsbet)
The fifth seeded Jazz stole a massive win over the Las Angeles Clippers in game one, but now find the series levelled at one apiece heading into their home game. Their game one victory was built on Joe Johnson dominating in the paint and Gordon Hayward playing as many minutes as possible. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as well in game two with some of the Clippers’ best players having poor games, but the home side still got over the line comfortably. Utah may take a 2-1 lead in this series, but the Clippers are still our favourites.
Utah Jazz to win the series: $1.96 (Sportsbet)
Utah Jazz to win (Game 3): $2.88 (Sportsbet)
Las Angeles Clippers
As mentioned, the Clippers unexpectedly dropped game one to the Jazz, but bounced back nicely in game two. Utah losing Rudy Gobert gives the Clippers a massive advantage as they’re already one of the biggest and most physically imposing sides in the conference. The Clippers left game two comfortable winners despite a poor game from J.J Redick and Blake Griffin starting slowly. The Clippers should advance into the next round where they’ll have to face Golden State. Their size will trouble the Warriors, but it’s not smart to bet against the number one seeds in any situation so that’s probably as far as the Clippers will go.
LA Clippers to win the series: $1.86 (Sportsbet)
LA Clippers to win (Game 3): $1.44 (Sportsbet)
The James Harden led Rockets are the wildcards of the Western Conference. If anyone is going to topple the Warriors, it’s probably them, even though the Spurs sit above them. Harden is in the best form of his career and the team showed in game one against OKC that they’re at their defensive best, only conceding 87 points. Houston should get through to take on the Spurs in the second round in a match-up that could go seven games. The all-Texas battle means home field advantage isn’t much of a factor and unless the Spurs can find a way to score 100+ consistently against the Rockets, then we could see an upset.
First player to 10 points (Game 3) James Harden: $2.50 (Bookmaker)
Rockets to win Western Conference: $10 (Centrebet)
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs come into the Playoffs as a team who at their best could go all the way, but haven’t quite been at their peak. Yes, they lead Memphis 2-0 and will probably advance to the next round comfortably, but they’re struggling to put up 100 points against good teams. Kawhi Leonard finding career best numbers in the playoffs is certainly helpful, but they need more from LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, Patrick Mills and Danny Green if they’re going to take down the Rockets and Warriors. They certainly can if they get on the right track.
Spurs to win Western Conference: $4.50 (William Hill)
Spurs to win (Game 3): $1.62 (Sportsbet)
Kawhi Leonard Finals MVP: $10.20 (Sportsbet)
Golden State Warriors
The all-conquering Warriors are hitting their peak at the right time of the year. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant are firing and they’re playing their best defensive basketball of the season. The only issues right now are Durant with a minor calf injury and Shaun Livingston dealing with a hand injury. Honestly though, they could rest Durant and probably still get passed Portland. They’re no certainty to beat the Clippers, Houston or San Antonio, but if they play their best basketball, no one in the East or West can stop them.
Stephen Curry Finals MVP: $3.60 (Sportsbet)
Warriors to win Western Conference: $1.30 (William Hill)
Warriors to win Championship: $1.60 (Sportsbet)
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Writer at the Australian Betting Organization
Nic studied at Monash University and is currently working as a sports journalist. You’ll often find Nic at the pub enjoying time with friends while watching UFC and WWE.
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