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Leonard Leads Spurs vs. Warriors

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Updated: .May 14, 2017

By Charles Jay

The San Antonio Spurs had to struggle for a while, but eventually they defeated the Houston Rockets, with a rather anti-climactic Game 6 romp that left a lot of Houston Rockets backers scratching their heads. They will take on another up-tempo team in the first game of the Western Conference finals, as they visit the Golden State Warriors at 3:30 PM ET at Oracle Arena in Oakland. America’s Bookie customers can take advantage of two different “Live Betting” options in their sportsbook interface in order to remain in the action even after the opening tip.

Since Golden State swept its first two series, they had the benefit of five full days off coming into this one. They had a similar situation going into the series against Utah Jazz, and they were a little rusty from three-point range in their opener. Since San Antonio is a team that at least has the potential to defend on the inside, this might be something of a trouble spot for the Warriors. And let’s not forget that San Antonio is ranked # 1 in the league in Defensive Rating, and, in the opinion of many, might be an even better defensive team without Tony Parker in the rotation. Of course, if you’ve been following things, you know that Parker is out for the remainder of the playoffs with a torn quadriceps.

In the NBA playoff betting odds posted on this game, Golden State is laying quite a few points:

Golden State Warriors -10
San Antonio Spurs +10

Over 209.5 points -110
Under 209.5 points -110

As the series progressed, San Antonio, coached, of course, by Gregg Popovich, decided to exploit its size advantage, and so you saw Pau Gasol, more of a two-way player than Dewayne Dedmon, going into the starting lineup, with David Lee relieving him. Both of those guys know how to hit the glass, and Gasol was not a bad “rim protector,” so Houston wound up shooting 49% of its attempts from beyond the three-point arc in the final game, after losing Nene Hilario to an injury. The Warriors are not about to go that three-point crazy, although they are probably more potent than the Rockets. We don’t have to tell you what Steph Curry and Klay Thompson can do, but Draymond Green was also a three-point threat to worry about in the first two series. That puts pressure on San Antonio’s defense, for sure, because it will make a big man come out, especially when the Warriors employee their “Lineup of Death,” with Green playing the center position.

We have to say that we have some faith in the Spurs’ ability to play some defense here, and Popovich has to have the coaching edge over Mike Brown, who was filling in for Steve Kerr on an interim basis. We are not saying that San Antonio can win this game straight-up, but we have the feeling they can keep this within the number and not let things get so far out of hand. Of course, for them to do that, they have to be able to slow things down a little. They did that to an extent against Houston, particularly in the games they won. And the injured ankle of Kawhi Leonard may not be all that much of a concern, as he sat out Game 6 against the Rockets, although his assignment will mostly center around dealing with Kevin Durant.

In addition, you have to consider that the Spurs hit only 32% of their triples against the Rockets, and Golden State, in addition to being the top-rated offensive team in the league, is also #2 in Defensive Rating. When we look at this thing as a whole, we are going UNDER the 209.5 points, as the Charles Jay/America’s Bookie Challenge continues in Game 1 of this conference finals series.

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