In case you haven’t had a chance to tune in just yet, here’s a quick heads up: the 2014 NBA Playoffs have been a lot of fun. With big time teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers struggling mightily, basketball’s usual storylines are going out the window and the league’s underdogs are having their day.
And with so many underdogs playing well, the crowds visiting Vegas are heading down in droves to get in on the action this postseason. The good news is, you don’t have to: online sportsbooks are offering the same NBA odds even if you can’t make it down to one of the fine brick and mortar casinos on the strip. While it may not offer the same level of excitement as sitting down in a physical establishment along with your peers while anticipating game to game outcomes, the payday is all the same and in the end that is what matters most.
To get you set for the remainder of your NBA playoff betting experience, either at one of the town’s sportsbooks or the online option, here are a couple key storylines to watch in this year’s NBA playoffs.
Blake Griffin is Ridiculous, the Clips are in the News
Blake Griffin, a.k.a. The Blake Show, used to be known for his dunks. This season and in these playoffs especially, however, he is showing the world he is a much more complete player than we once thought, mixing precision shooting with hard cuts to the basket, and a dominant defensive presence. The Clip will go as far as Blake does this playoffs…and that could be quite a distance. Still, with the allegations around Donald Sterling coming to light, Griffin’s ability to focus on the court could be his (and his team’s) biggest challenge. The 2014 NBA playoffs have put the Clippers back on the map, for both good and bad reasons. The outcome of the next few days or weeks will certainly spill over into their odds for 2015, perhaps more than any on the west coast. The Clippers are currently priced at +900 with online sportsbooks to win the Championship.
The Wizards Are For Real
Of all the teams in the playoffs (including both of the No. 8 seeds) the Eastern Conference’s No. 5 Washington Wizards may have been the least-heralded coming into the postseason. The team has come to play, however, exposing the Bulls’ weak offense and putting up points of their own including winning by 10 points against the league’s best defense even without star forward Nenê. If the Wizards can keep up this kind of play, the Wizards could find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals without anyone testing them much at all. With current NBA Futures odds at +4000, that could be a BIG payday for bettors.
Balance Over Everything
The first round of the playoffs presented an interesting case for balance in an NBA team’s output. In Houston vs. Portland, we’ve seen the volatility that can come with all-out offense, as the teams avoid playing any defense whatsoever. In the meantime, in the East, Brooklyn and Toronto have put on a defensive clinic, with their respective defenses causing missed shots galore, while their offenses sputter with a couple brief exceptions. The team that wins it all will be one that can put it together on both ends of the floor. Match-ups and series to series analysis has become more important for ever for bettors.
Miami Will 3-peat, Unless…
The current odds (+150) certainly say so. While everyone keeps their eyes on closer series around the league, the Miami Heat are quietly taking care of business. Dwyane Wade looks back to his dominant self, LeBron James is LeBron James, and even Chris Bosh is finding his game when it matters most. It will take a team stacked with quality inside players and effective three-point shooting to beat the Heat, and they likely won’t come up against a team by that description until the Finals. If that team isn’t there in June (assuming that Heat comes out of the East), then your best bet may very well be on a Miami 3-peat.
Will you be in Vegas to play in person during the NBA Finals action? Will you make your picks from the comforts of your home with an online book? Or will you simply be a casual observer? Either way the 2014 NBA playoffs are full of variables that have made it one of the most interesting seasons to bet on in a long time.