The NBA season had everything this year and it is far from finished yet. The playoffs get underway on Saturday night when Golden State travel to LA to face the Clippers and Toronto host Brooklyn.
NBA Playoffs Antepost Tips
Miami Heat will bid to become champions for the third consecutive, however this year looks even trickier and is certain to be their biggest challenge to date. The Western Conference has been ultra competitive all year and many of the teams who did not make the playoff spots in the West will be left feeling bitter.
The Eastern Conference was a long way off the West throughout the season talent-wise and both Phoenix and Minnesota finished with better stats than the eighth seed in the East, Atlanta Hawks, but filed to make the playoffs.
Kevin Durant ran away with the scoring championship this time round, scoring an average of 32 points, breaking numerous records along the way. The OKC man has won games single-handedly at times and is sure to win this year’s Most Valuable Player.
Thunder finished second to only San Antonio in the West and can make a real bold bid for this year’s championship.
San Antonio had some incredible runs of form throughout the season, including a 19-game win streak which could only be snapped by rivals Oklahoma. Spurs can certainly not be taken lightly by any team. They continue to come back each year and cause trouble for everyone and there is no reason why they won’t make it to the final again, just as they did last year.
Both Toronto and Brooklyn have improved massively on last season and although they have been playing in the weaker conference, they have still over achieved and go into the playoffs in very good shape. They are 2-2 against each other this season and it is sure to make for a thrilling play off battle, of which I think Toronto will just about come out on top.
Clippers are another team that have been a dominant force throughout this campaign and at 10/1, they represent very good betting value. Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul have all been magnificent again and if they turn up throughout the playoffs, the NBA could be in for a real surprise.
Kevin Durant represents good value with Paddy Power to be top points scorer. He is 8/5, second in the betting to LeBron James, who is currently evens with the same firm.
The MVP is always a difficult one to call and this year is likely to be no different. If Miami reach the finals again, James is sure to be in with a big shout, however some outsiders at decent odds are Blake Griffin at 20/1, Lance Stephenson at 25/1 and Kawhi Leonard at 35/1.
For me, Clippers are one of the best value bets at 10/1. They are sure to play well and have a solid chance of making the final. Heat are bound to be in there with a chance, however I believe a Western team may conquer them this year and Thunder are a nice price of 7/2.
BET OF THE DAY:
LA Clippers @ 10/1 E/W
Kevin Durant MVP @ 6/1