Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals best of seven series tips off tonight from the Lone Star State when the San Antonio Spurs host the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Spurs routed the Thunder in Game 1 winning by 17 points 122-105.
It was the Thunder’s first game sans Serge Ibaka their defensive stopper.
In tonight’s matchup, the Spurs are 6-point favorites at home. The line in Game 1 had San Antonio favored by -4.5, but when news was released that Ibaka would not play, the line on Bovada and sportsbook.com moved up a full point to -5.5 and closed at -6.
According to data from topbet and betonline, the Spurs are 6-1 against the spread in their past 7 games overall.
On many books, the Spurs are a whopping -500 to win this series. The Thunder defeated San Antonio in each of their four head to head games this past regular season but are a +400 dog to move on to the finals.
Oklahoma City was a loser in Games 1 and 2 of their 2012 conference finals again San Antonio, but came back to win four straight games and the series.
However, if they hope to duplicate that, they must play better and stronger in the paint and near the rim.
San Antonio outscored the Thunder in the paint 66-32. That disadvantage will be difficult to change with Ibaka thought to be lost for the entire series.
Nick Collison started in Ibaka’s place but the Thunder opted for a smaller lineup a number of times with Derek Fisher and Reggie Jackson each playing a number of minutes.
The pace was upped by the smaller lineup the Thunder inserted, which resulted in the highest scoring outcome of any of the five games the two teams have played head to head.
Not including the first game of this series, the two teams combined for an average of 202.75 in four games. On Monday, the teams combined for 227 points. The line opened on Bovada at 210.5 for the total points but is now available on some sportsbooks for as high as 211.5
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined to score 53 points for Oklahoma City, but had 10 turnovers between them. In comparison, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan combined for 41 points and just 2 turnovers.
San Antonio shot an impressive 57% from the field, including 7 of 12 for Manu Ginobili.
The depth the Spurs have will keep their veteran legs fresh, which is needed at this point in the season.
On the other side of the court, Westbrook and Durant are logging huge minutes and that will eventually wear the two down.
Some bookmakers feel the line should be closer to 10 and not 6.
This series likely will go just five, as the Spurs will win tonight and split in Oklahoma City before eliminating the Thunder in Game 5.
Pick: Spurs less the points and the UNDER