The Oklahoma City Thunder upset the 67-win San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals. Do they have a realistic shot at doing the same to the record 73-win Golden State Warriors in the West Finals? The Warriors are -170 on NBA odds to win the series following a shocking Game 1 home loss with OKC at +150.
A Look at the NBA Western Conference Championship Betting Prediction
This looks to be a matchup between small and big. By that meaning, small-ball “Lineups of Death,” while in contrast to the Warriors’ small-ball lineups, OKC’s two most common postseason units have contained the hulking frontcourt pairing of 6-foot-10 Serge Ibaka and 7-foot Steven Adams. When on the court together for the Warriors this season, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green scored the most points per offensive chance (1.26) of any five-man unit in the NBA, allowed the 13th-fewest points (0.83), and had the best per-chance scoring margin (+0.43).
Offensive rebounding is where Oklahoma City could gain an advantage in this series. If you want to stop the Golden State juggernaut, offensive boards might be the key. In three games against the Warriors this season, the Thunder rebounded 29 percent of their misses for 45 total second-chance points. OKC boasts boast two players, Adams and Enes Kanter, who rank top 10 in offensive rebounding percentage. The Warriors only faced a few minutes of an Adams-Kanter-Kevin Durant frontcourt this year, which is a lineup that saw real success against the Spurs.
Of course Golden State is the defending NBA champion. The team is in its second consecutive Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1975 and 1976. This series marks the first postseason meeting between the Warriors and Thunder since the move to Oklahoma City in 2008. Golden State previously faced off against the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1992 Western Conference First Round (Seattle won, 3-1) and the 1975 Western Conference Semifinals (Warriors won, 4-2).
The Warriors beat both Houston and Portland in five games in these playoffs. Since returning to the playoffs in 2013, the Warriors have won at least one road game in each of their last nine playoff series. Golden State won an NBA record 34 road games in the regular season in 2015-16.
Golden State earned a series sweep against the Thunder (3-0) during the season, the first time Golden State has ever swept the Thunder franchise, which began in Seattle in 1967.
After defeating the Spurs in the conference semifinals, the Thunder have now won 10 playoff series in the last five seasons. Only the Miami Heat (15) have won more postseason series during this span (San Antonio has also won 10 playoff series). By defeating the Spurs in six games, the Thunder became the first team since the 1985 Lakers to win a playoff series after losing Game 1 by 30+ points. By advancing to the conference finals for the fourth time in the past six seasons, the Thunder became just the fifth team in the past 20 years to accomplish such a feat (joining the Heat, Lakers, Pistons and Spurs).
The Warriors (114.9 ppg) and Thunder (110.2 ppg) were the league’s top two scoring teams during the regular season and this marks the first playoff series between teams that each averaged at least 110 points since Phoenix and Portland met in the 1992 Western Conference semifinals.
Expert Betting Prediction
Warriors in seven games even after losing Game 1 on Monday.