THE first round of the NBA Finals is generally a procession before the higher-seeded teams play each other, but this week has given fans a great showing and punters have cashed in.
The Toronto Raptors drifted out to even money against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday and the two teams will meet again this Saturday. Toronto lead the series 2-1 after securing an overwhelming 101-85 victory in Toronto and it has firmed into favoritism for Game 4 on Saturday.
The Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets will also face off on Saturday with the Heat winning both its home games to kick off the series. Charlotte will be hoping home court advantage can turn the series around, but the Heat have had its measure to date, winning Game 2 easily.
The third game on the card for our parlay is the Thunder vs. Mavericks. The series is 2-1 in the Thunders’ favor and despite the Mavericks showing some fight in the series, they didn’t look good in game three.
We are confident we can hit our three-leg parlay, so sign up to WilliamHill.com and get involved with the NBA playoffs.
Indiana Pacers vs. Toronto Raptors
Head-to-head betting odds:
Game 1: Raptors 90 – Pacers 100
Game 2: Pacers 87 – Raptors 98
The all-important Game 4 could well decide which team goes on to win this series. The Pacers locked down the Raptors to open up the series, but were found wanting on all levels last Thursday.
The Pacers are 26-15 at home throughout the regular season and they will need to call upon the home fans to get them over the line. Paul George has been trying his hardest to keep the 7th ranked side in the playoffs, but he will need someone else to start stepping up.
The Pacers must force the Raptors into turnovers, but we think the Raptors have too many offensive weapons and DeMar DeRozan is due a breakout game.
Our tip: Raptors -120
Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets
Game 1: Heat 123 – Hornets 91
Game 2: Heat 115 – Hornets 103
The Heat have been bringing the heat so far in this series with two extremely easy wins at home. Even without Chris Bosh, the Heat have shown their ability to win come playoff time and the Hornets’ youth has been exposed.
Dwayne Wade is leading the Heat with 19.0 points per game and Hussan Whiteside is making it very tough for the Charlotte scorers to get in the paint.
Charlotte will call on Kemba Walker to do the majority of the scoring and with Nicholas Batum on the injured list, it won’t be an easy task. What is going in Charlotte’s favor is its home record. The Hornets are 30-11 at home this season which could well get them over the line.
The bookmakers have the Hornets as the favorites for this and we’re leaning the same way.
Our tip: Hornets -126
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks
Points spread lines:
Mavericks: +10 at -109
Thunder: -10 at -109
Series results to date:
Game 1: Thunder 108 – Mavericks 70
Game 2: Thunder 84 – Mavericks 85
Game 3: Mavericks 102 – Thunder 131
The Dallas Mavericks were able to steal a game in Oklahoma City, but it came quickly back down to earth with a shattering loss on Thursday night. The Mavericks lost by 29 points on their home court after an awesome display from Kevin Durant and the Mavericks will be hard-pressed to find a way to stop him again.
Durant had a shocking outing in the second game of the series, but quickly rebounded for 34 points in Game 3. The Mavericks will try to counter the offensive power of Durant with big man Dirk Nowitzki who needs to have a massive game.
Heading back home will help the Mavericks’ chances of forcing a game 6, but the Thunder have the ascendancy and should kick on with it now.
Our tip: Thunder -10 at -109