The Western Conference sixth-seeded New Orleans Pelicans dispatched the third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers like a hot knife through butter and will now face the defending world champion Golden State Warriors, the West’s second seed, starting Saturday in Oakland. Let’s preview this series and take a look at the best online sportsbooks for their Game 1, series and world championship odds.
Pelicans Broom Blazers
New Orleans began the series as decided underdogs to Portland and installed as 6½-point underdogs in Game 1 of their first-round clash. But the Pelicans proved that they were indeed the better team as they not only covered the number in each and every game but drew away to a four-game sweep of the Blazers and are now rewarded with a date at the Oracle Arena to meet the NBA’s Dream Team, the Golden State Warriors.
Anthony Davis is king of the Bayou and arguably the most dominant force in the game. The 25-year-old low post terror averaged 33 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game in the sweep over Portland. Davis capped off his torrid shooting with a 47-point franchise playoff record-setting performance in the series-clinching Game 4, while teammate Jrue Holiday continued his splashathon with 41 in that contest. Pelicans power forward Nikola Mirotic averaged 18 points and 9.2 boards per game to help the cause. It was the first playoff sweep in the franchise’s 16-year history.
Warriors Waltz Though Spurs
Perhaps the only storyline coming out of the Warriors-Spurs series was the fact that sun-setting San Antonio was able to wrangle a win before bowing 4-1 in the series to the defending champs. Golden State was without its golden boy Steph Curry, but it made little difference as Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green proved to be a big enough Big Three to put the game-but-overmatched Spurs to sleep.
The speculation concerning Curry’s return has reached a fever pitch as the two-time MVP is scheduled to be re-evaluated prior to Saturday’s series opener as he rehabs his sprained MCL he suffered over a month ago, which occurred on the night he returned from a right ankle injury that sidelined him for the previous six games. Nevertheless, the Warriors’ average margin of victory was more than 14 points per game against the Spurs, which made the decision to rest Curry a no-brainer. It’s not a question of if but when Curry returns, and the feeling is that any court rust he experiences in his first game back will be mitigated by a fresh set of legs, having had over a month away from the NBA grind.
What Are the Odds?
Whenever you look for odds on the NBA or any other sport for that matter, I suggest you click on over to Sportsbook Review. SBR not only displays current lines from all the best online sportsbooks but also serves as an industry watchdog to give bettors the lowdown on which of the hundreds of sportsbooks are worthy of their A+ rating and follow with letter grades all the way down to F, which places those nefarious books on the dreaded Black List. After a quick peek, I see that the Warriors are 7½-8-point favorites in Game 1 — but the series prices have not been released as of this writing. However, it is quite obvious that Golden State will be large favorites over the surging Pelicans.
But what we can tell you is that many of the online sportsbooks out there are offering Golden State +112 to win the championship while New Orleans may have some real value at +4000. Of course, it would be a tough road to hoe for the Pelicans as they would have to get by the world champs and then defeat most likely Houston before meeting the Eastern Conference kings in the NBA Finals. Give Nawlins credit, though, as they made it look easy over Portland and could have the championship timber to pull an upset over the Warriors.