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Round 3: Thunder vs. Spurs NBA Playoff Series Gambling Prediction & Lines

OKC vs San Antonio Online Betting Odds

The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder will do battle in the Western Conference Finals. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see the top two seeds in the West squaring off in hopes of representing the conference in the NBA Finals. [ad-4468020]

Series: San Antonio -215, Oklahoma City +185
NBA Title: San Antonio +170, Oklahoma City +325

The Spurs had some trouble with an instate rival in the opening round, falling behind the Dallas Mavericks, then needing a seventh game to oust them. In the second round, the Spurs didn’t seem to have much trouble at all with a young Portland Trail Blazers squad that didn’t care to play much defense in that series.

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As for the Thunder, they drew arguably the toughest bottom-four opponent in the Memphis Grizzlies, and really had to put some work in to dispatch of the Grizz in seven games. The team then went into the hotbed that is Los Angeles for the second round, and despite a terrible collapse in one of those games, the team ousted the Clip in six games. Still, that victory came at a price as Serge Ibaka suffered a calf injury in Game 6 and will miss the remainder of the postseason.
The Spurs are playing in their third consecutive Western Conference Finals. Back in 2012, it was this very Thunder team that knocked off the Spurs in the West final before losing to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Last season, the Spurs took down the Grizzlies before losing to the Heat in the Finals themselves.

In fact, the Thunder seem to have the Spurs’ number, winning that West Final in 2012, and now winning all four meetings between the teams in this past regular season. All in all, the Thunder are 11-6 against the Spurs since the beginning of the 2011-12 season. The Thunder won the four regular season meetings between the teams this year by a combined margin of 37 points.

This time around, though, it will be a very different looking Thunder team. Back in 2012, Scott Brooks was able to bring James Harden off the bench, and his ability to create offense devastated the Spurs. More recent than that, the team lost Ibaka, and will now have to adjust to life without, having not yet played a game since his injury.

The emergence of Steven Adams helps, and there are worse things than giving more minutes to Nick Collison, but the Thunder could go small in this series to offset the absence of their starting power forward. The team has experimented with Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook on the court at the same time, often with Kevin Durant in at the four.

Whatever the Thunder do, be sure that Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan will be ready for it. They will be playing in their ninth Western Conference final in 17 years together. Even as the team gets up in age – Duncan is 38, Manu Ginobili is 36, and Tony Parker is 32 – the team still plays fast, averaging 95.0 possessions per 48 minutes, the 10th-fastest pace in the league. The Thunder average a 95.4 pace.

NBA Playoff Betting Prediction

The Spurs remain in a different class than the Thunder. The Thunder would have been in tough against this Spurs squad even with Serge Ibaka in the lineup, but his absence could be the kiss of death for a Thunder team already short on bigs.

This is also a prime situation in which the Thunder would love a big time scorer off the bench, but James Harden, and even Kevin Martin, have both moved on, while Coach Popovich and the Spurs are able to roll players off the bench and have them produce. The Spurs are going to be able to run right past the Thunder in this one.

Series prediction: Spurs win 4-1


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