LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) – The 2014 NBA playoffs kick off today and here are some key trends for bettors to keep an eye on for Saturday's first-round matchups.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv have installed the Raptors as 3-point favorites over the Nets, the Clippers as 7-point favorites over the Warriors, the Pacers as 7.5-point favorites over the Hawks and the Thunder as 7.5-point favorites over the Grizzlies.
Neither the Nets nor the Raptors have been very good against Eastern Conference opponents of late. Brooklyn is 0-5 against the number in its last five Eastern Conference games, while Toronto is 1-4-1 ATS in its last six matchups versus Eastern Conference foes. The Nets have also struggled on the road of late, going just 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games away from Brooklyn.
The Warriors have been red-hot in their last 12 conference quarterfinals games, covering the spread in 11 of those 12 contests. It's been reverse for the Clippers, who are 0-5 against the number in their last five conference quarterfinals games, so there's some value in taking Golden State plus the seven points today at 3:30PM ET.
It wasn't that long ago that the Pacers were a given to cover at home, but the tide has turned of late. Indiana is now just 2-9 against the spread in its last 11 home games, although it is 5-2 ATS in its last seven conference quarterfinals games. On the other side, the Hawks are 4-0 against the spread in their last four road games and 5-0 ATS in their last five games versus Eastern Conference opponents.
The Grizzlies are 5-0 against the spread in their last five conference quarterfinals games and a perfect 5-0 ATS in their last five games playing on two days of rest. As for the Thunder, they're 8-2-2 ATS in their last 12 home games but just 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight games playing on two days of rest.