Opening Betting Line : Thunder +6 / Mavericks -6
Over/Under : 192
Game Time : 9 PM EST Tuesday May 17, 2011 on ESPN
The Western Conference Finals get underway on Tuesday night and the Mavs have had a long break while the Thunder are coming off a killer 7-game series against the Grizzlies. Can the Thunder stop Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki? That is a big key in this game and the series, as the 7-foot German has averaged 26.5 ppg on almost 50% in the post-season and he is hitting on 60% of his 3-pointers. The Thunder only won one of their 3 games against the Mavs this season and their one win was without Nowitzki in the lineup.
In their last games the Mavs killed the L.A. Lakers 122-86 on May 8th and the Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 105-90 on Sunday.
This season Dallas is 53-36-3 ATS and Oklahoma City is 49-43-2 ATS. The Thunder are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games facing the Mavs in Dallas.
Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are obviously the main guys for the Thunder and these guys have to attack the rim and not settle for long jumpers. In the regular season the Thunder averaged more than 28 free throws per game, but less than 24 in the 3 games against Dallas.
Tyson Chandler has to play well in the paint and hit the glass and not allow Durant and Westbrook to get easy buckets in the lane when they break down the defense. This is especially the case for Westbrook, as he is one of the fastest PG in the league.
The Mavs have a solid bench and they showed that in the Lakers’ series. Backup PG Jason Terry is the second leading scorer for Dallas in the playoffs and the Mavs need a good game from him as well as the other reserves of JJ Barea, Peja Stojakovic, and Brendan Haywood.
Serge Ibaka is solid on D and one of the reasons the Thunder beat the Grizzlies on Sunday is how Nick Collison defended Zach Randolph. These guys get the task of guarding Nowitzki and if they can wear him down and not allow him to score big the Thunder have a major advantage.
Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins will also be counted on to play good interior defense and hit the glass.
The Mavs will have trouble guarding Durant and Westbrook, but they cannot allow the Other Oklahoma City players from scoring big, especially reserve James Harden, who is the 3rd leading scorer for the Thunder in the post-season.
In some betting trends for this Game 1:
Oklahoma City is 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 road games, 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. win, and they have an Under record of 3-1-1 in their last 5 road games.
Dallas is 8-0 ATS in their last 8 home games, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite of 5.0-10.5, and has an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 games.
In the last 4 games between these 2 teams in Dallas the total has gone Over every time.
Our Selection : The visitor not only has covered the spread in all 3 match-ups this season, they won the games straight up. We think that trend is going to continue especially with the possibility of the Mavericks being a little rusty after not playing for 7 days. Take the Thunder +6 at Bodog.
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©Bettors Place 2002