Monday, June 1, 2009

NBA Finals Preview

NBA Finals Betting Odds at BSNblogYes, I know. Anyone awaiting the NBA Finals odds wanted the epic Kobe/LeBron show down. Well, it’s time to get over it. The Cavs aren’t in the big dance, but Orlando’s Dwight Howard is one of the game’s premier players in his own right, so the Lakers Magic odds are nothing to sneeze at. Let’s break down the series.


Game 1 is Thursday, June 4 at 9:05 p.m. ET

Magic NBA Championship odds: +230

Lakers NBA Championship odds: -280

On paper, the Magic may actually tempt many fans of hoops betting, for many reasons. First off, the Magic swept the season series with the Lakers 2-0. Second, even though the Lakers have home-court advantage, the Magic downed the Celtics and Cavs despite opening those series on the road. Third, the best big man in basketball plays for Orlando and his name is Dwight Howard. Fourth, the Magic have shot the lights out all playoffs long.

Despite those four factors, the Lakers will still win the NBA Championship odds, and here’s why:

1. The regular season is not the NBA playoffs. Yes, the Magic were impressive in the regular season against the Lakers, even winning a game at Staples Center, but the Lakers are the more experienced team, having been to the Finals last year, and they have champions on the roster in Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher.

2. Home court will still matter in the end. The Magic defied the odds in Game 7 on the road against the Celtics, but lightning doesn’t strike twice; no team has ever won two Game 7s on the road in one playoff year, so the NBA odds of the Magic accomplishing that feat aren’t good. The extra Game at Staples Center is an advantage for the Lakers, bar none.

3. Even with Howard, the Magic aren’t the better team in the paint. There’s the amazing Howard and…who else? The Magic have no inside scoring depth, whereas the Lakers have Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. Howard will dominate some games but he also gets in foul trouble; he had 32 infractions in six games against the Cavaliers. Kobe more than counters Dwight Howard’s star power and he has a better supporting cast than the Magic – not to mention the Cavaliers – do.

4. Outside shooting is way less reliable than inside scoring. The one caveat with outside shooting is that it can go cold. The Magic’s Hedo Turkoglu, Rashard Lewis and Rafer Alston have knocked down one trey after another in these playoffs, but I’d bet at the sportsbook that they go cold for a game or two in the NBA finals odds, as it’s tough to shoot better than 50 per cent from beyond the arc every game. If the shots don’t fall, the Lakers’ superior inside game will help them outscore Orlando.

Make no mistake – the Lakers Magic odds won’t be a walk for either team, but the Lakers’ depth and experience will propel them past Superman and company.

Internet sportsbook pick: Lakers -280

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