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Several NBA playoff spreads hit it close

Behind the lines

May 01, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

NBA point spreads are always tougher to figure out, especially in the postseason.

But with the end of the first round of the playoffs close to an end, Las Vegas oddsmakers have already produced several point spreads for games that ended almost as predicted.

The high-point came Tuesday night when San Antonio was favored by five points to defeat Phoenix in Game 5. Despite trailing in the second half, the Spurs rallied late and won, 92-87, to win the best-of-seven Western Conference series, 4-1.

The real news for gamblers, however, is that San Antonio's five-point winning margin created a push (no-win). The bottom line: A perfect prediction by oddsmakers.

The point spread was near perfect for New Orleans' Game 5 win over Dallas on Tuesday. The Hornets were favored by seven points and won, 99-94.

It was nearly the same story for oddsmakers Monday with Orlando's 102-92 Game 5 victory over Toronto, and the Lakers' 107-101 Game 4 win over Denver.

The Magic was favored by 7.5 points, while the Lakers were favored by four points.

While oddsmakers have had more than their share of accurate predictions in the playoffs, they've also had games when their point spreads have been way off.

On Tuesday, Houston was favored by 1.5 points over Utah in Game 5, but the Rockets crushed the Jazz, 95-69.

Then there is the Lakers' victory over Denver in Game 3. Oddsmakers made Denver a 1.5-point favorite. The Lakers won by 18 points.

After 36 NBA playoff games, the favorite is 21-14-1.

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Philadelphia will play host to Detroit tonight in Game 6, with the Pistons listed as 5.5-point favorites. Detroit leads the series, 3-2, and is 7-2 against the point spread in its last nine games as a favorite.

That's probably the main reason why the Pistons hold an edge at wagerline.com's betting chart. Detroit is the consensus pick to cover the point spread at 62.47%.

Pro football

Professional football's big story this week deals with Las Vegas oddsmakers and their updated odds on next season's Super Bowl winner.

As expected, the New England Patriots maintain their role as the league favorite at 13-2, followed by the Indianapolis Colts at 15-2. The Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers are the next two teams listed with 8-1 odds.

What about the New York Giants? The defending Super Bowl champions are listed at 16-1, which is behind the odds given to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are listed at 12-1.

Ironically, three of the big news teams on draft day are the three bottom teams on the list. The Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins are at 100-1 and Atlanta Falcons at 150-1.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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