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Beware of blowouts

May 6, 2008 7:00 PM

Feist Facts by Jim Feist | The NBA playoffs are in full swing, which means overall the better teams are battling each other.

This is different from the regular season when many nights great teams play bad teams and bad teams play worse ones! Astute sports bettors should pay very careful attention to blowouts.

Last year, the eventual champion Spurs had a 2-0 series lead on the Jazz and were a favorite in Game 3 at Utah. The Jazz flattened the Spurs in an upset, 109-93. Was it a tide turning win or just a good team having a bad day?

San Antonio won and covered by double digits the next two games to close out the series. The final game was a 25-point rout.

Overall, blowouts are less expected this time of the year. Oddsmakers are anticipating that the majority of teams want to be here and will play all out for 48 minutes keeping things relatively close. The Suns/Spurs series, which ended last week, was a good example, with three of the five games decided by no more than 6. One went double overtime.

Playoff teams have some talent or star players, which also makes closer, more competitive games likely. Still, one-sided games can happen. Two years ago the defending champion Spurs positively trashed the Kings in Game 1, 122-88. The stats on the game were frightening, with San Antonio shooting 57 percent and holding the Kings to 39, while winning the battle of the boards 51-32.

The blowout, combined with the suspension of Ron Artest, helped push the betting line from 8 to 12 for the next game. However in Game 2, the Kings showed up with a vengeance. They took the Spurs to overtime before a wild 128-119 loss, though the angry dog still covered.

The point is, dont easily dismiss teams that get routed. Another factor to consider is defense. Many teams that make the postseason know how to play defense.

Last week Cleveland won Game 2, 116-86, then Washington came home and took a must-win game by 36 points, 108-72. Had the tide turned? No, Cleveland won Games 4 and 6 as a road dog. Even handicappers have to learn not to overanalyze certain situations.

Even regular season games can have an effect. On opening night last season, the Heat were demolished by Chicago 108-66 in Miami on championship banner and ring night. When the rematch took place in Miami, Chicago was thrashed, 103-70.