Suddenly, Cinderella's Everywhere!
Suddenly, Cinderella's Everywhere!
By Wayne Root:
I can assure you that THE KING OF UPSETS was not surprised to see the mainstream media up in arms over the number of shockers and near-shockers in the opening games of second round NBA Playoff action. The media ALWAYS overrates favorites, and always assumes things will be easy.
Well, things WEREN'T easy for ANY of the second round favorites in their series openers:
NEW YORK was crushed by Indiana in my old stomping grounds of Madison Square Garden. (I was born as a true S.O.B. in Mt. Vernon, NY...son of a butcher!). They looked like the inferior team all day, rather than the 5-point favorite people were expecting to cast. If you believe that "defense and rebounding wins championship," then it's the Knicks who now feel like the heavy underdog in this series.
MIAMI was absolutely stunned by Chicago Monday Night, as the walking wounded Bulls continue to inspire a nation with their gutty play. It's still hard to see Chicago as a true Cinderella story for the series because Miami was 41-2 coming in! That being said...two of the Heat's three losses in their current run came at the hands of the intense Bulls defense. If Luol Deng can ever get out of bed...this could turn into an amazing series. Maybe it will anyway.
MEMPHIS had a commanding lead on Oklahoma City over in the Western Conference, before falling apart in the final moments and blowing what should have been an outright win. Given the absence of Russell Westbrook in the series, many here in Las Vegas considered Memphis as the true favorite in the best-of-seven. And, many were considering the Grizzlies as a Cinderella to win the West. The door is still open for that. Memphis would have kicked it off its hinges with a Game One victory.
GOLDEN STATE had an even WORSE collapse than Memphis, blowing a 16-point lead with just a few minutes to go before succumbing in double overtime. I talked to you last week about how Golden State was poised to make a Cinderella run of their own (a Golden State/Memphis Western final would guarantee a Cinderella story!). They sure played that way for 44 minutes Monday Night (and then some more in extra time). Will they have the maturity it takes to win four of the next six?
Underdogs were 4-0 against the Vegas spreads, and just missed being 4-0 straight up. Will that tendency continue through the second round in all four series? Some thoughts.
Oddsmakers and big bettors were very slow to react to overpriced favorites in the first round. I could easily see that happening in the second round too. These guys believe too much in their algorithms and calculations, and not enough in common sense and the eye test. Golden State in particular has had trouble turning Vegas money into believers. Vegas money has also been slow to become skeptical of the Knicks.
The four underdogs didn't cover by having miraculous shooting percentages. These weren't like March Madness shockers where somebody shot lights out from long range to make up for other weaknesses. Indiana, Chicago, and Memphis are all defense and rebounding teams. Golden State is better in those areas than the media gives them credit for (particularly rebounding). Long range shooting is fickle. Defense and rebounding always give you a shot to compete.
Before you buy "all in" on the underdogs though...remember that they'll have to win outright at home to cover those spreads...and these teams have all shown some troubles finishing recently, or in recent years. Can Memphis close against Oklahoma City, who went deeper in the brackets last year? Is two-time defending Eastern champion Miami suddenly going to forget how to win? Golden State's MUCH more inexperienced in the playoff fishbowl than San Antonio is. The only series underdog without a clear "big game" experience disadvantage is Indiana. But, even they led Miami 3-2 last year before failing to seal the deal.
There are plenty of thrills ahead, and WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is ready to rumble! You can purchase the top plays from THE KING OF LAS VEGAS right here at the website with your credit card. If you prefer talking to a live person, you can call my handicapping office at 1-877-766-8946. Remember to ask about baseball when you call!
Amidst a developing Cinderella storyline, the man with more documented upset picks than anyone else in handicapping history is the man to call. It's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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