To say that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson owns his San Antonio counterpart, Gregg Popovich, in the playoffs, is not that much of a reach.
From 2001 to ’04, the Lakers played 21 games against the Spurs in the playoffs and won 14 of them.
As a result, the Lakers won three of four best-of-seven series between the teams despite having home-court advantage only once.
So based on the Lakers’ success against Popovich during that playoff span (the Lakers were 9-2 at home and 5-5 on the road against the Spurs), Jackson does hold an edge over his counterpart.
However, it’s a much closer matchup when it comes to winning against the point spread, where the Lakers were 11-10 against San Antonio in the playoffs over those four years.
After being swept in four games by the Lakers in the 2001 playoffs, the Spurs have covered the point line in 10 of their last 17 postseason games against the Lakers.
And tonight, Jackson and Popovich will return to center stage when the Lakers and the Spurs renew their playoff rivalry in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals at Staples Center.
The Lakers are favored at -300 to defeat the Spurs (+220) in the series and are picked to win tonight’s game.
At Sportsbetting.com, the Lakers are seven-point favorites and they are listed at -320 with the Spurs listed at +260. That means in order to win $100 on a Lakers wager, a person would have to bet $320, and a $100 wager on the Spurs would pay $260.
Early betting action has been heavy on the Lakers, who received 85.16% of the picks against the spread as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Wagerline.com.
At theSpread.com, the Lakers’ support is ranked even stronger with the team picking up 96% of the early action against the spread for Game 1.
The Lakers are 13-10 favorites to win this season’s NBA championship at Bodoglife.com.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics -- regarded as the odds favorite for most of the season to win the title -- are listed at 2-1, followed by the Detroit Pistons and Spurs at 4-1.
This story is not intended as a tip sheet, but is an account of significant betting taking place in the sports world.