Tag: celtics

NBA Playoffs First Round Betting Preview and Predictions

After a wild and crazy 2018-19 regular season, the NBA Playoffs are set to begin this weekend. Both conferences appear to be wide open, but the first round should go mostly according to plan. Below is a preview of each of the eight first-round series with a prediction for each of them.

Eastern Conference:

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (8) Detroit Pistons:

The Milwaukee Bucks came out of nowhere to finish the regular season with the best record in the NBA at 60-22. Milwaukee is led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game. The “Greek Freak” will likely finish in the top-two in the MVP race. Detroit snuck into the eight seed in the East but could be without Blake Griffin to begin this series. Milwaukee swept all four games from Detroit in the regular season, and they should do the same in this series. The Milwaukee Bucks are winning this in 4 games.

(2) Toronto Raptors vs. (7) Orlando Magic:

Kawhi Leonard averaged 26.6 points, and Kyle Lowry averaged 8.7 assists per game to lead the Toronto Raptors to the number-two seed in the East. The Raptors don’t have to worry about the Cavaliers this season, but they shouldn’t take the Magic lightly in the first round. Orlando has an All-Star center in Nikola Vucevic, who is a double-double machine. The Magic can also defend and are holding opponents to just 106.6 points per game. The Magic and Raptors split the four games during the regular season, and this series will be closer than most people think. Toronto is going to win this series, but look for it to go 6 games.

(3) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (6) Brooklyn Nets:

The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets split their four-game season series this season, but I don’t see this series being all that close. The 76ers are averaging more than 115 points per game this season, and Joel Embiid is averaging 27.5 points per game. The addition of Tobias Harris gives the Sixers one of the most talented starting units in the NBA. D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie have combined for more than 38 points and 11 assists per game this season, but the Nets don’t defend well enough to win this series. Brooklyn might be able to sneak out a victory, but the 76ers will close this out in 5 games.

(4) Boston Celtics vs. (5) Indiana Pacers:

This should be the most entertaining first-round series in the Eastern Conference, and it has the potential to go 7 games. Boston won 3 of the 4 games from the Pacers in the regular season, but the games were extremely competitive. The Pacers are allowing just 104.7 points per game this season which leads the league, and they are tough to beat at home. Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum have combined for more than 40 points per game this season, but the Celtics struggle to score at times. Boston will also be without Marcus Smart for the entirety of this series, and that is a huge loss. I’m not betting against the Celtics on their home floor, and they will win the series in 7 games.

Western Conference:

(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (8) Los Angeles Clippers:

There will be plenty of points scored in this series, as the Warriors and Clippers are both averaging more than 115 points per game. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have combined to pour in 53 points per game this season, and the Warriors can really shoot it. Lou Williams comes off the bench to score 20 points per night for the Clippers, and they won’t be afraid to run with Golden State. The Warriors won 3 of the 4 games from the Clippers in the regular season, and they will make short work of this series. Take the Golden State Warriors in 5 games.

(2) Denver Nuggets vs. (7) San Antonio Spurs:

This will be the biggest surprise of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Spurs and Nuggets split their four games in the regular season, and there isn’t a huge gap in talent between the two teams. Denver allows just 106.7 points per game, but score only 110.7 per night. San Antonio shoots almost 40 percent from the three-point line, and have a 1-2 punch with DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Spurs also have a huge edge in coaching in Gregg Popovich. Denver had a terrific regular season, but they are losing this series. Take the San Antonio Spurs in 7 games over the Denver Nuggets.

(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (6) Oklahoma City Thunder:

The Oklahoma City Thunder looked like a top 4 team this season, but they stumbled late. Portland has had a terrific season, but they are playing without their center. Oklahoma City won all four games against the Trail Blazers this season. Paul George is averaging 28.0 points per game for the Thunder, and Russell Westbrook is a triple-double machine. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are a dynamic duo for Portland, but they don’t have a ton of depth. This should be another high-scoring series that will go the distance. Look for another upset in this series with the Oklahoma City Thunder winning the series in 7 games.

(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Utah Jazz:

The Houston Rockets are not happy with being the fourth seed in the West, but they are going to have to rebound in a hurry. James Harden has been an unstoppable force all season long and is averaging more than 36 points per game. Utah has allowed just 106.5 points per game this season, and they will do all they can to slow him down. Even though the Jazz are always tough to beat at home, they just don’t have enough scoring to keep this series close. Take the Houston Rockets in 5 games over the Utah Jazz.

Updated Betting Odds to Win 2019 NBA Finals

With less than 20 games left in the NBA regular season, the playoff races in each conference are starting to be decided. The NBA Playoffs are always exciting, but this might be the most competitive playoffs in quite some time. Let’s take a look at the updated betting odds to win the 2019 NBA Finals.

The Huge Favorite:

Golden State Warriors 1/2: It should come as no surprise that the Golden State Warriors are the overwhelming favorites to win the 2019 NBA Finals. The Warriors are the top seed in the Western Conference and have made some acquisitions to improve their roster. Beating the Warriors four times in one series isn’t going to be easy.

Contenders:

Milwaukee Bucks 8/1: The Milwaukee Bucks are the best team in the Eastern Conference, and look like a real threat to the Warriors. Milwaukee is led by Giannis Antetokounmpo and can score with everyone. Surviving the East will be tough, but the Bucks have to be considered the favorite to win the conference.

Toronto Raptors 12/1: The Toronto Raptors are once again one of the top teams in the East, but this time won’t have to contend with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kawhi Leonard is thriving in his first season in Toronto, and the addition of Marc Gasol has the Raptors poised for a deep playoff run. The Raptors have a ton of depth, and this could be the year that they get to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Houston Rockets 15/1: The Houston Rockets very nearly knocked off the Warriors a season ago, and they are back to playing great basketball. James Harden is putting up eye-popping numbers, and the Rockets can shoot. Don’t be surprised to see a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Final again.

Longshots:

Oklahoma City Thunder 25/1: Russell Westbrook is averaging another triple-double this season, and Paul George looks like an MVP candidate for OKC. The Thunder are absolutely for real, and they won’t be afraid of anyone in the playoffs. Don’t sleep on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Philadelphia 76ers 25/1: When Philadelphia brought over Tobias Harris before the trade deadline, it might have given them the best roster in the league. The Sixers can score points in many different ways, but they still need more buy-in at the defensive end. If the Sixers are able to get some momentum, they are hard to stop.

Boston Celtics 30/1: The Boston Celtics have been a complete mess of late, but they just pulled off an impressive win against the Golden State Warriors. Boston nearly made it to the NBA Finals a season ago and has one of the talented rosters in the league. The Celtics might be the number 5 seed in the East, but don’t overlook Boston in the playoffs.

Denver Nuggets 30/1: The Nuggets still struggle to score points, but their defense will keep them in every game throughout the playoffs. All-Star Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are capable of carrying the offense to some wins, and the Nuggets should have the 2 seed in the Western Conference. They don’t get a ton of publicity or hype, but Denver is really good.

Huge Underdogs:

Utah Jazz 50/1: The Jazz lack consistency and depth, but have had another solid season. Utah will be a tough out for any team in the playoffs, but they likely won’t be able to win a playoff series. The Jazz are a good team in a great conference.

Portland Trail Blazers 75/1: It’s kind of surprising to see the Trail Blazers this far down on the list. Portland has a dynamic duo in the backcourt, and they are next to impossible to beat at home. The Blazers know that they can beat the Warriors, and they won’t be scared of anyone. Portland is my sleeper pick to win the 2019 NBA Finals.

Los Angeles Lakers 150/1: Not even LeBron James can save the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are going to miss the playoffs for the 6th straight season and will fall off of this completely soon. Los Angeles needs to greatly improve their roster, or their odds won’t improve much heading into next season.

San Antonio Spurs 150/1: The San Antonio Spurs are clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Even if the Spurs make the playoffs, they aren’t getting past the Warriors in the first round. San Antonio isn’t the same team as they once were.

Indiana Pacers 225/1: The Pacers looked like a real contender to win the NBA title a few months ago, but a season-ending injury to Victor Oladipo knocked them down a peg. Indiana has still maintained the third spot in the East, but the Pacers don’t have enough offense to truly challenge for the NBA title.

Sacramento Kings 500/1: The Sacramento Kings are still just outside of the playoff race, but they have had a terrific season. The Kings aren’t a real threat to win the 2019 NBA title, but their time is definitely coming. Sacramento is loaded with young talent.

Everyone Else 1000/1 or Higher: This group of teams is barely hanging on to eligibility, and most will be eliminated in the coming weeks. Not much to see here.


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