NBA Playoffs First Round Picks and Predictions

From mid-April to mid-June there are NBA playoff basketball games being played just about every night. The first round begins this weekend, which allows for bettors to make wagers on which team will win the series.

Western Conference

Houston (-2200) vs. Minnesota (+1375)

The Rockets are likely to be double digit home favorites in each of the games in Houston and lay about 5 or 6 on the road. It is completely unforeseeable that they lose against the
Timberwolves twice, let alone 4 times.

Pick: Houston will win, the issue is just that someone would have to risk over $2000 just to win $100. There is no value on either side here.

Golden State (-1250) vs. San Antonio (+850)

There might be some temptation to bet on the Spurs because of their pedigree and the form that Warriors have shown recently. At the same time, laying -1250 with the Warriors seems too steep of a price to play.

Pick: Golden State should be able to handle the Spurs, particularly at home. However, the price is just too steep.

Portland (-190) vs. New Orleans (+165)

New Orleans has exceeded all expectations this season, especially after losing Cousins. Portland has a large home court advantage and better guard play. The Blazers should be able to win in 6 or 7 games.

Pick: Laying -190 does not feel great when betting a fairly even series, but given how well Portland has played for parts of the season it is a solid play.

Oklahoma City (-140) vs. Utah (+120)

The Thunder have been wildly inconsistent and have not played well as the favorite this season. Utah has the best defensive efficiency since Gobert came back from injury. The coaching advantage goes to Utah as well.

Pick: Getting Utah at plus money represents strong value and should be bet.

Eastern Conference

Toronto (-590) vs. Washington (+485)

Washington comes in playing its worst ball of the season and John Wall has not been the savior as anticipated. Toronto has also declined in recent weeks and has really struggled in the playoffs over the last few seasons.

Pick: Until Toronto proves it, there is no way laying -590 makes any sense. This is a take a flyer on Washington or pass situation.

Boston (-135) vs. Milwaukee (+115)

This series has the widest spread in coaching ability of any of the playoff matchups this year. Boston has been struck by injuries, which is why the pricing is where it is. Milwaukee has virtually no playoff experience, which will make it hard to take advantage of the Celtics’ shortcomings.

Pick: The markets have overreacted to Boston’s injuries. It might take all 7 games, but Boston should be able to get it done.

Philadelphia (-470) vs. Miami (+395)

It would not be at all surprising if the Sixers went to the Finals, and it also would not be stunning if they lost to Miami. The Heat have been here before and managed to handle the Sixers during the regular season.

Pick: Getting almost 4:1 on Miami represents a great price because nobody knows how Philly will react to finally getting back to the playoffs. A small bet on the Heat seems reasonable.

Cleveland (-650) vs. Indiana (+500)

There is no way that the Cavs are actually this much better than the Pacers. Bettors will back Lebron, which forces the books to adjust the line accordingly. Indiana plays Cleveland tough and will not be intimidated in this matchup.

Pick: The Cavs should be able to win the series, but the odds are so steep that betting on Indiana is the correct mathematical play.

Betting on the NBA playoffs can be very profitable when the series prices work in the bettors’ favor. Utah and Boston make for strong plays while Indiana and Miami are solid values as big underdogs.

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