The second round of the NBA Playoffs has officially begun. But the cast is not complete as we still need two teams to complete the Final Eight.

The defending NBA champions Warriors will open the 2nd round at home against the upset minded Pelicans while the NBA’s #1 team Houston Rockets will host the Utah Jazz. Who will draw first blood? Will the upset makers produce another shocker?

The Bucks visit the Celtics on April 28th to decide who plays the upstart Philadelphia 76ers in round 2 while the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Indiana Pacers to fight for the right to face the Toronto Raptors in the conference semifinals. It’s win or go home for the four teams. Who advances? Who bows out?

Here are the odds, preview and predictions for the NBA Playoff games for April 28 and 29, 2018:

April 28: Pelicans at Warriors Game 1

Odds: Warriors -550,Pelicans +375

Stephen Curry has returned to full practice mode but is still considered as questionable in Game 1. Curry’s presence is important to the Dubs as he averaged 28 points per game in three games played against the Pelicans during the regular season. The Warriors won all those games.

Without Curry, the Pelicans’ duo of Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday should be better than the Warriors’ makeshift starting backcourt. However, because Klay Thompson is an elite defender, it will be interesting to see how many points Jrue Holiday can score per game.

Holiday’s production is important because in Round 1, his 27.8 points per game was the big difference against the Blazers. Not only was Holiday the second best scorer for the Pelicans, his offensive exploits helped spread the floor for Davis to flourish. For the Pelicans to have a shot at beating the champs, Davis must run wild again and he can only do that if Holiday continues to score points.

Kevin Durant will be Golden State’s main weapon again. KD’s averaging 28.2 points in the postseason and 27.3 against New Orleans during the regular season. Draymond Green has the unenviable task of trying to stop Anthony Davis. The Brow averaged 33.0 points and 14.0 rebounds per game against the Warriors during the regular season so Green should have his hands full in this series.

If you take a look at history, the Warriors have been dominant over the Pelicans. Since the 2012-13 season, these teams have played each other a total of 26 times, regular season and playoffs combined. The Warriors have won 24 out of those 26 games, including three of four this season.


The Pelicans have been red hot in the playoffs so the law of averages tells us that they are due for an off night soon. With Golden State’s defensive prowess ( #3 in points allowed in the playoffs ) and postseason experience, that off night should be Game 1. The Pelicans will make a good series out of this matchup but we’re picking the Golden State Warriors to win Game 1.

Place Your Bet Here

April 28: Bucks at Celtics Game 7

Odds: Celtics -200, Bucks +170

Al Horford is the man to watch for Boston because in the three games that the Celtics have won, Horford has averaged 20.67 points per game. However, Horford has averaged just 13 points per game in Boston’s three losses. In a series where the average winning margin has been 9.33 points per game, Horford must show up for Boston in Game 7.

It’s not only Boston’s offense that has struggled in the playoffs. Their defense, which was ranked 3rd in the league ( 100.4 points allowed per game ) during the regular season, has given up 102.8 points per game during the playoffs and 105.56 in the playoff games they’ve so far lost. For the Celtics to win, they must play better defense in Game 7.

Milwaukee’s 106.4 points per game ranked 15th among 30 NBA teams during the regular season. That number has dropped to 102.8 during these playoffs. Defensively, Milwaukee gave up 106.8 points per game in the regular season, 16th best in the NBA. Their defense has picked up to 100.8 points per game in the playoffs.

For the Bucks, Jabari Parker should be the barometer. Although Parker scored just 9 points in Game 6, he has averaged 14.0 points per game in the Bucks’ three wins. During their losses, Parker has scored just 6.33 during their three losses. So if there’s one man who’s got to get going for the Bucks, it’s Jabari Parker.

While momentum is on Milwaukee’s side, History sides with Boston. In the history of the NBA Playoffs, 83% of the teams that win Game 5 in a best of seven playoff series that was tied at two games apiece have gone on to win the series. Likewise, the home team has won every game in this series and with Game 7 to be played at the TD Garden, the Celtics are the safe pick here.


The Bucks have proven themselves to be a worthy playoff opponent and Giannis Antetokounmpo has proved to be the real deal. But while the Bucks have the best player in the series, Boston has the better team and the better coach. Brad Stevens is going to make the right adjustments in Game 7. We’re picking the Celtics to win the series. In Brad We Trust.

Place Your Bet Here

April 29: Pacers at Cavaliers Game 7

Odds: Cavaliers -260, Pacers +220

Cleveland will only go as far as LeBron James can take them. Everything begins and ends with the King for the Cavs and obviously, they need another superhuman effort from him to pull off this series. When James scores 30 points or more, the Cavs have won, When he’s scored less, they’ve lost.

On the other hand, the Pacers will look to Victor Oladipo again. ‘Dipo scored 32 and 28 points in Indiana’s best games of the series. Meanwhile, he failed to score in the 20’s in two of their three losses.

History doesn’t favor the Pacers. LeBron James has never lost a first round series in 12 playoff appearances. Plus, the Cavs are playing at home in Game 7. In 128 Game 7s in NBA playoff history, the home team has won 102 times or 80%. But you can’t really rely on history in this series. Not with this Pacers.

Coming into this series, LeBron James had never lost a Game 1 in the first round. Indiana blew them out 98-80. Prior to Game 6, LeBron had won 11 consecutive closeout games in the postseason. The Pacers beat the Cavs 121-87 in Game 6 in the most lopsided game of the series. So if there’s a team who can beat LBJ’s history, it’s Indiana.

There is no questioning LeBron’s ability to deliver under pressure. The question is how far can he keep up this pace. James has played an average of 40.84 minutes per game in this series. Good thing Game 6 was a blowout because it allowed him to sit out the entire fourth quarter. Still, one has to wonder how much is left in the King James gas tank after what he’s done in six games.


Cleveland will always be the favorite here because of LeBron James. But this game could go either way really. All Cleveland wins were each by four points or less and two were with LBJ scoring more than 40 points. The Pacers own the two most decisive wins of the series. Between having the best player in the series and having the the team that is playing better in the series, we’d pick the latter. We’re picking the Pacers to win Game 7

Place Your Bet Here

April 29: Jazz at Rockets Game 1

Odds: Rockets -760, Jazz +540

The Rockets swept the regular season meeting between these teams 4-0, beating the Jazz by double digits in every game and with an average winning margin of 17.5 points. Houston had the best home record in the NBA during the regular season at 34-7 while the Jazz were just a modest 20-21 on the road.

The Rockets were a close second to the Warriors in offensive efficiency at 112.2 points per 100 possessions while the Jazz were a shade off the Celtics for the 2nd best defensive team in the league at 101.6 points per 100 possessions allowed. It’s going to be a battle between offense and defense. But Rudy Gobert is just one and the Rockets may have too many weapons.

When you talk about the Houston Rockets, you’re talking about a record breaking three point shooting team. Houston led the league in almost all three point categories during the regular season. And while Utah is a defensive stud, they were only ranked 17th in the NBA in three point field goal percentage allowed.

Houston has 7 players in the playoffs making at least 1.6 three pointers per game and that’s already at least 11.3 three point makes per outing. In terms of totals, the Rockets make 4 more three pointers per game in the playoffs than the Jazz and that difference may be already too much in the postseason.

The Jazz will look to rookie Donovan Mitchell to take them to the land of promise. Mitchell is averaging a sensational 28.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. But if Ricky Rubio misses Game 1 with the hamstring injury, that’s going to cost the Jazz 16.8 points and 7.8 assists per game. They beat the Thunder without Rubio in Game 6 but the Rockets are a totally different animal.


Donovan Mitchell proved his worth in Round 1 and without doubt, he is the next big thing in the NBA. But while he outplayed the 2017 NBA MVP in that series, he will be up against the big thing and most probable 2018 MVP in James Harden. The Rockets are well rested and are playing at home. Give me the Rockets to win Game 1.

Place Your Bet Here

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *