The NBA playoffs has hit round 2 and with only eight teams left in the playoffs, we are getting closer to crowning the next NBA champions. First things first though. The teams must get past their current assignments first.
Let’s take a look at the four Conference Playoff matchups that are currently going on in the NBA and which NBA bets to make:
Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers, series 1-1
The Toronto Raptors opened their series with an easy 108-95 win in Game 1 as Kawhi Leonard pumped in a playoff career-high 45 points. However, the Sixers bounced back with a 94-89 win in Game 2 to tie the series and take home court advantage. Jimmy Butler led the Sixers with 30 points while James Ennis provided the spark off the bench with 13 points to Philly.
Odds from Betonline.ag as of 5/02/19
The series now shifts to Philadelphia where the Sixers hope home court will give them the advantage. It won’t be easy. All-Star center Joel Embiid continues to be hampered by knee problems. Embiid has played in the first two games of the series but is averaging just 17 points per game while shooting below 30% from the floor. While the Sixers can take pride in winning Game 2 despite Embiid not being a factor, they cannot win a long series without their best player. So unless Embiid gets healthy or if Toronto misfires the rest of the way, I think the Raptors will win this series.
Prediction: Toronto Raptors
Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics, series 1-1
The Boston Celtics opened the series with a 22 point win over the Bucks in Milwaukee as Kyrie Irving sizzled, Then in Game 2, Irving went ice cold and the Bucks evened the series with a 21 point win. After two games played, only one point separates these two teams. Giannis has been Giannis although the Celtics have shown they can find ways to stop him.
Odds from Betonline as of 5/02/19
The Bucks continue to miss Malcolm Brogdon but he’s been practicing. Not that he is the key to the series but his production is going to help the Bucks against this very deep Boston squad. Boston is without Marcus Smart but they are still very deep and dangerous when locked in. Milwaukee went hot from three ball and that’s why they won Game 2. I don’t expect that to go on for long, not especially in Boston. Despite losing, you could see how confident the Celtics are. It looks like they’ve turned on the playoff switch. I think this is going to be a long series, seven games perhaps. Boston has the experience while I’ve seen the Bucks get rattled in Game 1. Experience and Kyrie Irving wins this for Boston.
Prediction: Boston Celtics
Golden State Warriors vs Houston Rockets, Dubs 2-0
When the Golden State Warriors beat the Rockets by four points in Game 1, the Rockets pointed to officiating. When the Dubs beat them again in Game 2, they had James Harden hampered by an eye injury. Now the Warriors have taken a 2-0 lead and Game 3 is a must win for the Rockets.
Odds from Betonline.ag as of 5/02/19
Only 7% of teams down 0-2 in a seven-game playoff series in the NBA has ever come back to win the series. Yes, only 20 out of 282 teams have done it. Of course, you can argue that if there’s a team that can do it this year, it’s Houston. I don’t think so. Not only is Harden dealing with an injured eye, but the Rockets are also dealing with an injured spirit after the Warriors continue to make big baskets when they need to. The game has been close but it seems Golden State has the answer to everything the Rockets bring to the table.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors
Denver Nuggets vs Portland Trail Blazers, series 1-1
The Nuggets looked like they had turned the corner in Game 1, dominating the Blazers from top to bottom and proving why they deserve the #2 ranking in the West this season. However, Game 2 came and the Blazers upset the Nuggets who suddenly went cold from the floor. To think that Portland did it with Damian Lillard having an off-night, I’m not sure how Denver deals with Portland at the Moda Center.
Odds from Bovada as of 5/02/19
The Blazers have been traditionally better at home than on the road. Special mention goes to Lillard who is always lights out in his home floor. Dame had a rough Game 2 but don’t expect him to struggles too much at home. When he starts knocking down those threes, Denver is going to be in trouble. One key factor to watch here is Enes Kanter’s health. Kanter played through a separated shoulder in Game 7 against the Spurs. He played the first two games of this series and I’m not sure how that affects his health. C.J. McCollum waxed hot in Game 2 and Portland winning with Lillard struggling is scary.
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers.