Another thrilling NBA year has come to a close, and many playoff matchups were still undecided heading into the final night of the regular season. The Los Angeles Lakers made the playoffs and managed to leapfrog the Houston Rockets in the process. The Los Angeles Clippers held off the Sacramento Kings and grabbed the fourth seed in the West, while the San Antonio Spurs lost seven of their last 10 games to fall into the second seed. Over in the East things were a bit clearer as every playoff team had punched their tickets a week earlier.
There are many storylines in play heading into this year’s postseason, as LeBron James and the Miami Heat look to continue writing their legacy, while the New York Knicks have positioned themselves to make their first Finals appearance in over 15 years. The Oklahoma City Thunder are desperate to get over the hump and win their first title in the same conference where the LA Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies believe they are championship-level material. Let’s take a closer look at each playoff series and make a few predictions and figure out the best way to wager on each series.
(1) Miami Heat versus (8) Milwaukee Bucks
Series Price: Miami -18000, Milwaukee +7500
Game 1 lines: Miami -13.5
The Heat are huge favorites in this series. The series price line moved from Miami being -6000 to them being -18000 in a matter of minutes. Bettors must have placed a lot of action on the Heat series price for the line to move so drastically. The Heat are going to win this series and it will probably be an ATS sweep. Giving up 13 points is a lot, but Miami will come out focused and ready to play.
(2) New York Knicks versus (7) Boston Celtics
Series Price: New York -300, Boston +250
Game 1 lines: New York -6.5
The Knicks are a solid favorite against the aging Celtics. However New York is one of those teams that could crumble under the pressure of expectation. The team will probably cover the spread during the first game, but this series is wide open ATS wise. Expect Boston to cover more than a few spreads.
(3) Indiana Pacers versus (6) Atlanta Hawks
Series Price: Indiana -475, Atlanta +375
Game 1 lines: Indiana -7,
The Pacers have a solid chance at sweeping this series straight-up, but it will be much closer when the spread is involved. Indiana is not a great road ATS team, and will probably have trouble covering the spread when the series shifts to Atlanta.
(4) Brooklyn Nets versus (5) Chicago Bulls
Series Price: Brooklyn -155, Chicago +135
Game 1 lines: Brooklyn -4.5
This is a series that could go either way, and both the spread and series price are right on the money. Net guard Deron Williams has been playing much better after the all-star break and should be able to lead Brooklyn past the undermanned Bulls.
(1) Oklahoma City Thunder versus (8) Houston Rockets
Series Price: Oklahoma City -2000, Houston +1200
Game 1 lines: Oklahoma City -10
Oklahoma has been a solid ATS team this season, but 10 points is a lot to give up during a playoff game. Houston does not have much of a chance to win this series, but has the offensive fire-power to at least make it interesting. Expect the series to go five games, with the Rockets covering two spreads.
(2) San Antonio Spurs versus (7) LA Lakers
Series Price: San Antonio -1000, Los Angeles +700
Game 1 lines: San Antonio -9
The Lakers have very little chance in this series and both the series price and individual game odds show it. If Los Angeles can manage to win one game and cover two spreads then the postseason will be a success for them.
(3) Denver Nuggets versus (6) Golden State Warriors
Series Price: Denver -600, Golden State +400
Game 1 lines: Denver -8
Denver is getting overvalued a bit in this series. The team lost a vital piece of offense when Danilo Gallinari tore his ACL. Expect this series to be much closer than the oddsmakers are giving the Warriors credit for. Don’t be surprised if the Warriors cover most of the spreads, but win the series outright.
(4) LA Clippers versus (5) Memphis Grizzlies
Series Price: Los Angeles -175, Memphis +155
Game 1 lines: Los Angeles -5
This will undoubtedly be the best series of the first-round. The Clippers and Grizzlies have built up quite a rivalry over the past two years, and should have an entertaining slugfest of a series. Expect each team to take turns covering the spread and winning games. The series could go either way, as both sides of the line have value. Expect the Clippers to ultimately come out on top in another long and grueling series.