The NBA Playoffs look a little different than they have before in recent years. This is because there are some new teams in the postseason picture, but more importantly some new faces. We finally get to see some strong basketball players like Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Carmelo Anthony in the Playoffs. Some of the first round matchups looked promising and with Game 1 in the books for all 16 teams, that prediction seems justified.
The Warriors looked good against the Spurs, even without Steph Curry in the lineup. It is hard not too when you still have Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, but they needed this win to shush haters claiming they looked shaky towards the end of the season. Sure, they are up against a Kawhi-less Spurs, but you can never discredit the Spurs’ fundamental style of play. It looks like San Antonio will have a hard time advancing against the defending champions, but they may be able to avoid a sweep.
The Wizards-Raptors series got off to an exciting start. Washington’s dual threat of John Wall and Bradley Beal were effective, along with usual suspects Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat. However, their performances were not enough to keep the Raptors at bay. While Kyle Lowry was kept to 11 points, his defensive contributions were vital down the stretch. Serge Ibaka, OG Anunoby, DeMar DeRozan, Deion Wright and CJ Miles all had strong games. The Wizards aren’t going anywhere yet and can certainly put the pressure on the top-seeded Raptors. Don’t expect this one to be easy.
Miami looked pretty awful against the 76ers. Philadelphia is a promising young team with a high ceiling and they were deadly in their 130-103 win. While Miami is trying to figure out a positive lineup that can contain Philly, the 76ers’ Dario Saric, Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova all went off. The Heat have an uphill battle in this series, which could turn into an ugly sweep if they are not careful.
New Orleans surprisingly escaped with a win against Portland. Their win came down to a strong defensive performance seeing as their offense fell flat towards the end of the game. Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday shined in the win. Portland’s Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum both played well, but it wasn’t enough to come back against New Orleans. The Trail Blazers are hoping to avoid another postseason disappointment, especially against a team that hasn’t seen the Playoffs in years.
A depleted Boston Celtics defied odds and beat the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1. This game came down to a controversial call in the end that saw Giannis foul out, perhaps giving Boston the win. The Celtics have lost their 2 best players in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving. No one expects them to make it far, but they may be able to pull off a series win against the Bucks. It will be tough, especially if Khris Middleton had another game like that, but it is possible. Milwaukee needs to focus on keeping Giannis active without accumulating too many fouls.
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost Game 1 to the Indiana Pacers. This has all the sports talking heads saying they’re due for an early exit, but most sports betting analysts know that Cleveland can easily win this series. LeBron James likely just got all the ammo he needs to go off in the Playoffs. Indiana should keep pressing and hoping that Victor Oladipo continues to play well.
Oklahoma City have a lot to prove this postseason and Paul George is doing everything he can to help them out. George’s 36 points led all scorers in their win against the Utah Jazz. Carmelo Anthony was a little slow and probably not as productive as he wanted to be, but Russell Westbrook sure picked up the slack. Rookie Donovan Mitchell continues to play well for the Jazz and will likely be their only glimmer of hope in this series. If the Thunder want to be seriously considered, they need to put the Jazz away in 4 games.
Houston is the team to watch in the Western Conference. They face a tough young team in the Minnesota Timberwolves, but James Harden’s 44 points were enough to seal a victory in Game 1. Clint Capela and Chris Paul also had their hands in the team’s win. Minnesota performed well and had strong games from Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Jamal Crawford and Derrick Rose. This game came down to the wire, meaning Houston must work on their defense if they are to compete against better offensive teams.
Betting action for the NBA Playoffs is in full swing and has lots of options for bettors. Along with point spread, money line and total wagers, you will also find a high number of props for each game. Be sure to keep an eye on each game, as things can change in an instant. No one looks to be completely untouchable in this year’s Playoffs.