The first round of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference is done and dusted after dominant series from all remaining teams. The Raptors, Bucks, Sixers, and Celtics all made light work of their respective opponents to advance to the second round and have the opportunity to make the conference finals. As we always do, we’ve scoured the markets to find you the best value bets to get on in each upcoming series. Check them out below and good luck to everyone following!
First up we look at the second and third seeds going head to head starting on Sunday, April 28th. The Toronto Raptors (58-24) will have home court advantage in a best of seven series against the Philadelphia 76ers (51-31). The Raptors got the better of the 76ers in three of the four games they played in the regular season, which is sure to give them a lot of confidence playing at home in Game 1.
The 76ers had an up and down regular season but still managed to land themselves the third seed in a top-heavy Eastern Conference. They’re also at full health at the moment which will give them a better chance of progressing further in the playoffs than they did last season.
The Sixers were subject to a fair amount of scrutiny after their Game 1 loss to the Nets in Round 1, however, they were able to turn the tide really quickly with four wins on the spin to close out the series and advance to the second round.
The Raptors were one of the most impressive teams in the regular season (yet again) as they cruised to the second seed while resting a few key players along the way. Now fully healthy, the Raptors have one of the deepest rosters in the league and barely drop away with productivity when they bring their bench on.
The Raptors opening round of the playoffs went to the same tune of the Sixers. The Raptors lost their first home game to the Magic, only to bounce back with four emphatic wins and close out the series in five games.
What a series we have on our hands here with superstars everywhere you look, however, there can only be one team to advance to the conference finals. Unfortunately for us Aussies, we feel it will be the Raptors to advance instead of Ben Simmons and the Sixers. The Raptors dominated them in the regular season and match-up really well against their stars. We have them winning this in six or less.
The second series in the East set to kick off will be between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks (60-22) were the best team in the NBA during the regular season and earned home court advantage in this series with the Celtics (49-33). These teams met on three occasions during the regular season with the Bucks edging out the Celtics 2-1.
The Celtics endured a tough regular season where they faced many challenges along the way. They never really hit their straps to the tune we all expected and will come into this series as big underdogs as a result.
Despite their struggles in the regular season, the Celtics were good enough in Round 1 of the playoffs to sweep the undermanned Pacers four games to zip and progress to the Conference semis. Kyrie Irving was the clear standout player against the Pacers, while Gordon Hayward showed why he was such a prized recruit two years ago.
As mentioned above, the Bucks were the best team in the NBA during the regular season. They got off to a flying start and never looked back as they clocked up a franchise record 60 wins for the season. Obviously, Giannis Antetokounmpo was a big reason behind their tremendous success and will likely be named MVP of the league as a result.
Giannis and the Bucks showed no signs of nerves in the first round as they obliterated the Pistons in all four games on their way to a series sweep. Like most teams, the Pistons simply couldn’t find a way to slow down the Greek Freak as he absolutely torched them on both sides of the ball.
It should be a very entertaining series between two of the best teams in the NBA. However, we believe it’ll be Giannis and the Bucks who will continue their fairy tale season and progress to the Conference Finals. They were too good for the Celtics in the regular season and will be extremely hard to beat in a seven-game series where they have the home court advantage. All things considered, we see the Bucks winning this in 6 games or less
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