The NBA regular season and Play-In Tournament have concluded and now it’s time for the Playoffs! Here, we run you through each of the first Round 1 matchups in the Eastern Conference and provide our best series betting tips. Good luck to everyone following!
NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Round 1 Betting Tips
Miami Heat (6th) vs Milwaukee Bucks (3rd)
Miami finished the regular season off in hot form with wins in eight of their last 10 games. They look to be playing their best basketball at the perfect time and also have a very healthy roster at the moment, which will have them in good stead.
Milwaukee had another great regular season where they finished third in the East. They too won eight of their last 10 games and have a nice and healthy roster. Again, they’ll be leaning on Giannis Antetokounmpo to lead the way and look to take them deeper in the playoffs than years gone by.
This is nearly the worst possible first round series for the Bucks as the Heat just matchup so well with them. They met in the second round of the playoffs last year and it was the Heat who prevailed comfortably (4-1), while the Bucks got some revenge in the regular season this year with a couple of dominant wins. All in all, the Bucks should have the slight advantage due to homecourt, but we can see the Heat pushing them all the way here.
Series Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks 4-3
Miami Heat +1.5 Games
Boston Celtics (7th) vs Brooklyn Nets (2nd)
Boston made relatively light work of the Wizards in their 7th vs 8th Play-In game to win their way into the playoffs. Despite the win, it’s been a pretty disappointing season for the Celtics who were expected to contend for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Brooklyn had a terrific regular season to finish in second spot in the East. Their roster is obviously loaded with superstar talent, but rarely did we see everyone available at the same time, which makes their record an impressive one.
It’s expected that all of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant will suit up for Game 1 of this series, which spells disaster for the Celtics. Even if Jayson Tatum continues to play like a man possessed, it’s hard to see the Celtics winning multiple games in this series.
Series Prediction: Brooklyn Nets 4-1
Brooklyn Nets -2.5 Games
Washington Wizards (8th) vs Philadelphia 76ers (1st)
Washington Were outclassed by the Celtics in their first Play-In game, but were able to gather themselves quickly to make use of their second chance with a huge win over the Pacers. Russell Westbrook has clearly taken over as the Wizards best player of the past month or so and will be the key to their success in the playoffs.
Philadelphia are coming off a fantastic regular season where they were able to finish on top of the East. Joel Embiid had the best season of his career to date and is a finalist for the MVP, but he also had plenty of consistent contributors around him that make this a very balanced 76ers outfit.
While the Wizards have battled admirably to clinch a playoff berth, it’s impossible to see them troubling the 76ers in a best-of-seven scenario. In fact, we find it hard to see how they’ll win a single game and therefore love the odds of a Sixers sweep.
Series Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers 4-0
Philadelphia 76ers 4-0
Atlanta Hawks (5th) vs New York Knicks (4th)
Atlanta were slow starts this season but went on a big winning run once Nate McMillan took over as Head Coach. The Hawks ended up having their best season in a number of years to finish fifth in the East, although there are still big question marks over their legitimacy as a threat in the playoffs.
New York were one of the big improvers this season and are thoroughly deserving of their fourth-place finish in the East. Julius Randle had a tremendous individual season and is an absolute lock to win Most Improved and may also attract some MVP votes.
There’s a lot of unknowns about this series considering how young and inexperienced both teams are. In saying that, we do expect the Knicks to handle the payoff atmosphere a touch better than the Hawks, simply because of the defensive-minded brand they play on a nightly basis. With home court advantage on their side, we have the Knicks winning this series in six or seven games.
Series Prediction: New York Knicks 4-2