The NBA Playoffs are finally here and boy do we have some juicy matchups set to get underway shortly. Here, we run you through each of the first Round 1 matchups in the Western Conference and provide our best series betting tips. Good luck to everyone following!
NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Round 1 Betting Tips
Dallas Mavericks (5th) vs Los Angeles Clippers (4th)
Dallas put a shaky start to the season behind them and went on a roll post All-Star break to ensure they avoided the Play-In Tournament. Luka Doncic found some of his best form nearing the end of the regular season, while Kristaps Porzingis seems to be continually battling injuries.
Los Angeles Clippers have flown under the radar this season to quietly put together another solid campaign. They still had plenty of injury concerns with Kawhi Leonard missing a bunch of games, but by all reports their star players are in full health and ready to attack the post-season.
These two ball clubs played out an entertaining series in the first round of the playoffs last season, with the Clippers advancing in six games. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, we haven’t seen enough improvement from them this season in order for them to reverse the result from last season. The Clippers should be wrapping this up in 5-6 games max.
Series Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers 4-1
Los Angeles Clippers -1.5 Games
Portland Trail Blazers (6th) vs Denver Nuggets (3rd)
Portland finished the regular season in fine order to avoid the Play-In Tournament and finish sixth in the West. Damian Lillard was on an absolute tear in the final couple of weeks, putting up 30+ points in eight of his last nine games, which is ominous signs for the rest of the league.
Denver had their season rocked when Jamal Murray went down with a serious leg injury that put him out for the rest of the campaign. It’s a huge loss for the Nuggets who were travelling along really nicely, although Nikola Jokic did help his team keep the wins ticking over and is a near lock to collect his first MVP trophy.
Another fantastic series we have on our hands here and one that certainly won’t be over in 4-5 games. These teams are extremely evenly matched on paper, but we do have to give the edge to the Trail Blazers here, simply because they have much better guard play and that’s always vital in the playoffs.
Series Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers 4-3
Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Lakers (7th) vs Phoenix Suns (2nd)
Los Angeles Lakers pulled off a fantastic comeback win over the Warriors in their Play-In game, earning themselves the seventh seed in the West. It was a difficult season for the Lakers with LeBron James and Anthony Davis both missing a stack of games, but all they needed was to make the playoffs to give themselves a chance of a repeat.
Phoenix had a season that dreams are made of because not only did they break their 11-year playoff drought, they almost finished with the best record in the league. Chris Paul continues to age like a fine wine and made a fantastic improvement to this young Suns team.
As great as the Suns were in the regular season, they unfortunately run into the defending champions who are now back to full strength. It’ll be a fantastic series to watch and should last at least six games, but we have to give the Lakers, with all their experience the edge in this one.
Series Prediction: Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
Memphis Grizzlies (8th) vs Utah Jazz (1st)
Memphis were too good for the Spurs in their first Play-In game, before upstaging the Warriors on the road in their second game to advance into the playoffs. In doing so, the Grizzlies become the youngest team in 10 years to make it to the playoffs since the Thunder when they had the young trio of Harden, Durant and Westbrook.
Utah have had a superb season and almost held the best record in the league for the entire season. The Jazz have had to deal with some injuries to key players in Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley of late, but both are expected to be ready to go for their opening round.
The Grizzlies have done an excellent job to make it to the playoffs, but they have little to no chance of knocking off the Jazz in a best-of-seven series. In fact, winning a single game would be an achievement in our opinion and we believe there’s every chance it doesn’t happen.
Series Prediction: Utah Jazz 4-0