The first round in the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs is done and dusted and now we move into the second round of action, which sees two big series getting underway early this week! Catch our full preview and betting tips for both the Bucks vs Heat and Celtics vs Raptors series below!
Remember, we’ll have a full preview and betting tips for EVERY series throughout the NBA Playoffs and Finals, so make sure you check out our NBA Betting Tips page for regular updates.
Game 1, Tuesday 8.30am (AEST)
The Bucks had a slight hiccup in the first game of their matchup with Orlando in Round 1, however, they bounced back to win the next four games by margins of 15, 14, 15 and 14 to absolutely trounce the Magic and move onto the next round. Giannis Antetokounmpo was an absolute monster in the series, averaging 30.6 points, 16.0 rebounds and 6 assists in the first round and the hopes of Bucks advancing past this round start and finish with him.
The Heat were also dominant in their first round, sweeping the Indiana Pacers in four games, covering the spread in all four and keeping the Pacers to an average of just 100.75 points. More importantly, the three ball for the Heat at a rate that will be alarming to the Bucks. Miami shot a fantastic 39.1% from beyond the arc as a team in Round 1.
Defending the three ball has been one of the few chinks in the Milwaukee armour over their past two seasons of dominance and if the Heat can keep shooting at a high clip, they will be a tough test for the Bucks. They also have the man-power to ‘build the wall’ with the likes of Bam Adebayo and versatile wing in Jae Crowder, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler and Andre Igoudala. The tactic has become crucial to stemming the flow of Giannis over the past two seasons. The Bucks should still overcome Miami and advance, but we think the Heat claim at least two wins here.
Game 1, Monday 3am (AEST)
The Raptors cruised past the Nets in four games in the first round, racking up a monster average winning margin of 20.5 points per game across the series. They will continue their championship defence in Round 2 against the Celtics, with the series getting underway Monday morning. There are some queries over the health of starting point guard Kyle Lowry, who suffered a sprained ankle in Game 3 against the Nets.
The Celtics also recorded a sweep in the first round, dominating the Philadelphia 76ers in an all-round team effort that saw them cover in three of the four games. Young superstar Jayson Tatum was fantastic in the series, averaging 27 points and 9.8 rebounds through the four games and will once again be the key focus on offence for Boston against the Raptors.
Really tough series to call, arguably the tightest we have had throughout the playoffs so far. The Celtics have been hindered by injury throughout the season so far and haven’t lived up to their expectations because of it. Gordon Hayward is battling an ankle injury but the Celtics have become accustomed to playing without the injury prone star and as long as the duo of Tatum and Jaylen Brown are healthy, we feel like they have a real shot at upsetting the Raptors here. They play strong team defence and matchup really well against the Raptors key players.
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