The NBA Playoffs are finally upon us! Every NBA playoff game will be played from within the Orlando bubble and they officially get underway on Tuesday. We have a full preview and betting picks for every matchup in the Western Conference 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, Wednesday 11am (AEST)
We are still awaiting the result of the two game play-in between Memphis and Portland. As soon as that is complete, we will update this article with our tips.
Game 1, Tuesday 11am (AEST)
In terms of star power, this might just be the best matchup of the entire first round. On one side you have the reigning finals MVP and arguably the best player in the league right now, Kawhi Leonard. On the other side you have the most exciting young player in the world and someone that looks to be a transcendent offensive talent in Luka Doncic.
At just 21 years of age, Luka Doncic has dragged the Mavericks into the playoffs in just his second season in the league, and while he probably doesn’t have the experience or the fire-power around him to worry the Clippers too much, this playoff against a couple of the best defensive perimeter players in the league will no doubt be invaluable.
The Clippers should win this series. They struggled through the NBA restart with some of their key players missing through injury and personal reasons, but they should be fit and ready to go come Game 1. They are more equipped than anyone in the league to handle Luka Doncic with the trio of all-defensive calibre players in Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverly. Should win this series in five or six.
Game 1, Tuesday 3.30am (AEST)
Two teams that have been on similar paths for the better part of five years will meet in the first round as the 3rd seed Nuggets take on the 6th seed Jazz. Both teams have been perineal playoff sides over the past five years but neither has managed to make any real waves in the post-season, with no conference finals appearances in their last five combined playoff runs.
The Nuggets struggled through the NBA restart with injuries but finally look fit with Jamal Murray, Gary Harris and Paul Millsap all ready to return to the line-up. One positive to come from the injuries was the emergence of another reliable scorer in Michael Porter Jr, who averaged 22 points in his seven starts since the season resumed.
The Nuggets just look to have too much fire-power here. So much of the scoring responsibility for the Jazz falls on the shoulders of Donovan Mitchell and he has been inconsistent in the bubble so far. While the bookies have this as a pretty even series, I actually see it going comfortably to the Nuggets.
Game 1, Wednesday 8.30am (AEST)
In my opinion, this will be the most exciting matchup of the entire first round. There are so many great storylines to play out here. How will Chris Paul fare against his old team? How will both James Harden and Russel Westbrook fare against their old teams? How will the Rockets small ball line-up stack up in the playoffs? All questions that will no doubt have exciting answers with the series getting underway on WEdnesday.
If this post-season run is even semi-successful for the Rockets, they may have revolutionised the way basketball is played in the future. Their small ball line-up is both fun and boring to watch at the same time as they jack up a near record amount of threes on any given night. At the centre of it all, however, is one of the best offensive players in the history of the game in James Harden. Say what you want about his style of play, but ‘The Beard’ but he is rated in the top 10 all time for true shooting percentage, offensive rating, offensive win shares and offensive box plus/minus.
With Harden at the wheel, surrounded by a plethora of three point snipers, the Rockets look to have too much fire-power here. Steven Adams isn’t really a big man that can take advantage of the Rockets small ball line-up on offence. Houston could run into some trouble if they meet Anthony Davis or Nikola Jokic down the line, but they should defeat the Thunder in a tight series here.
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