Four Games in the Spotlight as the NBA Playoffs Begin

Wall

John Wall and the Wizards face a tall task against Toronto.

Washington (+4.5) at Toronto – The Raptors won all three meetings with the Wizards this season and it’s tough to ignore that heading into the Playoffs. Both teams are good are at different things which could provide a more even series than many expect. Guard play will be the key to the series but the guys doing the grunt work in the paint could ultimately decide things.

Trends: Washington is 4-1-1 against the spread in their last six games… Toronto is 2-5 ATS in their last seven games… The Raptors are 7-1 straight up in their last eight games against the Wizards… Washington has dropped 15 of their last 19 on the road.

Game Pick/Series Pick: Like the Raptors to cover and to win the series in six games.

Milwaukee (+7.5) at Chicago – The Bulls won the season series 3-1 and if we know anything about these two teams it’s that there will be some serious defense played. The Bucks were the second best defensive unit in the NBA this season while the Bulls were 11th. The difference in this series? Look to the offensive side of things where the Bulls were a top ten offense while the Bucks ranked 25th.

One other major factor? Youth. The Bucks are incredibly young while the Bulls are loaded with guys with playoff experience and they get Derrick Rose back as well.

Trends: Milwaukee has lost 11 of their last 14 games on the road… Chicago is unbeaten in their last five home games… The bucks are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games against the Bulls… Chicago is 15-4 straight up in their last 19 games at home against Milwaukee.

Game Pick/Series Pick: I like the Bucks getting the points. Give me the Bulls in five for the series.

Curry

MVP candidate Steph Curry leads the Warriors against the Pelicans today.

New Orleans (+11.5) at Golden State – The Warriors took the season series 3-1 but rising superstar Anthony Davis only played in two of those contests. Will that matter? It’s hard to say because this truly is a “David and Goliath” type of series. Both teams are very good offensively; the Warriors rank second while the Pelicans are ninth.

Things change drastically on the defensive end though where Golden State is the top-ranked defense in the league while New Orleans is 22nd. Don’t be surprised to see Davis have a big series but the combo of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson is just too much.

Trends: New Orleans has won eight of their last 11 games… Golden State is 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games… The Pelicans are 1-10 straight up in their last 11 games against the Warriors… Golden State is 5-0 SU in their last five games at home versus New Orleans.

Game Pick/Series Pick: Give me the Warriors to cover and I’ll take them to win the series in four games.

Dallas (+5.5) at Houston – The Rockets won the season series 3-1 but these two Lone Star state rivals won’t worry much about that. Throw in the fact that Marc Cuban is already talking smack and you’ve got yourself a potential classic. The teams are pretty evenly matched as the Mavs have a slight offensive advantage while the Rockets hold a edge on the defensive end.

We know what guys like James Harden, Dirk Nowitzki and Rajon Rondo can do but I think this series is ultimately settled by the play of Dwight Howard.

Trends: Dallas is 6-14 against the spread in their last 20 games… The Rockets are 10-3 straight up over their last 13 games… The Mavs are 1-4 SU in their last five games against Houston… The Rockets have won four of their last five home games against the Mavericks.

Game Pick/Series Pick: I like the Mavs getting the points and give me them to pull the series’ upset in seven games.

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