This is what teams have played all year for and what bettors (hopefully) have been saving some of their money for – the NBA playoffs! The excitement of the NBA playoffs finally tips off today with four match-ups bettors and fans aren’t going to want to miss. Check out our picks below before you make your wagers and enjoy the drama and the intensity of the postseason!
Boston Celtics +7.5 at New York Knicks -7.5
It hasn’t been an easy year on the aging and injured Celtics, especially this week with everything that was going on in their hometown. The finished the regular season with a 41-40 record (one game cancelled due to Boston bombing suspect manhunt) and although they’ve played well against their bitter rival New York in years past, this Knicks team is playing their best basketball of the season right now and looks a bit too powerful for the shorthanded Celtics to handle.
Still, we can’t underestimate the resilience and determination of the Celtics. They’ve battled through injuries to their stars, including Kevin Garnett, and have played most of the year without Rajon Rondo, still managing to make the postseason. I expect the Knicks will win, but it will be close, so take the Celtics to cover +7.5 in a hard-fought game one.
Golden State Warriors +7.5 at Denver Nuggets -7.5
The Warriors are successful when they hit outside shots, which is most of the time considering they shoot better than 40% from three-point territory, but they won’t be able to win game one, or the series for that matter, if they can’t win some of the inside wars against the Nuggets.
Denver takes pride in dominating the paint and it should be able to do just that against Golden State tonight, which will give it a huge rebounding edge. The Warriors should keep things fairly close with their three-point shooting prowess, but look for the Nuggets to pull away in the final minutes, covering -7.5.
Chicago Bulls +4.5 at Brooklyn Nets -4.5
The Bulls always battle hard. They play a tough physical style that almost always keeps the game close, but they may be without one of their toughest and most physical players, Joakim Noah, today who is a gametime decision for game one with a foot injury.
If Noah can’t go, Carlos Boozer may have to put a body on Nets star Brook Lopez, which would give the Nets a little size advantage inside. Still, considering these teams didn’t play a game that was won by more than four points all year, the Bulls should be able to at least keep this thing close. I like the resilient Bulls to cover +4.5 here and if they have Noah, look for them to take game 1.
Memphis Grizzlies +5 at Los Angeles Clippers -5
The Clippers edged the Grizzlies in seven games in last year’s first round and with an even stronger team, it looks like the Clippers have an edge once again this year.
Of course, the Grizzlies have gotten stronger as well, even after trading leading scorer Rudy Gay, but they have consistently struggled in this particular match-up and with the Clippers at home today, that trend is unlikely to change today.
Look for the Clippers to earn the game 1 win and cover -5 here.