Best NBA Playoff Picks April 18, 2017
Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors 2017 NBA Playoff Odds
Away Team Season Record: 42-40
Home Team Season Record: 51-31
Canada Sports Betting Pick: Raptors (-8) at Sports Interaction
The Raptors are 0-9 lifetime in game 1s. 0-9! No wonder they are one of the most difficult to follow teams in all of sports. Everything needs to be an uphill struggle. And a lot of the last game was way too familiar for the Raptor fans. Namely, the complete disappearance of Kyle Lowry. This is really basic: for the Raptors to win, both their star players need to both play well in the same game. They scored 29 points in the second quarter, then 32 in the second half. Ouch.
The Bucks played a good-not-great offensive game. The Greek Freak ran wild but they really only put up 97 points. The Raps should be reasonably happy with that. Giannis will have another big night tonight, he only has big nights. And he doesn’t need to score to dominate the game. But the Raptors are sadly used to playing from a 0-1 hole, and I see them winning tonight. I think the backcourt will pull it together and bounce back. But this team should have learned these lessons last year in the playoffs, and Raptor fans had hoped these struggles were behind us.
Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics 2017 NBA Playoff Odds
Away Team Season Record: 41-41
Home Team Season Record: 52-29
Canada Sports Betting Pick: Celtics (-7) at Sports Interaction
We were all pulling for the emotional win for Isiah Thomas and the Celtics last game, and then the damned Bulls had to go and ruin it. I hate this Bulls team, but they can EASILY upset the #1 seed. The Bulls beat the Celtics in Boston, without a particularly good game from the backcourt. Rondo and Wade were meh, and we all know they can take over a playoff game at any time. Despite their ages. The Celtics this year are like the Raptors last year: They’re not actually ready to be seeded this high and most games will be a struggle.
Word is that Thomas is going to his sister’s funeral today, then playing tonight. That’s brave, but who knows where his head can reasonably be expected to be. I’d say the Celtics are in more trouble than any other team currently down 0-1 in their series. That being said, I’ve got the Celtics winning tonight. I think the team can rally behind their leader and Brad Stevens’ crew is well coached enough to tie this up at 1-1. That said, this series likely goes 7 games, which is not ideal for a 1-seed hoping to dethrone The Cavs.
The Utah Jazz at Clippers 2017 NBA Playoff Odds
Away Team Season Record: 51-31
Home Team Season Record: 51-31
Canada Sports Betting Pick: Clippers (-9) at Sports Interaction
Could this really be the last series of the Griffin-Paul-Jordan era? I wrote last week that this feels like their last chance and they’re playing a team that desperately wants to leapfrog them. They also lost at the buzzer on their home floor and handed the home court advantage to Utah. I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on why this team could never pull it together. Of course, playing in the same conference as the Warriors and Spurs doesn’t help. That said, they have never even made it to the conference finals.
On the downside for Utah, they’re now missing a massive piece of their defensive puzzle. Rudy Gobert’s knee injury leaves them pretty wide open inside, and sets up a Blake and Deandre dunk party. However, Gordon Hayward didn’t really put his stamp on the last game, as Joe Johnson got hot and went into hero-mode. It will be interesting to see how the Clips can defend him tonight. If Gobert was playing tonight, I’d take the Clippers going down 0-2. But instead, I think they will even the series.
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