NBA Playoff Update

It's getting down to the nitty-gritty in these NBA Playoffs - second-round series set to begin in three locales this weekend - and a footnote that NBA Playoff Betting Favorites are 25-14-1 ATS (against the spread) overall for a shiny .641 winning rate.


On Saturday, it's ...PHILADELPHIA at TORONTO - 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Game 1

You know the numbers: The Raptors have won their last 13 in a row SU (straightup) at home against the 76ers but Game 1's have not exactly been kind to Toronto - 2-14 SU in its post-season hoops history. Yikes!

The Game 1 formula for 6.5-point pup Philly is this: Make sure C Joel Embiid (24.8 points per game these playoffs) gets a touch nearly every time down the floor and then have 3-point makers J.J. Redick and Jimmy Butler bang their open looks ... or else! Toronto's Kawhi Leonard is the best player on the floor in this series - but he needs "paint" help to get through things.

Here's the game-by-game history this season between the 76ers and the Raptors. Note home teams are in CAPS below:

10-30TORONTO- 6Philadelphia129-112
12-5TORONTO- 6.5Philadelphia113-102
12-22PHILADELPHIA- 8Toronto126-101
2-5Toronto+ 2PHILADELPHIA119-107


On Sunday, it's ...BOSTON at MILWAUKEE - 1pm. ET, ABC / Game 1

There's been plenty of R&R time for these clubs: The Celtics - a 7.5-point underdog here in Game 1 - have been idle since last Sunday and the top-seeded Bucks have not played since Monday night following their respective sweeps but don't expect rust to be a factor here 'cause Milwaukee's defense never rests and the Celtics have utilized the down time to get healthier. There's a whole lot more to the Bucks than just MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo (26.3 ppg this post-season) but be sure for Milwaukee to cover this price tag than G Eric Bledsoe and F Khris Middleton - each averaging 19 ppg these playoffs - must be volume shooters that go for 45 points between 'em every game. Can Celtics' G Kyrie Irving will his team's way to this second-round upset? The Bucks are - 320 for the series here.

Here's the game-by-game history this season between the Celtics and the Bucks. Note home teams in CAPS below:

11-1BOSTON- 2.5Milwaukee117-113
2-21MILWAUKEE- 6Boston98-97



On Saturday, it's ...SAN ANTONIO at DENVER - 10 p.m. ET, TNT / Series tied 3-3

It's survive-and-advance time for one of these clubs in the Mile High City this evening in this Round I finale but you've gotta wonder whether the Nuggets need more than a 43-point game from C Nikola Jokic (see Game 6) to see the light in Round II. Okay, so Denver's big man was all-world in that 17-point loss in Game 6 but you know the old Hubie Brown rule and that's your top three players overall perform better at home - listening, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris? - and your bench tends to be better than the other team's bench.
The wild card for the visiting Spurs is G Derrick White - will he be feast or famine here (see 36-point game earlier in this series)?

Here's the game-by-game results this first-round playoff series between the Spurs and the Nuggets (home teams in CAPS below):

4-13San Antonio+ 6DENVER101-96
4-16DENVER- 7San Antonio114-105
4-18SAN ANTONIO- 4.5Denver118-108
4-20Denver+ 3.5SAN ANTONIO117-103
4-23DENVER- 5.5San Antonio108-90
4-25SAN ANTONIO- 3Denver120-103


On Sunday, it's ...HOUSTON at GOLDEN STATE - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC / Game 1

Each and every year there's a discussion involving teams that are forced to begin a playoff series just 48 hours after finishing off one ... but who knew that the two-time defending champ Golden State Warriors would be that team this year? Okay, so Steve Kerr's squad laid the lumber on the 10.5-point underdog Los Angeles Clippers in Friday's 129-110 win in Game 6 - a Jim Hurley winner! - as Kevin Durant popped in half-a-hundred points but if G-State wishes to "hold serve" here in Game 1 then making sure Houston's James Harden doesn't go for fifty is key and so is getting a major board game from the Dubs' Draymond Green (14 rebs on Friday night including nine of 'em in the first half).

Here's the game-by-game history this season between the Rockets and the Warriors. Note home teams in CAPS below:

11-15HOUSTON- 4.5Golden St107-86
1-3Houston+ 8.5GOLDEN ST135-134 (ot)
2-23Houston+ 12GOLDEN ST118-112
3-13Golden St+ 4HOUSTON106-104