NBA Playoff Update
I Went 2-0 Again Sunday In NBA Playoffs With Winning Wagers On Both Underdogs, Am 7-1 The Past Five Days And Intend To Go 2-0 Again
There are two unavoidable questions one must answer in handicapping both of tonight’s NBA playoff games. Are the #3-seeded Philadelphia 76ers (4-2 in the playoffs) doomed in their Eastern Conference showdown with #2-seeded Toronto (5-1) if they can’t figure out a way to stop Raptors superstar forward Kawhi Leonard? And will the #2-seeded Denver Nuggets (4-3) have enough gas left in their tank to handle well-rested #3 Portland (4-1) 48 hours after it was pushed to the limit to beat San Antonio, 90-86, Saturday night to move on to the Western Conference semifinals round?
In game one of the 76ers-Raptors series Leonard single-handedly buried Philadelphia, 108-95, with 45 points and 11 rebounds. Leonard, a future Hall o Fame member, ran over, through and around every player the 76ers used to stop him. None could.
It is of note, Philadelphia has not won a single game in Toronto, dating back to November 10, 2012. Leonard has played 14 lifetime games against the 76ers and his team is 14-0 in those games.
Denver was physically drained when it had to pull out all the stops at home Saturday night to win, 90-86, while Portland, which has not played since last Monday, April 23. Do fresh legs trump the home court edge?
I believe I have the winners of both games, just as I had the past two days (see record below).
I am releasing both games, one at 25 units, and the other game at 15 units, and you can win both for just $20, charged to your major credit card or to Pay Pal. Better yet, sign up for the entire NBA playoff package for just $150 and play every game day through the championship round in June. Plus FREE Baseball Best Bets
NBA Playoffs 7-1 Last Five Days
4/28…25 Units…Celtics (+7.5) 112, Bucks 90 (Won)
4/28…10 Units…Rockets (+6.5) 100, Warriors 104 (won)
4/27…25 Units…Raptors (-6.5) 108, 76ers 95 (Won)
4/27…15 Units…Spurs (+6) 86, Nuggets 90 (Won)
4/26…15 Units…Clippers (+10) 110, Warriors 129 (Lost)
4/25…15 Units…Spurs (-2.5) 120, Nuggets 102 (Won)
4/24…15 Units…Jazz (+8.5) 93, Rockets 100 (Won)
4/24…15 Units…Clippers (+14.5) 129, Warriors 121 (Won)
You had better believe this is a different type of NBA Playoffs than any we've seen the past decade or so:
After all, LeBron James is nowhere to be found after he marched his way to eight consecutive NBA Finals as a member of the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers - that's four NBA Finals appearances with each team and three total titles for The King - and so these days it's a mad scramble to win the Eastern Conference while it could well be a case of "status quo" in the NBA's Western Conference ... especially if the two-time defending champion/three-times-in-four-years champion Golden State Warriors are gonna be getting those favorable whistles from the zebras.
Wow, are we zoomed in on how the refs are gonna call Tuesday night's Game 2 between the Houston Rockets and the aforementioned Warriors after all the shenanigans in Sunday's wild/wacky 104-100 non-cover win by G-State!
We'll get to our Monday / Tuesday game previews in a few moments time, but first let's tie up some loose ends from Round I that finally finished up this pastSaturday night in Denver:
Obviously, we're off-and-runnin' now with the second round (a/k/a conference semifinals) here after the higher seeds all survived and advanced from Round I but there was one priced underdog that cashed as the West's third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers (+150) bested Oklahoma City. Otherwise, Philadelphia (-630), Toronto (-1160), Golden State (-20,000), Denver (-275), Boston (-480), Milwaukee (-5000) and Houston (-320) all bagged first-round series wins as betting favorites.
Tonight, it's ...PHILADELPHIA at TORONTO - 8 p.m. ET, TNT / Raptors lead series 1-0
Count us among the folks that wondered aloud why the Toronto Raptors entered this best-of-seven playoff series as heavy-duty - 310 betting favorites (and that was up from an opening price tag of - 225) ... guess we don't have to wonder anymore! Between mega-star Kawhi Leonard's career-high 45 points - he canned 16-of-22 field-goal attempts, for goodness sakes! - and the fact the Raptors once made 13 consecutive shots in the first half of Game 1 and ran off a 10-0 scoring spree in the second half, 'ya gotta say "mission accomplished" for first-year head coach Nick Nurse's squad. If you're the Sixers, then take comfort in the fact Philly's not lost back-to-back spread results in its last 10 games and C Joel Embiid has to shoot it better than 5-of-18 from the floor here, right?
On Tuesday, it's ... BOSTON at MILWAUKEE - 8 p.m. ET, TNT / Celtics lead series 1-0
Forget a sense of urgency here in Game 2 for the East's top-seeded Bucks ... this is downright desperation time already! Milwaukee - which banged out a 51-32-3 ATS (against the spread) mark while entering Sunday's series opener against the Celtics - was scalped in broad daylight in that humbling/bumbling 112-90 home loss in Game 1 and it wasn't all the fault of MVP frontrunner Giannis Antetokounmpo (see 22 points on 7-of-21 FG shooting) as the fact is the Bucks shot a woeful 31-of-89 from the field and missed 26-of-39 triples.
Hey, maybe the up-and-down season for the Celtics is in the proverbial rear-view mirror 'cause this Boston bunch is now 4-0-1 spreadwise in this post-season and PG Kyrie Irving (26 points / 11 assists in Game 1) is playing a whole lot better than "Uncle Drew" ever did!
Tonight, it's ...PORTLAND at DENVER - approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Game 1
The smarty pants in Las Vegas have the West's second-seeded Nuggets as modest - 145 betting favorites here to cop this best-of-seven set but ask yourself this question: Is Denver really gonna be able to produce an "A" game here in Game 1 after playing seven exhausting playoff tilts against the San Antonio Spurs in Round I? No doubt that Mike Malone's club has been toughened up by capturing Game 7 against the Spurs the other night but getting handle on Portland's exquisite backcourt combo of Damian Lillard (averaged 33 ppg in that five-game series win against Okie City) and CJ McCollum (he's averaging 24.4 ppg this post-season) will be a tall task but the flip side says Denver C Nikola Jokic (averaging 23.1 ppg / 12.1 rpg / 9.1 apg versus San Ant) is playing the best ball of his career and there may not be enough healthy bodies on Portland's side to handle him here.A couple of spread stats here: Portland's 48-39 versus the numbers overall this season; Denver's 45-44 versus the vig.
Here's the game-by-game history this season between the Trail Blazers and the Nuggets. Note home teams are in CAPS below:
On Tuesday:. HOUSTON at GOLDEN STATE - approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Warriors lead series 1-0
Where does one begin? The Golden State Warriors "held serve" with that controversial Game 1 non-cover win 104-100 but all the talk following that matinee tilt revolved around whistles that didn't exactly go Houston's way whether you're talking Warriors' players jumping into James Harden's "landing space" or possibly/likely fouling Chris Paul on a made triple late in the third quarter that instead befitted G-State after a pair of technical fouls were called on the Rockets. In any event, you could say Game 1 was one that "got away" from a Rockets team that canned just 14-of-47 triples - sounds a lot like Game 7 in last year's Western Conference Finals, doesn't it? - and now here's Harden and Paul (they made just 14 FG between 'em) having to regain their composure and hope Dubs' star Kevin Durant (just 11-of-25 FGs in Game 1 but for 35 points) doesn't bust 'em with one of those half-a-hundred point performances. Word to the wise here: The Rockets have to put the referees' shoddy showing in Game 1 behind 'em ... or else this could get ugly in a hurry!