Expect Surprises in NBA Playoffs Second Round
The second round of the NBA Playoffs are ready to start, and the favorites might have a tougher time than they did in the first round.
The NBA Playoffs are heading for the second round. So far, three teams have shown they were better than their opponents: the Golden State Warriors, the Miami Heat, and the Milwaukee Bucks. Each team had at least a 3-1 lead Tuesday. The Boston Celtics were the first team to advance after sweeping the Brooklyn Nets.
Four teams are heading toward the semi-final round, all with major question marks. If these teams advance to the next round, they could be hampered by injuries to key players.
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Suns Affected by Booker Injury
Devin Booker is out for the Phoenix Suns after suffering a hamstring injury in Game 2 in a loss to the New Orleans Pelicans after Booker scored 31 points in the first half. The Suns’ record in the regular season without Booker is 8-6. Khris Middleton suffered a strain MCL in Game 2 in a loss to the Chicago Bulls. The Bucks’ record without Middleton is 7-9. Kyle Lowry is listed as day-to-day for the Miami Heat with a hamstring injury. The Heat’s record without Lowry is 12-7. Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers has a torn ligament in his right hand. He’s attempting to play through this injury. The Sixers are 6-8 without the big man.
There will be a drop in point production because of these injuries. The Suns average 114.8 during the regular season, but average 103.3 without Booker. The Bucks’ average 115.5 during the regular season, but average 103.8 without Middleton. Playoffs totals are usually lower than the regular season, so look at these teams to go under their normal totals when you factor in the injuries.
Look for an adjustment on their odds to win the NBA Championship. They will drop slightly if these players miss considerable time. A wager in the future bet market will have some volatility based on the second-round opponent. The Warriors would move into the top position from a betting standpoint in the West. The Heat would be the favorite to win in the Eastern Conference. At the start of the playoffs, the Suns and the Bucks held those positions.
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Futures Market Provides Value
When betting the futures market, look for wagers that allow you to pick the number of games played. An example of this would be over or under 5.5 games for a series.
Another bet to consider is the exact number of games your favorite team will win the series in. The odds for doing this are usually a better price than laying a favorite to win the series outright. For example, you might pick the Sixers to beat the Toronto Raptors in six games. The price of +475 for a $100 bet while picking the Sixers to win the series would require a lay of -190 to win $100.
The conference semifinal games match ups should pit the Heat against the Sixers and the Bucks going against the Celtics. The Celtics and the Heat will have home-court advantage. Moneyline for the Heat to win the series should be in the range of -230, with the Sixers getting a price of +200. The Celtics moneyline should be approximately -200 and the Bucks +175.
The Suns’ semifinal matchup would be against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Suns’ moneyline would be -210 and the Utah Jazz +180. If the Mavericks were to defeat Utah. they would get an appealing price of +175, and the Suns would drop to -200. The Warriors would get a -250 over the Timberwolves and a -230 over the Grizzlies. Grizzlies would get a pleasing price of +170. The Minnesota Timberwolves’ series price would be approximately +200.
Based on these hypothetical projections and the anticipation that the top seeds maintain their positions, the Suns, Warriors, and Celtics should prevail. The Sixers will be my upset special for the semifinal round. Next week, I’ll make selections on Game 3 of each of these series with a side, total, and a prop bet. Stay tuned…
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