The first round starts Saturday and we’ve got some interesting match-ups in the first round. While there isn’t a ton of value in the upsets, these odds do paint an interesting picture of what the books think of the Eastern Conference teams. Let’s just say that it’s Cavs and then everyone else. Just like it’s been all season. Let’s take a quick look at each series and the odds.
Celtics -525 vs. Bulls +415
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This is a surprisingly low number for the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have yet to prove it in the playoffs and this match-up doesn’t really do them any favors. Jimmy Butler is a big time player and there isn’t really anyone on the Celtics that can match up with him. If they decide to put him on Isaiah Thomas in fourth quarters, that doesn’t really bold well for the Celts as he is one of the top defenders in the league.
Who and how Chicago plays will be the story of this series. If Dwayne Wade and Rajon Rondo are playing big minutes, they might not have the shooting or defense to keep up with the Celtics offense. If Nikola Mirotic is allowed to be the shooter he’s been over the past few weeks, the Bulls at least have a fighting chance.
Boston should win this one easily though. Marcus Smart is a big time defender and could give Butler problems, their coaching and offense is better, and Al Horford‘s game translates well to the playoffs. Rebounding will always be a problem for this team, but I don’t think the Bulls have what it takes to make them pay.
Cavaliers -1250 vs. Pacers +800
The biggest favorite in the Eastern Conference is the defending champions and why not? LeBron James is still the best player on Earth, Kevin Love is healthy, Kyle Korver, JR Smith and Channing Frye can drain threes and Kyrie Irving is still around. This team has tons of problems, but it’s nothing that the Pacers can exploit.
Playoff Paul George is a real thing and he’ll get help from Lance Stephenson, but that’s about it. I don’t like Jeff Teague to do well and the pace issues could really hurt Indiana. This should be a sweep.
Raptors -390 vs. Bucks +320
If Kyle Lowry were still hurting or even looked like he might be feeling the effects of his injury, I might be on the Bucks here, but he’s shown no signs of slowing down and the Raptors might be the scariest team in the East. Their defense can be scary with Patrick Patterson, P.J. Tucker, Serge Ibaka and DeMarre Carroll. Lowry and DeRozan can score at will. This could be the year that the Raptors don’t scare everyone in the first round.
Playoff Giannis Antetokounmpo will be exciting to watch and he along with Khris Middleton and Rookie of the Year favorite Malcolm Brogdon could steal a game or two in this series, but the Raptors will always be in control.
Wizards -220 vs. Hawks +180
This is the best bet on the board. The Washington starting five is awesome and should give the Hawks all kinds of problems. Just look at the starting five of each team and tell me one Hawk outside of Paul Milsap that you would prefer. Give me John Wall over Dennis Schroeder, Bradley Beal over Tim Hardaway Jr, Otto Porter over Kent Bazemore and Marcin Gortat over Dwight Howard. That last one is debatable, but teams seem much happier when they don’t have Howard. I could see this one being a sweep.
|#1 Boston Celtics vs. #8 Chicago Bulls|
|04/16/17||Chicago Bulls (Series)||+415|
|Boston Celtics (Series)||-525|
|#2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #7 Indiana Pacers|
|04/15/17||Indiana Pacers (Series)||+800|
|Cleveland Cavaliers (Series)||-1250|
|#3 Toronto Raptors vs. #6 Milwaukee Bucks|
|04/15/17||Milwaukee Bucks (Series)||+320|
|Toronto Raptors (Series)||-390|
|#4 Washington Wizards vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks|
|04/16/17||Atlanta Hawks (Series)||+180|
|Washington Wizards (Series)||-220|
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