With the Playoffs here, there are few interesting things to point out based on the first games. Sure, it is somewhat early to make predictions on how the NBA Playoffs will go, let alone the first round, but sports betting is fueled by preliminary analysis. You can make numerous future bets at USA sportsbook sites if you so choose—a testament to how popular predictive wagering is. However, before placing an official bet, there are some key points to consider.
For starters, don’t discount the Cleveland Cavaliers based on their Game 1 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Everyone loves to hate LeBron James and thinks his team is a sinking ship. While the Cavs are nowhere near the championship-winning selves, they still have the best player on the planet in their lineup. The Pacers are a fiery team with Victor Oladipo and Lance Stephenson, but they do not have the same All-Star level of talent the Cavs do. The Cavs have been making adjustments all season long and this is no different. Whether or not they can make it to the NBA Finals is another story, but don’t put all your chips in on the Pacers to be the ones to knock them out. If they came back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, they can bounce back from 1-0 in Round 1.
Keep an eye on the Oklahoma City Thunder. This team was built specifically for a championship and this is their time to shine. With Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in the lineup, OKC has more firepower at their disposal. Not to mention the mercurial talent of Russell Westbrook. Call it stat padding if you want, but Westbrook’s numbers have been incredible these past 2 seasons. The Thunder play the Utah Jazz in the first round, giving them a chance to get into that Playoff mindset before facing more serious teams. Not to take away from the Jazz, but it will be hard for them to get past this Big 3 when led by a rookie in Donovan Mitchell, regardless of how well he is playing.
Another team to keep your eye on is the Philadelphia 76ers. This team is full of youthful energy and talent. Ben Simmons has been playing well in his rookie year. They also have depth with Dario Saric, Robert Covington, JJ Redick, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. Philly is without center Joel Embiid and they still blew out the Heat 130-103 in Game 1. Embiid is expected to make a return in Game 3. If he can stay healthy, which is a problem for him, the 76ers have better odds of making a deep run in the Eastern Conference.
The one key thing about these Playoffs is that there is a strong hint of unpredictability. The Warriors are depleted, the Cavs are off to a shaky start and even the Houston Rockets look vulnerable on defense. There are many fringe teams like OKC, Philadelphia, Portland and Toronto that could pull off an upset. Basketball betting lines will be back and forth this year, seeing as there is potential for not a single sweep in the first round. The good thing is that there are tons of wagers available. This leaves multiple opportunities to make a lot of money this NBA Playoffs.