Published on Saturday, April 30th
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Final Season Standings with Updated Futures Market (odds from Barstool Sportsbook)
|Playoff Seed||Team||Record||Percent||To Win Conference||To Win NBA|
|West #3||Golden State Warriors||53-29||.646||+140||+300|
|West #1||Phoenix Suns||64-18||.780||+150||+325|
|East #2||Boston Celtics||51-31||.622||+150||+400|
|East #1||Miami Heat||53-29||.646||+190||+700|
|East #3||Milwaukee Bucks||51-31||.622||+375||+750|
|West #2||Memphis Grizzlies||56-26||.683||+475||+1000|
|East #4||Philadelphia 76ers||51-31||.622||+475||+1200|
|West #4||Dallas Mavericks||52-30||.634||+600||+1800|
Eastern Conference Round 2: Series Previews & Predictions
#1 Miami Heat vs. #4 Philadelphia 76ers
Series Spread & Odds: Heat -125 (+115), 76ers +2.5 (-140)
Key Injuries: Joel Embiid (PHI) was already dealing with a torn ligament in his right hand, and now it’s an orbital fracture that threatens his availability in this series.
Series Outlook: After jumping out to a 3-0 lead against the Raptors, the 76ers stumbled a bit but ultimately wrapped up the series in 6 games to face the top-seeded Heat. Embiid has been gutting it out through a torn ligament in his shooting hand suffered in Game 3, but it looks to be more of a pain tolerance issue as he scored 33 points with a double-double in a decisive closeout victory on Thursday. The Heat purely outmuscled an undermanned and undersized Hawks team, imposing their will with a physical style of play that completely disrupted Trae Young. Miami’s defensive toughness and physicality limited Young to just 15 PPG in the short series, which is roughly half of his regular season scoring average (28.4 PPG). It will be a much different challenge for the Heat in Round 2 facing Embiid and company, and this series should be an absolute slugfest. I expect these teams to go punch for punch, but the availability of Embiid will obviously be am enormous factor here.
|Series Value Picks|
|Series Winner||PHI (+300)|
|Spread – Series Outcome||PHI +2.5 (-140)|
|Game 1 / Series Double||MIA / PHI (+750)|
|Total Games Played in Series||Over 5.5 (-114)|
|Series Correct Score||PHI 4-3 (+1100)|
|Series Prediction – Doc||PHI in 7|
|Series Prediction – Chuck||MIA in 6|
|Series Prediction – Jolo||MIA in 6|
#2 Boston Celtics vs. #3 Milwaukee Bucks
Series Spread & Odds: Celtics -1.5 (+104), Bucks +1.5 (-136)
Key Injuries: Khris Middleton (MIL) will miss the series with a Grade 2 MCL sprain suffered in Round 1. Jaylen Brown (BOS) tweaked his his right hamstring in the Round 1 finale, and although he is scheduled to play Game 1, it is something to monitor moving forward.
Series Outlook: Team personnel decisions made on April 10th are now looming large entering Round 2, as the Celtics played all their starters in regular season game #82, while the Bucks tanked in the finale to avoid playing the Nets. This allowed Boston to finish in the 2-seed and hold the home court advantage in this series over the defending-champion Bucks, which could have a major impact on this series. Another key storyline for Milwaukee is the loss of Middleton, who averaged over 20 PPG as a reliable sidekick to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who will surely be missed against the elite defense of the Celtics. Jayson Tatum is playing MVP-caliber basketball with a team-first mindset and the unselfish ball movement has been a delight to watch. Boston is on a mission and has too much momentum to be denied by the Bucks in Round 2.
|Series Value Picks|
|Series Winner||BOS (-200)|
|Spread – Series Outcome||BOS -1.5 (+104)|
|Game 1 / Series Double||BOS / BOS (-125)|
|Series Correct Score||BOS 4-1 (+350)|
|Series Prediction – Doc||BOS in 5|
|Series Prediction – Chuck||BOS in 7|
|Series Prediction – Jolo||BOS in 7|
Western Conference Round 2: Series Previews & Predictions
#1 Phoenix Suns vs. #4 Dallas Mavericks
Series Spread & Odds: Suns -1.5 (-143), Mavericks +1.5 (+110)
Key Injuries: Devin Booker (PHO) was expected to be out longer with a hamstring injury, but returned in Game 6 of Round 1 and played 32 minutes. He looks good to go for this upcoming series with the Mavericks.
Series Outlook: I assumed Devin Booker wouldn’t be available for this series but he miraculously returned last game and undoubtedly passed the eye test. Chris Paul had a statement performance in Game 6, with 33 points on 14-14 shooting with 8 dimes and looks as hungry as ever on his quest for a first title. The return of Luka Doncic has rallied the Mavericks past the Jazz, averaging 29 PPG in the 3 games since returning from a calf injiury suffered in the regular season finale. The Mavericks battled adversity persevering through missing Doncic early on, and sent the Jazz packing because of their physical style on then defensive end. But the Jazz and the Suns are entirely different animals here, and Phoenix will be extra inspired by the surprising return of their top scorer. Despite the odds that favor the Warriors coming out of the West, I think the real value remains on the Suns and Grizzlies.
|Series Value Picks|
|Spread – Series Outcome||PHO -1.5 (-143)|
|Game 1 / Series Double||PHO / PHO (-160)|
|Total Games Played in Series||Under 5.5 (+120)|
|Series Correct Score||PHO 4-1 (+250)|
|Series Prediction – Doc||PHO in 5|
|Series Prediction – Chuck||PHO in 7|
|Series Prediction – Jolo||DAL in 7|
#2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. #3 Golden State Warriors
Series Spread & Odds: Warriors -1.5 (-150), Grizzlies +1.5 (+115)
Series Outlook: The Splash Brother tandem of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson has welcomed a sibling to the mix, as Jordan Poole has elevated his game to another level establishing himself as a reliable scorer for the Warriors. Curry just returned from a month-long hiatus and immediately regained his Hall-of-Fame form, averaging 31 points over his past 4 games. Despite being in the 3-seed, the Warriors are the heaviest favorite to win an NBA Title at +300. But the young, unaccomplished Grizzles remain undervalued and under-appreciated against a veteran team flaunting rings. The Timberwolves gave the Grizzlies a teachable punch in the mouth last series and I think Memphis emerges as a more confident team after battling through that turbulence. Ja Morant struggled and was tested by Minnesota in Round 1, and I think the budding superstar emerges victorious playing with a chip on his shoulder in this series.
|Series Value Picks|
|Series Winner||MEM (+200)|
|Spread – Series Outcome||MEM +1.5 (+115)|
|Game 1 / Series Double||GS / MEM (+750)|
|Total Games Played in Series||Over 5.5 (-145)|
|Series Correct Score||MEM 4-3 (+550)|
|Series Prediction- Doc||MEM in 7|
|Series Prediction – Chuck||GS in 6|
|Series Prediction – Jolo||GS in 6|
BONUS PICKS – NBA FINALS MVP 2022
Jayson Tatum +440
Chris Paul +1000