NBA Playoffs Betting: April 18th

NBA Playoffs Betting: April 18th

The NBA’s second season begins on Saturday afternoon, tipping off an arduous six-week marathon to claim the 2014-15 Championship. Highlighting the first day action is the number one overall seed Golden State Warriors hosting the upstart Pelicans, one of five teams from the Southwest Division to advance to the playoffs. Also on tap are the Bucks facing Derrick Rose and the Bulls. Milwaukee finished .500 for the first time since 2009-10, but the last time they won a first-round series was in 2001. The Wizards and Raptors are back for a second consecutive year, and Dwight Howard’s Rockets will attempt to avoid another early exit by knocking off the the dangerous Mavericks. Here’s a preview and predictions for Saturday’s slate of games.

WASHINGTON AT TORONTO -4.5

There will be no shortage of dynamic guards in this series between teams with contrasting styles. The Wizards want to slow the pace and contest every possession, while the Raptors prefer a run-n-gun style with lots of shots. John Wall is the best young all-around point guard in the league, and backcourt mate Bradley Beal is a streaky scorer who battled injuries all season. Toronto’s trio of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Louis Williams will set the tone by attacking the rim and firing from long range. Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last five road games, but only 3-7 ATS in the last ten trips to Toronto. The Raptors are 7-15 ATS at home in their last 22. Look for a road cover from the Wiz.

Bet Washington +4.5

NEW ORLEANS AT GOLDEN STATE -11.5

Anthony Davis is a one-man wrecking crew who can make even elite opponents look silly. He’s a double-double machine and a true Top 10 player at just 22 years old. However, the Pelicans are overmatched everywhere else on the court by the Warriors, who boast the league’s top record at 67-15. Steph Curry is the would-be MVP, and Klay Thompson is coming off a career season that saw him top 30 points seven times. Golden State is an offensive juggernaut that went 39-2 at home. Stopping them will be a tall order for a willing but undermanned New Orleans roster. Pelicans are 2-7-1 ATS in their last ten meetings versus Golden State. Warriors are 15-2 ATS in their last 17 opening round tilts. Lot of points here, but home chalk is the play.

Bet Golden State -11.5

MILWAUKEE AT CHICAGO -8

The Bucks lost three regular season matchups with Chicago by 8, 9, and 10 points. They don’t shoot the ball particularly well, and struggle on the glass. Six players average double-digits in scoring, led by ex-Sixer point guard Michael Carter-Williams, who is wildly inconsistent from the floor and a defensive liability. The Bulls have the look of a team capable of contending, especially if Derrick Rose is healthy enough to make a significant impact. Jimmy Butler is a budding star, and Pau Gasol brings savvy leadership and a wealth of playoff experience. Trusting the young Bucks to not play nervous on the road is risky, but they were 26-14-1 ATS away from home during the regular season. Bulls have won seven straight in the United Center and are 5-1 ATS in their last six on two days rest.

Bet Chicago -8

DALLAS AT HOUSTON -5.5

The Mavs went 1-3 against the Rockets, losing both road games by a combined eight points. Mid-season pickup Rajon Rondo has yet to provide the punch the front office was hoping for when they dealt a first-round pick and three players to acquire his services. His lack of scoring ability has hampered Dallas’s free flowing attack. That said, he and Tyson Chandler have improved the overall defense, although not being able to score as effectively will be problematic versus a Houston team that can fill it up from inside and outside. Unless Rondo checks James Harden, the Mavericks have nobody who can defend him. Dallas is 3-9 ATS in its last dozen road outings. Houston is a solid 26-15 ATS on its court.

Bet Houston -5.5