NBA Playoffs Betting: April 25

NBA Playoffs Betting: April 25

If anything can be gleaned from the opening round of the 2014 NBA playoffs, it’s this: They are nothing if not unpredictable. Until the Pacers find a legit second (and third) scorer, they are in trouble. The Spurs are clearly perplexed by the Mavericks suddenly being stiff on defense. The Thunder are on the verge of being dumped by the Grizzlies for a second straight year. Even the Heat appear to be dragging a bit. As for Friday’s action, the two teams who have looked the best, Washington and Portland, will attempt to take 3-0 leads, and the Nets return home after gaining a split in Toronto. Here’s a breakdown, including the latest point spreads.

TORONTO AT BROOKLYN -5

How did the Raptors avoid being down 0-2? A 52-30 rebounding edge in Game 2 had something to do with it. They hit only 2-16 from beyond the arc and committed 20 turnovers, so they aren’t exactly playing great basketball. Brooklyn’s lack of size is and has been their biggest weakness; unless veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett start scoring and rebounding, the Nets will be in danger of losing. Pierce and Joe Johnson also have to knock down open three-pointers. DeMar DeRozan attacked the rim with gusto in Game 2, netting 30 points and converting 12-14 free-throws. As he goes, so go the Raptors. Brooklyn was 24-17 ATS at home this season, while Toronto was 25-15-1 ATS on the road. Too many points here.

Bet Toronto +5

CHICAGO AT WASHINGTON -3

The Bulls’ signature stifling defense has been non-existent in this series. And since they can’t match the Wizards’ quickness and athleticism, they are on the brink of elimination if they don’t win tonight. Needless to say, it’s desperation time for Chicago. Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson were beasts in Game 2, and leading-scorer D.J. Augustin led the way with 25 points. Problem is, the Bulls backcourt has yet to find an answer for Washington’s duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal. As great as the Wizards have looked thus far, they are still prone to flopping in the spotlight. The road team is 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings. Chicago is 6-2 ATS in their last eight in D.C. Wiz were 16-23-2 ATS at home in the regular season. A sweep is entirely possible, but the Bulls won’t go down easy.

Bet Chicago +3

HOUSTON AT PORTLAND -3

LaMarcus Aldridge’s career season has reached new heights in this series. He is averaging 44.5 points and 13 rebounds in two games. Amazing. Terrence Jones has to be seeing Aldridge in his nightmares. Not to be outdone, Damian Lillard is playing tremendous at both ends of the floor. As for the Rockets, don’t blame Dwight Howard for their woes, because he’s been on top of his game. James Harden needs to be more aggressive to compensate for an invisible bench. In fact, he may have to drop 40 for Houston to steal a game on the road and get back in the series. The Rockets are teetering on a precarious precipice, but they are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven trips to Portland. Plus, the Blazers have been much better ATS on the road than at home. That said, Aldridge and Lillard look unstoppable right now.

Bet Portland -3