NBA betting gets flipped on its ear with the start of the playoffs this weekend. With the intensity turned up and a lot more on the line, teams are going all out this postseason. Here’s a look at the series starting up this weekend:
Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls (-11.5, 188)
The Bulls battled to the finish and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA. Whether or not that leaves them tired in the postseason remains to be seen. However, Chicago has a lot of young legs, none more active than Derrick Rose, who averaged 27 points versus Indiana this season. The Bulls went 3-1 SU and against the NBA pointspreads in those meetings.
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat (-10.5, 189.5)
The Sixers stumble into the postseason with just one win in their last six outings, going 0-6 against the spread. Philadelphia wasn’t much better against the Heat this season, losing all three games while covering in just one of those contests. Dwyane Wade was a thorn in Philly’s side, averaging almost 31 points and seven assists in those games. It doesn’t help that Andre Iguodala and Louis Williams – the Sixers’ second and fourth-leading scorers – are dinged up heading into the weekend.
Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic (-8, 179)
Oddsmakers are expecting a low-scoring affair when the Hawks come to the Magic Kingdom on Saturday. Atlanta and Orlando have played under the total in all four of their meetings this season and are tagged with the lowest number on the NBA board this weekend. Last postseason, the Magic walked all over the Hawks, sweeping them and easily covering in all four games. This year was a different story, with Atlanta going 4-0 ATS versus Orlando in the regular season.
Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks (-5, 186)
Dallas is on upset alert after falling to the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference. Not only do the Trail Blazers present a challenging matchup, but the Mavs’ history of first-round disasters has some bettors sizing up Portland. Dallas, which has been eliminated from the postseason in the opening round in three of the last four seasons, went 2-2 versus the Blazers, posting a 1-3 ATS mark in those games.
Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs (-6.5, 195)
Basketball bettors are still waiting on any word out of San Antonio regarding Manu Ginobili’s injured elbow. The feisty guard hurt himself in the final game of the season and could be a big question mark in the opening round of the playoffs. Memphis has done well despite the loss of forward Rudy Gay back in February. The Grizzlies went 2-2 SU against the Spurs with a perfect 4-0 ATS mark in those meetings.
New Orleans Hornets at Los Angeles Lakers (-10, 183)
Los Angeles is dinged up heading into the postseason, with center Andrew Bynum’s bruised knee being the most notable injury. Bynum is expected be on the floor this weekend, as are Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. The Lakers’ size has bothered the Hornets this season, sweeping New Orleans in their four meetings while going 3-1 ATS.
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics (-6.5, 198)
The Knicks have struggled with chemistry issues ever since dealing for small forward Carmelo Anthony. However, New York appears to have worked out the kinks heading into the postseason, going 7-3 SU and 6-4 ATS in their final 10 games of the season. Forward Amare Stoudemire is still nursing a tender ankle but tested his wheels in the final game of the year and should be ok to play this weekend. The Celtics won all four meetings with the Knicks this year, going 2-2 ATS.
Denver Nuggets at Oklahoma City Thunder (-5, 200.5)
The Nuggets could be kicking themselves for playing backup point guard Ty Lawson on Wednesday, as he sprained his ankle. Lawson is questionable for Sunday, leaving Raymond Felton as the only true point guard against a very aggressive OKC backcourt. The Thunder won three of four meetings with Denver this season, going 3-1 ATS as well, and were sparked by NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant, who averaged 31.5 points versus the Nuggets.