NBA Playoff Game 1 Betting Lines
NBA Playoff Game Predictions & Analysis
By Dan Favale
Cleveland Cavaliers (-10.5) vs. Detroit Pistons (+10.5)
It’s entirely possible that the Detroit Pistons steal a game or two during their first-round series with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some of those contests should even be close. But Sunday’s Game 1 marks the beginning of Playoff LeBron James. He is a different beast during the postseason, and the Pistons don’t have anything close to a LeBron stopper on the roster.
No, the Cavaliers haven’t always taken care of business against inferior squads. Thus, it’s only natural to feel some hesitation behind a 10.5 point spread. Really, it’s justified. But the gap between them and the Pistons is wider than most tend to credit. If the Big Three is even playing up to half of its offensive potential, this tilt could end up being a blowout.
Later in the series, when the Pistons have had time to make adjustments, is when you’ll want to worry about more tightly contested affairs.
The Pick: Cavaliers (-10.5)
Miami Heat (-4.5) vs. Charlotte Hornets (+4.5)
The Charlotte Hornets still project as an iffy machup for the Miami Heat. Hassan Whiteside becomes a defensive liability on switches, as well as anytime Charlotte deploys five-out lineups, and the Hornets rank as one of the most offensively and defensively balanced units in the NBA.
And you cannot read too much into the seeding differential here. Miami is in sixth place while Charlotte is in third, but these two squads ended the regular season with the same record. That renders home-court advantage all the more important.
Both the Heat and Hornets have struggled on the road this year, and Miami has the luxury of tipping things off on its own turf. Charlotte, meanwhile, has to wonder if Nicolas Batum is at full strength. He will play, but if he’s not 100 percent, the Hornets are at a severe disadvantage on both sides of the floor.
This should end up being one of the tougher series matchups to predict. All signs, however, point toward Game 1 belonging to the Heat.
The Pick: Heat (-4.5)
San Antonio Spurs (-15.5) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (+15.5)
Huge playoff spreads are terrifying. You’re supposed to be watching the 16 best teams in the NBA to start the postseason. Picking a series winner can be easy. Any one of the playoff participants, though, should be able to beat another on any given night. Hence the fear behind investing in nearly 16 point spreads.
Game 1 between the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies is different. The Grizzlies don’t belong in the playoffs. Not anymore. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen are the only healthy core players. Neither Marc Gasol nor Mike Conley will be suiting up in Game 1 or even once during the series.
There is absolutely no chance Memphis goes into San Antonio, where the Spurs have lost just once all year, and pulls off an upset. This game is going to be blowout. The only issue you need to concern yourself with is whether Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pulls his key players early, increasing the likelihood that the Grizzlies secure a backdoor cover.
Yet, even with that possibility looming large, there is only one way to bet on this game, as well as this series.
The Pick: Spurs (-15.5)
Los Angeles Clippers (-8.5) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (+8.5)
Armed with far more playoff experience and star power, the Los Angeles Clippers, at home, should have no problem steamrolling the upstart Portland Trail Blazers. It’s impressive that these Blazers grabbed the fifth-best record in the Western Conference after bidding farewell to four of five starters from last season, but they are nowhere near as talented as the Clippers on paper.
Throw in an iffy regular season road record, along with a conservative defensive approach that isn’t built to deter Los Angeles’ explosive attack, and we could be in for a blowout meeting. At the same time, the Blazers have made a name for themselves by obliterating expectations. This is a game they have no business winning—no place even competing in.
Which is exactly why we should expect them to keep things relatively close. There is a strong possibility the Clippers threaten to pull away, but the Blazers are far more balanced on both ends of the court than most realize, and they at least have players in Ed Davis, Mason Plumlee and Al-Farouq Aminu who can make life extremely difficult on offense for DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. That J.J. Redick doesn’t appear to be fully healthy is also huge.
Portland will probably still lose, make no mistake. But it should lose in style.
The Pick: Blazers (+8.5)
Category : Sports Betting NewsMore articles...