It has been a tremendous season in the NBA and Round 1 of the playoffs are upon us.
The best 16 teams from the east and west have made it through to the playoff rounds and there has been a shift in the NBA Championship markets.
Golden State were odds on throughout the year but Houston and a host of other teams have made headway.
It promises to be another great playoff series and we have tips and predictions for each Round 1 playoff series which starts this Sunday. (BET NOW)
Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs playoff tips
The Spurs continued their run of 21 consecutive playoff appearances but it was by the skin of their teeth.
Coach Greg Popovic had one of his most challenging seasons to date and the loss of Kawhi Leonard played a big part in that.
Injuries have also played a part in the Warriors season to date, losing the likes of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson at stages throughout the season.
Steph Curry will not play in this series against the Spurs and that’s going to hurt them, but they should still dispatch the Spurs, who will need to rely on Australian Patty Mills to get hot from the outside to have any chance of staying in this series.
The Spurs are more than capable of causing the upset but over the course of a seven-game series, it seems unlikely that they’ll win four of seven games.
Bookmakers have the Warriors at $1.08 but the better money is with Warriors –2.5 at $1.88.
Series tip: Warriors –2.5 ($1.96) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)
Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards playoff tips
The Raptors topped the eastern conference and the play of Demar DeRozen and Kyle Lowry has been exceptional.
The lack of winning experience come playoff time could be seen as a negative for the Raptors, but they seemingly have a different feel about them this year and they could make it out of the eastern conference to play in the NBA finals.
Standing in their way are the dangerous Wizards, which welcomed back all-star John Wall last week.
With Wall and Bradley Beal playing together, the Wizards are a much better unit and the supporting cast are all capable of putting up big numbers.
This won’t be a walk in the park for Toronto but they should ultimately get the series win and progress to the next round.
Series tip: Raptors 4-2 ($4.90) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers playoff tips
This will be one of the closest series to predict regardless of what the bookmakers are suggesting.
Philadelphia is currently the $1.21 favourite to win this series and they’re riding a lengthy winning streak coming into the playoffs, but let’s not forget how little playoff experience this team has.
This Miami team has plenty of ability and power to get past any team in the east and they shouldn’t be underestimated.
That being said, the 76ers have looked impressive towards the end of the regular season and the process is most definitely working.
We’re hoping Australian Ben Simmons can continue to impress in the NBA but we can’t turn away the obvious value on offer with the Heat.
Series tip: Heat to win ($4.60) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Portland Trail Blazers playoff tips
The Pelicans have gone about their business this season without getting much primetime action.
Portland has been a good story this season but we know how they perform in the playoffs and that’s the big worry coming into this series.
Can Portland put the demons of the playoffs in the past and get past the Pelicans in the first round?
Anthony Davis is a bona fide superstar and he’s always going to put up big numbers against any team he plays. Davis will need to play well if the Pelicans want to progress but we think he will.
We’re not underestimating the Trail Blazers and they should play well at home with Damian Lillard and C.J. McColloum in the team, but they’re too short in the market.
Series tip: Pelicans to win ($2.88) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics playoff tips
We feel sorry for the Boston Celtics, who have lost both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving for the season.
With those two players healthy, or even just Irving, we believe the Celtics would have been going to the NBA finals, but without them it could be a struggle.
They have managed to play well throughout the season with Al Horford leading the way and that’s a credit to coach Brad Stevens.
They play the Bucks in the first round and The Greek Freek is always tough to play against, but the Celtics are the much better side and punters are getting good value.
Apart from Giannis, the Bucks have a poor team and they are horribly coached.
Look for Boston to play to their strengths and score a tight playoff win.
Series tip: Celtics to win ($1.61) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)
Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers series tips
Credit the Pacers for getting into the playoffs after losing Paul George to the Thunder, but it’s unlikely they’ll advance over the Cavaliers.
LeBron is playing good offensive basketball at the moment and although he only plays one side of the ball, it’s all the Cavs should need to get past the Pacers.
The Cavaliers defence is truly woeful but coach Tyron Lue believes they will be better in the playoffs and we have to believe them.
The Pacers can find it tough to put up big numbers and a slow-paced game is only going to help the Cavaliers in this situation.
We’re not confident that the Cavs can sweep the Pacers so take the short odds on offer to boost multi-bet payouts.
Series tip: Cavaliers to win ($1.17) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)
Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder series tips
The Jazz have done amazingly well to make it into the playoffs without their superstar from last season.
They enter the playoffs with more momentum than the Thunder, which haven’t gelled well throughout the season after acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.
Russell Westbrook again averaged a triple-double for the season consecutive season and we take our hat off to him, but it takes a team to win in the playoffs and the Thunder are not playing as well.
They play as five individuals and that’s simply not going to get it done in the NBA.
Utah are still an underrated side but they are now healthy and ready to show why they’re a team to be reckoned with in the western conference.
Series tip: Jazz to win ($2.24) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets series tips
This could be the shortest series of the playoffs.
The Timberwolves needed to win their final game over Denver in overtime to make the playoffs and their reward is to play the Houston Rockets and James Harden.
Harden has been MVP material all season long and his Houston team has very few weaknesses.
Defence would be their biggest weakness but they score in three’s and that makes it tough for opposing teams to keep up.
Most punters are predicting a 4-0 score line here and despite Jimmy Butler coming back for the Wolves, this series shouldn’t go past five games.
Series tip: Rockets –2.5 ($1.51) @ Sportsbet.com.au (BET NOW)