With each NBA team having played at least one playoff game, the first round is well on its way. And for sports fans that like to bet, there are many choices of teams to bet on and what types of bets to make.
So far, there has been only one real upset as the Minnesota Timberwolves (7) beat the Memphis Grizzlies (2) in their opening game of the series. More upsets will be coming soon as playoffs are always unpredictable, just as we saw with the March Madness final games.
Some stats that may help you in placing your bets in the first round:
- 74% of No. 1 seeds win the first round
- The top seed only covers ATS about 52% of the time
- The No. 2 seeds also win the first round 74% of the time
- But, over the last 16 years, the No. 2 seeds have covered ATS 62% of the time
An extremely profitable bet to make has to do with teams that started the playoff series with home-court advantage. When those teams lost their first two home games (0-2), they usually covered their ATS of the first half. The record over the last ten years is 32-19-1 ATS.
Miami Heat (1) vs. Atlanta Hawks (8)
The Hawks are heavy underdogs in this matchup. Their hopes seem to sit on the shoulders of Trae Young, who was heavily covered and could only score eight points in the first game. They’ll have a tough time even winning one game in this series.
Boston Celtics (2) vs. Brooklyn Nets (7)
The Nets might have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but the Celtics have the best defense in the league. If that defense can slow down the dynamic duo even slightly, they should be able to take this series without a problem.
Milwaukee Bucks (3) vs. Chicago Bulls (6)
The Bucks have beaten the Bulls in 16 of their last 17 games. It’s difficult to come up with a reason to bet on the Bulls to win the next game. In their four games this season, the Bucks have won by an average of 14.7 points. Betting on the spread might be a good place to start.
Philadelphia 76ers (4) vs. Toronto Raptors (5)
The 76ers decidedly beat the Raptors in the first two games of the series, which is a surprise considering their playoff experience from their players and coach. They have a slight advantage going into Toronto as Philadelphia will be without Matisse Thybulle because of the vaccine mandate.
Phoenix Suns (1) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (8)
The Suns have dominated the league all season, and they are expected to do the same in the playoffs. No one is giving the Pelicans much of a chance to get past this first round. In fact, they might not even win one game.
Memphis Grizzlies (2) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (7)
Memphis may have lost their first game but don’t count them out too quickly. The Grizzlies are considered to have the deepest team in the league, as shown by their 20-5 record without Ja Morant this season. And backup point guard Tyus Jones recorded the best single-season assist/turnover ratio (7.04) in NBA history.
The Timberwolves might have had to get here through the Play-In tournament, but they have similar talent and playoff experience as the Grizzlies.
Even though they are not closely seeded, some experts are predicting a close series that might even go seven games.
Golden State Warriors (3) vs. Denver Nuggets (6)
With Steven Curry in the lineup, the Warriors came out to play. They have outgunned the Nuggets in the first two games of the series. The big and talented Nikola Jokic is a force within the Nuggets roster but doesn’t have enough support to take on the Warriors.
Dallas Mavericks (4) vs. Utah Jazz (5)
Although the Mavericks and Jazz are closely seeded, they seem to be going in opposite directions. Dallas started the season slow with a 17-18 record to end 2021 but has turned things around to end with a 52-30 season. Utah has struggled this season, blowing several double-digit leads.
The Mavericks have an excellent home record of 29-12, while the Jazz are only 20-21.
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