First Day Capsules… NBA Playoffs

Posted: April 28, 2012 in General, NBA
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No. 1 CHICAGO BULLS (50-16 SU, 38-27-1 ATS) vs. No. 8 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (35-31 SU, 33-32-1 ATS)

Season series: Bulls, 2-1 SU and ATS. Chicago won the last two meetings after the Sixers opened the season-series with a 98-82 win on Feb. 1. Chicago went into Philly and won 96-91 in the second meeting, and ended up winning the final meeting at the United Center, 89-80. The lines in those games were never bigger than Chicago -4, and yet Game 1 has the Bulls laying more than double that.

Bottom line: As much as respect as I have for Philadelphia coach Doug Collins, I know how revved up the Bulls are after falling to Miami last year in the Eastern Conference Finals. Chicago is the East’s No. 1 seed once again and could be motivated for this series after hearing Philadelphia guard Evan Turner say he’d rather face the Bulls instead of the Heat, believing it was a better matchup for the Sixers.

Chicago Betting Trends: The Bulls come in having covered four straight as the favorite, 5-1 at home, 4-1 against winning teams and 12-5 against the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia Betting Trends: The Sixers are on winning betting streaks of 4-1 on the road and against Eastern Conference-foes, 7-3 when catching points in the postseason, but are also on losing slides of 4-9 when visiting teams that win at home and 7-21 against winning teams overall.

Series Trends: The straight-up winner in this series has covered the game in nine straight meetings, with the home team being victorious in nine of those games.

Prediction: Bulls in 5.


No. 2 MIAMI HEAT (46-20 SU, 32-34 ATS) vs. No. 7 NEW YORK KNICKS (36-30 SU, 36-30 ATS)

Season series: Heat, 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS. Miami scored a pair of double-digit wins at home earlier this year, and finished up the season set with an eight-point win thanks to a fourth-quarter surge to beat the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, 93-85 on April 15. Make note that Carmelo Anthony put in 42 points in that final game. In the regular season series, Dwyane Wade averaged 26 points on 52.5 percent shooting for the Heat, while LeBron James added 26.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists.

Bottom line: Most of these players were in junior high, if not elementary school, when these two franchises ignited their playoff rivalry in the late 1990s. New York beat Miami three times in four years from 1997-00, and there was the notorious brawl that found then-coach Jeff Van Gundy hugging Miami’s Alonzo Mourning’s leg to keep him away from New York’s Charles Oakley. The Heat are the better team, sure. But the Knicks have the chip on their shoulders.

Miami Betting Trends: The Heat are on winning runs of 4-1 at home, 7-2 when laying points in the postseason and 9-1 Over when laying points in the Playoffs.

New York Betting Trends: The Knicks roll into this series have covered four of five against the Southeast Division, 4-1 as a playoff pup and 10-4 against winning teams.

Series Trends: The road team has covered seven of the last nine meetings, while the straight-up winner has covered eight of the last 10 meetings.

Prediction: Heat in 7.


No. 3 INDIANA PACERS (42-24 SU, 32-34 ATS) vs. No. 6 ORLANDO MAGIC (37-29 SU, 34-32 ATS)

Season series: Magic, 3-1 SU and ATS. Key thing to note in this series this season is the road team won and covered three of the four meetings. Orlando won twice in Indiana, limiting the Pacers to 82 points per game in those particular games. It’s also important to note, the Magic had Dwight Howard all four games. Now he’s looking for back surgeons and the Pacers are looking to get this series over with quickly.

Bottom line: For as long as it looked like Orlando and Howard would iron out their differences, it also looked like the Magic would be the No. 3 seed in the East. Instead, the Pacers surged late to nab the No. 3 seed ahead of the Boston Celtics, and now appear to be in a favorable matchup against the downtrodden Magic.

Indiana Betting Trends: The Pacers closed out the campaign mired in a 5-12 slide after losing a game and 1-4 after failing to cover. They also are 1-10 against the number when laying points in the postseason.

Orlando Betting Trends: The Magic are on an 11-2 run against teams out of the Central Division, but are also mired in ATS slides of 2-8 after a straight-up loss and 1-5 in the first round of the playoffs.

Series Trends: Orlando has been the bread winner in this series, covering five of six overall and four of its last five in Indiana. Make note the straight-up winner has covered six in a row in this series.

Prediction: Pacers in 4.


No. 2 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (47-19 SU, 35-31 ATS) vs. No. 7 DALLAS MAVERICKS (36-30 SU, 32-34 ATS)

Season series: Thunder, 3-1 SU and 1-3 ATS. This was an intriguing series no doubt, as they split a pair of meetings over the first 10 days of the season before Oklahoma City began taking over and making a statement throughout the league. The Thunder won the last two games, as Kevin Durant averaged 25.5 points and Russell Westbrook added 22.8 for the Thunder. Dirk Nowitzki averaged 22.5 points to lead the Mavericks, but that was 10 points per game fewer than he averaged in last year’s playoff series the Mavs won to get into the NBA Finals.

Bottom line: As hard as it may be at times, I think the Thunder will have an easy time putting away the defending champs in this rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals, which was won by Dallas in five games. Does that make sense? The Mavericks are going to be tough during games, but if the Thunder stick to their gameplan this season, and play their game, they’ll run away from the Mavs. I know plenty of people are jaded by the Thunder’s less-than impressive finish to the regular season, but how impressive were the Mavericks this season, if at all?

Oklahoma City Betting Trends: The Thunder arrive in the postseason on winning runs of 9-2 when playing on two days rest – which is a big trend in the postseason – plus, are 18-8 after an ATS setback. Careful though, they’re 2-5 against the West and an abysmal 0-8 against Southwest teams.

Dallas Betting Trends: The Mavs are in on ATS winning streaks of 9-1 as an underdog, 6-2 after a straight-up loss, 6-0 in the first round of the playoffs, but are also mired in a 1-4 slide as the road pup.

Series Trends: The road team in on a 7-1 spread streak, and 26-8 dating back to when the OKC franchise was in Seattle. The home team has won four of five straight-up, while the straight-up winner is on a 7-3 ATS run.

Prediction: Thunder in 5.


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