- The second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs begins Saturday, April 27
- Both matchups in the East are set, while the Blazers await the winner of the Spurs-Nuggets Game 7
- See the series prices for each second round matchup here
The second round of the NBA playoffs gets underway on Saturday. Now that the series prices have been posted, let’s take a quick look at the three series that are set and see who is a good bet and which teams are best to avoid.
Eastern Conference Second Round Series Prices
|Philadelphia 76ers||+245||Toronto Raptors||-290|
|Boston Celtics||+250||Milwaukee Bucks||-300|
All odds taken April 27.
Have The Celtics Figured It Out?
The Celtics entered the 2018-19 season as the favorite to win the Eastern Conference. After all, they came so close to doing it last year without the help of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
It would only make sense that they would reach new heights with their full roster intact. However, reality was quite different.
Giannis went MJ on the double pump and Drummond was baffled ? pic.twitter.com/QvSILlpaKU
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 23, 2019
For as many issues as the Celtics had in the regular season, they weren’t evident in the first round, when they swept the Indiana Pacers.
Their defense looked great and they seemed to get enough done on offense. The question is whether they figured out how to make it all work or whether they merely took advantage of a shorthanded opponent.
The Pacers were without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo, which really took a bite out of their offense. As a result, they ended up scoring less than 100 points in three of the four games. Was it the Celtics that slowed them down or was it the Pacers own doing? That’s what we’ll find out.
Bucks Might Be The Team To Beat…In The NBA
A lot of people continue to be skeptical of the Milwaukee Bucks but it’s time to put that to rest. This is the best team in the Eastern Conference and given the Golden State Warriors struggles, the Bucks might be the team to beat in the entire NBA.
Of course, Golden State will be the favorite as long as they’re around, but what Milwaukee is doing is impressive.
Giannis just destroyed Thon ? pic.twitter.com/TcxgrhYwy8
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 18, 2019
At the end of the day, basketball is mostly about shooting threes and playing defense, and there are few teams that do this better than Milwaukee.
This team led the NBA in opponent field goal percentage and that’s carried over into the playoffs. As for threes, only the Houston Rockets hit more threes per game.
Milwaukee won the most games in the NBA this season and won 45 by double digits. Only seven other teams in NBA history have done that and each has gone on to win the title.
I really don’t see Milwaukee struggling with this Celtics team. We might have some close games but Milwaukee should win in about five games.
Raptors Have The Edge On The 76ers
This will be a very entertaining series. Both teams have a claim to the throne in the Eastern Conference but both will have to play their absolute best basketball the rest of the way to compete.
I’m giving the edge in this series to the Toronto Raptors for four reasons: to start, they have the team chemistry that the 76ers lack. There are some times when you watch Philadelphia and wonder if they are a team of four disjointed stars. Even Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid sometimes look like the best center-point guard duo, while other times they look dysfunctional.
Secondly, add in that the 76ers aren’t fully healthy. Joel Embiid is toughing it out through a bad knee and while he’s looked fine, the wear and tear could catch up to him in this series. If he’s limited in any way, the Raptors will have a huge edge.
Lowry Half Court Ally-Oop to Siakam pic.twitter.com/NQ6uuNIVlo
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA) April 20, 2019
Thirdly, I like the Raptors depth right now. The 76ers seem to fade once they start going to their bench but Toronto can legitimately get production from nine or 10 players. That will be a factor in this series when the second units get going.
Lastly, the Raptors have home-court advantage. They were 32-9 at home this season and 26-15 on the road. Philadelphia was 31-10 at home and just 20-21 on the road. Advantage: Toronto. I see them getting this done in a long six or seven-game series.
Western Conference Second Round Series Prices
|Portland Trail Blazers||+120||Denver Nuggets/San Antonio Spurs||-140|
|Houston Rockets||+215||Golden State Warriors||-255|
Warriors Will Find A Way Through The Rockets
Everyone is down on the Warriors right now after they needed six games to get past the Los Angeles Clippers, but I wouldn’t bet against them. Right now, I’d just pass on this series until I see some of the in-game action.
We know that Golden State will be hard to stop if they’re focused and flexing their muscle. We saw just as much in the most meaningful matchup between the teams this season on March 13th. The surging Rockets lost at home to the slumping Warriors, which could be a preview of things to come.
☔️ #NBAPlayoffs career-high for points in a half
☔️ Tied for 2nd most points in a half in postseason history
Kevin Durant erupts for 38 1st half PTS on 12-17 shooting! #StrengthInNumbers
— NBA (@NBA) April 27, 2019
The challenge for Houston here is that their defense isn’t what it was last year. They got better as the season went along but Houston finished sixth in points allowed last season (103.9) and dropped to 10th this season (109.1). A lot of their other peripheral numbers fell too.
Meanwhile, as uneven as Golden State was this year, they still finished third in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage. When they want to play defense, they’re one of the better teams in the league.
38 (!!) first-half points for Kevin Durant ?
THAT IS NOT A TYPO pic.twitter.com/FDa5cvQuH0
— ESPN (@espn) April 27, 2019
We know that this is a series that Houston can win, though, as they nearly pulled it off last season. The Warriors have shown that – at times – they’re not as hungry or determined, and that margin could be the difference.
Houston won three of the four regular season matchups, so don’t underestimate them. I wouldn’t bet Golden State at these odds, but I also won’t bet against them.