NBA Playoffs: 2nd Round Previews

by Will Rogers

NBA: Second Round Series Previews

Bucks vs. Celtics - The Celtics were the only team to pull off a sweep in the first round, making it look easy against the Nets. The Bucks needed only five games to oust the Bulls. Boston is -185 to win this series. If you like Milwaukee to pull the upset, they are +150. The series outcome with the shortest odds is Boston in seven (+325), followed by Boston in five (+400), then either side in six (+450). Milwaukee in four is the most outrageous outcome at +2000. The Celtics are now only +400 to win the NBA Finals while the Bucks have gone from having the second best odds (+500) to fourth-best (+600). 

The season series was a 2-2 split with the home team winning all four times. The Over/Under was also a 2-2 split. Three of the four games were played by Christmas, so those results don’t mean much anymore. It is worth noting that Boston has covered nine straight times vs. Milwaukee.

What definitely matters is the Celtics have Robert Williams back while the Bucks are probably going to be without second leading scorer Kris Middleton for the duration of this series. Jaylen Brown has said he’s okay for Game 1 despite an injured hamstring. 

Boston led the league in scoring defense (104.5 points per game) in the regular season, but Milwaukee easily had the best defensive efficiency rating in the first round of the playoffs (93.9). 

Warriors vs. Grizzlies - With Memphis having only advanced last night, we’re still seeing some discrepancy in the market when it comes to series price. Golden State, even though it is the lower seed, is favored to win the series. They are as high as -275 at BetMGM but -200 at the SuperBook. The Grizzlies are +210/+175 respectively at those two shops. 

Memphis won the season series 3-1, including a 28-point beatdown at home in late March. But Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green all did not play in that game, which was the Warriors’ worst loss of the season. 

These were the two highest scoring teams in the first round with Golden State also posting the highest offensive efficiency rating. However, eight of the last ten meetings have gone Under

The Warriors haven’t played since Wednesday while the Grizz are dealing with a less than 48 hour turnaround between series. Memphis was 8-2 SU and ATS as a home underdog in the regular season. Perhaps some of the skepticism surrounding them is that they trailed Minnesota by double digits in the fourth quarter in all but one of the six games. Three times they overcame a double digit fourth quarter deficit to win. 

76ers vs. Heat - This series has taken a dramatic turn before it even began with Joel Embiid being out indefinitely for the 76ers. Philadelphia still has James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, but the odds for Game 1 have shot up based on the Embiid news and the Sixers are now as high as +8.5 at most shops. 

For Miami, Jimmy Butler has said he’s good to go for Game 1. Butler missed the close out game in the first round vs. Atlanta. Tyler Herro, who is dealing with a cold, also said he’d be ready. Kyle Lowry did not practice on Friday after missing the last two games vs. Atlanta.

The regular season was a 2-2 split. Two of the games were played after Harden was traded to Philadelphia. The teams split those, each winning on their home floor. Three of the four games went Under. The most recent went Over.

Do not forget that Philadelphia led its first round series with Toronto three games to none. Three of their wins came by double digits and it was a 35-point win in the close out game. 

Mavs vs. Suns - Phoenix, who has the league’s best record, is a big -350 favorite to win their second round series. A five-game series win (+280) has the shortest odds, followed by a seven-game series win (+330). 

It was not a dominant first round performance from the Suns by any means. They needed six games to get rid of New Orleans and posted the worst net efficiency rating of any team that advanced. However, some of that can be pinned on the fact they didn’t have Devin Booker much of the series. Booker is now back. Chris Paul averaged 22.3 points and 11.3 assists in Round 1. 

Luka Doncic missed the first three games of the first round, but the Mavs still were able to oust the Jazz in six games. Two of the last three games came down to the final possession. Dallas has covered five straight.

The line for Game 1 is Phoenix -6. They swept the season series 3-0 and have beaten the Mavericks nine straight times going back to 2020. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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