Tue, Apr 24, 12:33pm by Staff Writer
The first round of the playoffs have set both TV and attendance records and Wednesday’s (AEST) action will also be must-see.
First up, the Bucks aim to win in Boston, which will see them go 3-2 up then it’s off to Philadelphia when Ben Simmons and his teammates aim to close out their series with the Heat.
The late game sees the Spurs go in as big underdogs against the Warriors in Oakland when a win for the hosts will see them progress.
Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics
Wednesday 25th April 2018, 9am at TD Garden
The Celtic’s injury woes have been well-documented this season and the Bucks have a real opportunity to capitalise in what looms as a crucial Game Five fixture. The Bucks have not been able to make a dent in the first two games at TD Garden and will need to dig deep to get the edge in the series.
The Bucks are outsiders in this clash and Sportsbet has the Bucks at $2.26, with the Celtics the warm favourites at $1.67 to take the series lead.
In the absence of Kyrie Irving, the Celtics have been relying on Jaylen Brown as their main scoring option and 21-year-old hasn’t disappointed in his first playoff series, posting back-to-back 30+ point games. It’s a big ask for the shooting guard as the Celtics are struggling for scoring options off the bench.
Boston have struggled all series to contain Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks seem to have the momentum heading into this one. Aussie Thon Maker will see some additional court minutes in the absence of John Henson and Milwaukee’s bench players added that much need spark in their last outing.
You get the sense that the Celtics were going to tire at some point in this series and the Bucks have a real opportunity to apply some pressure to a young starting line-up. We’re taking Boston to succumb to that pressure and we’re taking the visitors to grab the advantage.
Back the Bucks for the win at $2.26
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers
Wednesday 18th April 10am at Wells Fargo Arena
The 76ers are on the verge of playoff history after taking home a thrilling win in game four in Miami (106-102). Australia’s Ben Simmons has been unstoppable this series and became the first rookie since Magic Johnson in 1980 to register a triple-double in the playoffs.
Joel Embiid returned to the 76ers lineup in game four and was a dominant force, finishing with 14 points, eight rebounds, and five turnovers. Veteran JJ Reddick and Dario Saric have also showed their value for a 76ers side that could dominate the playoffs in the years to come.
The Heat have been relying on veteran Dwayne Wade to keep them in the series, he came of the bench to score 25 points last start but he couldn’t get his side over the line in what could potentially be his last game in Miami.
The last time Miami came back once from a 3-1 deficit in the postseason was way back in 1997 series against the Knicks but it’s hard to see history repeating itself on this occasion.
We’re taking the 76ers to enter the second round of the postseason against the winner of the Bucks/Celtics series by covering the 9.5 point line.
Back the 76ers to cover the -9.5 point handicap at $1.95
San Antonio at Golden State Warriors
Wednesday 25th April 12.30pm at Oracle Arena
The Spurs head back to Oracle Arena in what looms as their last game of the season if they can’t find a way to rally against the defending champs. It’s been a tough week for Spurs coach Greg Popovich, who lost his wife after a long battle with a respiratory illness. The Spurs mentor may not be able to travel with his side as they look to take stay alive in the series.
Manu Ginobili came off the bench to score 16 crucial points in San Antonio’s gutsy Game Four win over a Warriors side that are still without Steph Curry. The latest reports suggest he may not be available for the second round either as his ankle injury continues to linger.
Kevin Durant has stepped up in the absence of Curry and the reigning NBA Finals MVP had 34 points last start.
The Spurs are big outsiders at $6.80 and have struggled to make a dent against the Warriors on the road. San Antonio may have come to the end of the road but they should be good enough to cover +11 point handicap at $1.95.
Back the Spurs to cover the +11 point handicap at $1.95
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