Fri, Apr 13, 2:53pm by Staff Writer
The NBA playoffs begin on Sunday morning with four opening games in the best-of-five first round series’.
The action continues on Sunday and with plenty of Australian players featuring in this season’s playoffs, there will be lots of look forward to for basketball fans.
On Sunday morning, reigning champions Golden State host San Antonio in Oakland. Both teams have had up-and-down seasons as they have dealt with injury.
The Warriors have been and will continue to be without point guard Steph Curry, while Spurs star Kawhi Leonard has only played nine games this season.
San Antonio is a shadow of the team they have been in past seasons, but do start as big $3.85 underdogs. Golden State are $1.28 home favourites.
The home crowd will push the Warriors to victory, but after losing their final regular season game by nearly 40-points, we aren’t giving them an 8-point start in a playoff game.
Back the Spurs to cover +8 at $1.92
Washington visit Toronto in the first game of the Eastern Conference playoffs, with the Raptors $1.28 home favourites and giving an 8-point start at the line. The Wizards are $3.85 underdogs.
It would be an epic disappointment for the Raptors to not get out of this first round series, against a Washington team that has just regained point guard John Wall.
Once again the 8-point start may be too many and look to take the Wizards at the start.
The red-hot Philadelphia 76ers featuring Ben Simmons won their final 16 games of the regular season as they head into the playoffs.
That has never been done in NBA history and they start game one as $1.36 favourites against the Miami Heat. The Heat are $3.27 underdogs and if they are to win, need to use their size advantage at centre with Hassan Whiteside.
Philadelphia is rolling and we can’t see them losing this one.
Back Philadelphia Big Win Little Win 11+ at $2.56
Portland return to the post-season once again after a sensational second half of the season by point guard Damien Lillard.
The Blazers start $1.43 favourites against the Pelicans on Sunday afternoon in a match they should win.
These teams split the season series at 2-2, but Portland are a tough team to beat at home and should win game one.
An injury-hit Boston team still managed to finish as the second seed in the East and host Milwaukee on Monday morning.
The Celtics are $1.61 favourites with the Bucks at $2.38. The concern for Milwaukee has been their lack of depth all season.
It is hard to gauge Boston as they have been resting some of their better players for weeks now, but the TD Garden will be rocking and the Celtics will pick up the win.
Cleveland has began to play its best basketball when it matters most and enter their first round series against Indiana buoyed by that improved play.
The Cavs start as $1.36 favourites to beat the Pacers at $3.28 on Sunday morning and should do so.
Indiana has been a solid regular season team this season and with their payroll the lowest of any team in the playoffs this season, it is a testament to their front office and coaching team that the squad has performed so well this season.
A 6.5-point start should see Cleveland cover, just.
The most intriguing first-round match up is between Utah and Oklahoma City. The Thunder grabbed home court from the Jazz after Utah failed to beat Portland on Thursday.
OKC start as $1.65 favourites at home with the Jazz at $2.30. It is incredible that Utah managed to turn their season around after they were as many as seven games below 0.500.
The playoffs is where the star players come to play and with Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, it is hard to turn down the Thunder at home.
Back OKC to cover -3.5-point handicap at $1.95
Minnesota scraped into the playoffs with a dramatic overtime win against Denver on the final day of the regular season but face an uphill task when they go to Houston on Monday to face the Rockets.
Houston finished with the best regular season record in the NBA, winning 65 games and looked unstoppable at times.
The Rockets are $1.13 favourites to win this match, the shortest of any team in the first round. The Wolves are $6.40 underdogs and lacking playoff experience outside of their veterans in Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler.
Houston cruised past Minnesota in the regular season, winning by 18 points on two occasions in Houston and we expect the same on Sunday.
Back Houston Rockets -11.5-point handicap at $1.95
NBA Playoffs First Round Game 1 Odds – Sportsbet
San Antonio $3.85 v Golden State $1.28
Washington $3.85 v Toronto $1.28
Miami $3.27 v Philadelphia $1.36
New Orleans $2.94 v Portland $1.43
Milwaukee $2.38 v Boston $1.61
Indiana $3.28 v Cleveland $1.36
Utah $2.30 v Oklahoma City $1.65
Minnesota $6.40 v Houston $1.13
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