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NBA Weekend Playoffs: Preview and Picks

Fri, Apr 20, 3:34pm by Staff Writer

The NBA playoffs continue this weekend with Toronto visiting Washington holding a 2-0 series lead and Boston visiting Milwaukee also holding a 2-0 lead.

Toronto Raptors versus Washington Wizards

Saturday, 21 April 2018 at 10.10am AEST

The Wizards have had a subpar season compared to 2016, with the team sliding down the standings into eighth position and struggling to keep up with the red-hot Raptors.

Toronto are $2.02 underdogs in game three, with Washington $1.83 favourites.

Toronto finally broke their first game of the first round of playoffs losing streak which had stood for 17 years with a win in game one, which was followed by an even more convincing performance in game two.

The Wizards don’t have a try match-up for DeMar DeRozan, with Bradley Beal undersized and not seen as a premier defender.

The Raptors bench has been their big improvement this season, with the likes of C.J Miles and Fred van Vleet providing a spark that Toronto has not had in recent times.

Washington still has the play of John Wall and Bradley Beal to fall back on, but their scorers outside of Beal and Wall are sporadic and have yet to show up in the playoffs.

The teams split their season series at 2-all, with both teams winning both at home and on the road.

Toronto won their most recent encounter in Washington 102-95, but the Wizards desperation should give them the edge in a close match.

Best bet- Washington Wizards Big Win Little Win 1-10 at $2.82 at Sportsbet

Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks

Saturday, 21 April 2018 at 11.40am AEST

The Boston Celtics hold a commanding 2-0 lead over the Milwaukee Bucks, who were terrible in game two in Boston.

The Bucks have been riddled by turnovers during both of their games and despite shooting a high percentage from the field and superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo shooting lights out in game two, the Bucks did not have enough shots at the basket to get close to Boston.

The Celtics head into game three as big underdogs at $3.22, with the Bucks $1.37 favourites.

Milwaukee has done little to justify being such a short-priced favourite, given that they have the inferior bench when compared to the Celtics and have shown a tendancy to be loose with the basketball.

The Celtics bench has been a surprise in the playoffs so far, with Shane Larkin, Greg Monroe and Marcus Morris a standout for Boston so far, especially from three-point range.

The 6.5-point handicap start being given to the Bucks is more than generous in a match they could lose outright.

Milwaukee look a year away from really contending in the Eastern Conference and we aren’t convinced by point guard Eric Bledsoe just yet, who has stuttered through two games.

Take the Celtics at the plus handicap as they are being given a big start and there is no reason why their defence can’t lock down on the road.

Best bet- Boston Celtics to cover 6.5-point handicap at $1.95

Indiana and Cleveland meet in game three in Indianapolis on Saturday morning with their series tied at one game apiece after the Pacers stunned the Cavs in game one.

LeBron James scored 20 points in the first quarter of game two and looked unstoppable on his way to a 46-point outburst in game two.

The Cavs should have enough to beat the Pacers in this best-of-seven series, but look for Indiana to snare game three in front of their home crowd.

In other matchups this weekend, Minnesota will have their work cut out for them as they host the top-seeded Houston Rockets in Minneapolis.

The Wolves were stoic in game one, but had no answer for James Harden who continues to be a problem for the Wolves, with Jimmy Butler not up to defending the MVP-favourite at the moment.

NBA Weekend Playoffs Odds – Sportsbet

Cleveland $1.90 v Indiana $1.94

Toronto $2.09 v Washington $1.77

Boston $3.10 v Milwaukee $1.39

Portland $3.32 v New Orleans $1.35

Houston $1.46 v Minnesota $2.80

Oklahoma City $2.53 v Utah $1.55

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