Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Betting

cavs-vs-bulls-playoffsThere’s a lot of basketball left to be played in the 2015 NBA Playoffs, but it already feels like a mini-championship is happening in the semifinals, with the Cleveland Cavaliers taking on the Chicago Bulls.

The big story going into this series will be how the Cavs suddenly look vulnerable after losing Kevin Love for the postseason due to a shoulder injury. Additionally, J.R. Smith will miss the first two games of the series with a suspension incurred from the Celtics series. This now gives Chicago a better chance to win against Cleveland, after losing three out of four regular season games to their bitter in-division rivals.

But exactly how good of a chance does the Bulls have of finally getting past their tormentor, LeBron James, in the East? Let’s look at both teams’ advantages and disadvantages, before coming to a consensus on who can win this thing.

How Chicago can win

There’s no better way to go into a new playoff series than by capping your last one off with a 54-point demolishing. Chicago’s 120-66 road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks showed just how dominant they can be ‘when on.’

joakim-noahThis was a team effort that showcased the tremendous depth of the Bulls, which is exactly why they can beat Cleveland. There’s no deeper frontcourt in the league since they boast Joakim Noah at center, along with Pau Gasol (PF/C), Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic all logging power forward minutes. This front court is so good that Mirotic, who’s at times looked like the most talented out of this group, doesn’t get the minutes that he deserves.

Then you come to the back court, where Derrick Rose mans the point and All-Star Jimmy Butler handles the shooting guard duties. Previously thought to be lost for the year, Rose came back from another knee injury and has at times looked like his former league MVP self. As for Butler, he’s been the offensive leader of this team, averaging 26.6 PPG against the Bucks. Throw in veteran and dead-eye three-point shooter Mike Dunleavy at small forward, and you have one very complete team that could wear the Cavs out.

Why Chicago will lose

Despite a myriad of talent at multiple positions, Chicago is one of the more-inconsistent teams in the NBA. A lot of this stems from the fact that the Bulls rely so much on Butler and Rose to generate offense; so when they’re off, Chicago is off. This much was clear from the Bucks’ Game 5 victory in Chicago, where Rose and Butler shot a combined 10-for-41, losing to a team that they should have waxed.

The inevitable victory did finally come in Milwaukee, but the guards’ shooting struggles, combined with the Bulls’ inability to find a good minutes rotation for their big men, made this a longer series than it needed to be. If the same problems persist, expect Chicago to go down in 6 games to Cleveland.

How Cleveland can win

lebron-james-benchKyrie Irving seems to be emerging as a true superstar, as he showed in the Boston series by hitting big shot after shot. Irving made 48% from thee-point range against the Celtics while averaging 23.3 PPG. And let’s not forget that he’s joined by the best player in the game in James. LeBron averaged a ‘quiet’ 27 points in the first round, while playing in cruise control at certain points.

There are certainly some good role players on this squad too, with Timofey Mozgov and Tristan Thompson both providing great minutes in the front court, and Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith doing damage at the shooting guard position.

Why Cleveland will lose

Depth will be the biggest dilemma for Cleveland, especially with Smith out for the first two games. Without Love on the floor, Mozgov and Thompson will play extended minutes while aged veterans Kendrick Perkins and Shawn Marion may even be called upon more. Reserve guards James Jones and Matthew Dellavedova will be on the floor too, which doesn’t exactly match the overall talent that Chicago puts out there.

Final Prediction: Cavs in 7 Games

Regardless of their bench depth, Cleveland will have a rested LeBron and Irving playing 40+ minutes a game, which is mainly what they need to win what will be a close series. Be sure to catch Game 1 of this series at Monday at 7:00pm EST, and don’t forget to do your Cavs vs Bulls betting at

Hawks vs. Nets Game 2 Betting: Brooklyn eyeing Big Lineup Changes

brooklyn-nets-changes-game-2-hawksIt’s little surprise that the Atlanta Hawks are huge favorites on the Game 2 betting line in their playoff series with the Brooklyn Nets. After all, the Hawks got out to a big lead and protected their lead nearly the entire game, coasting to a 99-92 victory. The Game 2 line reflects this, as you can see below:

Game 2 on Wednesday (April 22) at 7:00pm ET
Brooklyn (-110)        Over 201.5 (-110)
Atlanta -9.5 (-110)    Under 201.5 (-110)

Playing at home again, Atlanta has a good chance to cover the -9.5 spread when considering that they not only won Game 1, but also the four regular season meetings between these two. And if Brooklyn wants to finally beat the Hawks this season, they’ll need to make some positive changes for Game 2.

The Nets’ three stars, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez and Deron Williams either had trouble getting the ball at times or getting open looks thanks to Atlanta’s swarming defense. A big reason why is because Atlanta flat out ignored some of the Nets players, including Earl Clark (1-for-6, 3 points) and Markel Brown (2-for-3, 4 points). Neither played a whole lot in the opening game, but they may not even see the floor in Game 2.

That’s because bigger roles are expected from forwards Alan Anderson and Mirza Teletovic, with the latter missing three months due to a blood clot in his lungs. Both players could add some dimension to Brooklyn’s offense and free up the “Big 3” for easier shots.

Brooklyn Nets v Atlanta Hawks - Game OneBeyond lineup changes, Brooklyn simply needs to play better basketball. Both Johnson and head coach Lionel Hollins pointed this out, when asked about the 17 turnovers that the Nets committed, leading to 24 fast-break points by the Hawks.

“You have to catch and attack, or catch and move the ball,” Johnson following Tuesday’s practice. “Those are things we’ve worked on and hopefully we’ll get better at them, but we just have to keep our turnovers down, and we’ll be all right.”

Hollins stuck with the same theme by saying, “I go back to what Hubie Brown said. It’s a simple game – you just have to know when to pass, when to shoot and when to dribble. As simple as that sounds, it’s difficult for a lot of players.”

Hollins doesn’t sound too pleased with his team’s fundamentals from the opening game. Brooklyn looked really sloppy in the first half while committing 11 turnovers. They played better in the second half, but it wasn’t enough after the hole they dug early on.

As for Atlanta, there’s not much that needs tweaked after their strong first game. However, they do have some injuries, with center Al Horford (dislocated pinkie) and forward Paul Millsap (right shoulder) experiencing some pain. Luckily for Atlanta, they have plenty of other options in guards Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver, and forward DeMarre Carroll.

Millsap’s shoulder has been hurting him since an April 4th contest between these two teams, while Horford suffered his dislocated pinkie in the fourth quarter of Game 1. Both are expected to play, although they won’t be completely 100%.

2015 NBA Playoffs Betting: Indiana, Brooklyn, OKC and New Orleans seek Final Spots

indiana-paul-georgeThe 2015 NBA Playoffs are about to begin, and the postseason picture is about as clear now as it was to start the season. Only one playoff series – East No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics – is set right now. So, if you’re into NBA Playoffs betting, you’ll have to wait to do any real research until after today.

After all, today represents the final day of the 2015 regular season. And some of the most-intense action will involve Indiana and Brooklyn battling for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference, and Oklahoma City and New Orleans fighting for the West’s last slot.

Beyond teams clawing for No. 8 seeds in both conferences, seven out of the eight series are still yet to be determined. Yes, the playoff picture is very clouded less than 24 hours before all seeding will be finalized. But if you’re looking for some clarification, here are all the scenarios that could play out with each postseason slot.

lebron-jamesEastern Conference (Right Now)
No. 1 Atlanta Hawks (60-21)
No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers (52-29)
No. 3 Chicago Bulls (49-32)
No. 4 Toronto Raptors (48-33)
No. 5 Washington Wizards (46-35)
No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks (41-40)
No. 7 Boston Celtics (39-42)
No. 8 Indiana Pacers (38-43) or Brooklyn Nets (37-44)

Here’s what needs to be decided in the East
vs. Atlanta at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 3 if they beat Atlanta OR Toronto loses to the Charlotte Hornets
– No. 4 if they lose to the Hawks AND the Raptors beat Charlotte

Toronto vs. Charlotte at 7:00 p.m. ET
– No. 3 if they win against the Hornets AND the Bulls lose to the Hawks
– No. 4 if they lose to Charlotte OR the Bulls beat the Hawks

Indiana @ Memphis Grizzlies at 9:30 p.m. ET
– No. 8 if they win against Memphis OR the Nets lose to Orlando
– Eliminated if they lose to the Grizzlies AND the Nets win against the Magic

Brooklyn vs. Orlando at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 8 if they beat the Magic AND the Pacers lose to Memphis
– Eliminated if they lose against the Magic OR the Pacers beat the Grizzlies

stephen-curryWestern Conference (Right Now)
No. 1 Golden State (66-15)
No. 2 LA Clippers (56-26)
No. 3 San Antonio Spurs (55-26)
No. 4 Portland Trailblazers (51-30)
No. 5 Houston Rockets (55-26)
No. 6 Memphis Grizzlies (54-27)
No. 7 Dallas Mavericks (49-32)
No. 8 New Orleans (44-37)

Here’s what needs to be decided in the West
Los Angeles;
season finished
– No. 2 if the Spurs lose against New Orleans AND the Rockets get beat by the Utah Jazz
– No. 3 if the Spurs beat the Pelicans OR the Rockets lose against the Jazz

San Antonio @ New Orleans at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 2 if Spurs win against the Pelicans
– No. 3 if they lose against the Pelicans AND the Rockets lose to Utah
– No. 5 if they get beat by the Pelicans AND the Rockets win against the Jazz AND the Grizzlies lose to the Pacers
– No. 6 if they lose against the Pelicans AND the Rockets beat the Jazz AND the Grizzlies win against the Pacers

Houston vs. Utah at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 2 if Rockets win against Utah AND the Spurs lose to New Orleans
– No. 5 if they beat the Jazz AND the Spurs lose against the Pelicans; OR if they lose against the Jazz AND the Grizzlies lose to the Pacers
– No. 6 if they lose to the Jazz AND the Grizzlies beat the Pacers

zach-randolphMemphis vs. Indiana at 9:30 p.m. ET
– No. 5 if Grizzlies win against the Pacers AND the Rockets lose to Utah; OR if they beat the Pacers AND the Rockets win against the Jazz AND the Spurs lose to the Pelicans
– No. 6 if they get beat by the Pacers; OR if they win against the Pacers AND the Rockets beat the Jazz AND the Spurs win against New Orleans

New Orleans vs. San Antonio at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 8 if they beat the Spurs OR the Thunder lose to Minnesota
– Eliminated if they lose to the Spurs AND the Thunder beat the Timberwolves

Oklahoma City @ Minnesota Timberwolves at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 8 if Thunder beat the Timberwolves AND the Pelicans lose against San Antonio
– Eliminated if they lose against Minnesota OR the Pelicans win against the Spurs

It’s impossible to tell what’s going to happen on this final day of the regular season. But at least after tonight, the postseason matchups will be cleared up and you’ll be able to do some serious 2015 NBA Playoffs betting.

Could Indiana Pacers beat Atlanta Hawks in First Round?

indiana-vs-atlanta-playoffsIf you’re looking to get an early start on 2015 NBA Playoffs betting, then you might want to begin checking out the Indiana Pacers a little more closely. The inevitable question you’ll be asking after this statement is “why?”

After all, Indiana is currently 35-43, which leaves them one game behind both the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics (both 36-42), the two teams clinging to the Eastern Conference’s final two spots.

Well, for starters, Indiana just got Paul George back, who’s missed almost the entire season with a gruesome lower-right leg injury during a U.S. national team intrasquad scrimmage. George isn’t his two-time NBA All-Star self right now – averaging just 11.5 PPG and 2.5 RPG in the two games that he’s played so far. But give the 6’9″ forward a few more contests before the postseason, and he makes Indiana a very dangerous first-round opponent.

Another thing to consider here is just how well the Pacers have played over the second half of the season. At one point, they were just 15-30, but have since gone 20-13, which is pretty good for a team that’s played without their best player for 70-some games. Going further, they’re currently riding a three-game win streak and fighting hard for one of the remaining two playoff spots.

Assuming Indiana did get into the postseason, they would possibly draw the Atlanta Hawks (59-19), a team that’s dominated the East up to this point. And any betting odds on a Hawks vs. Pacers matchup would greatly be in Atlanta’s favor. But according to NBA-TV analyst Jared Greenberg, the Pacers would be the most-likely team to take the Hawks down in the first round, should they meet. Here’s a look at what Greenberg said on said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show:

indiana-paul-george“I think the most intriguing of them all would be Indiana getting in. And right now as we stand this very moment, they’re on the outside looking in, but every moment it seems like that changes. If you had Indiana playing Atlanta, Indiana is the team that’s knocked the Hawks out of the playoffs the last couple years. Last season, Indiana, as you recall was the No. 1 seed but really was faltering toward the end of the season and the Hawks gave them a serious (scare). The Hawks almost eliminated the Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. So to now return that favor with Paul George coming back – and tonight’s his second game back and he’s playing decent basketball – that would be unbelievable theater to watch the Pacers and the Hawks in reverse roles from a year ago.”

Greenberg also brings up George, who seems to be the X-factor in any potential Indiana postseason run. He’s working off of limited minutes right now while trying to ease back into the swing of things. George played 15 minutes against Miami and scored 13 points in that time, while he logged 16 minutes against New York and scored 10 points. So as the minutes increase, we should see something similar to the Paul George that’s become one of the NBA’s best players.

Beyond this, Indiana as a team is playing some really good ball. So if they should make the 2015 NBA Playoffs and face the Hawks, or maybe even the Cleveland Cavaliers, both teams should get ready for a very difficult playoff series.