2013 NBA Playoffs Betting – First Round Matchup Analysis

lebron-jamesThe 2013 NBA playoffs officially start tomorrow, which means there’ll be plenty of intense betting action! Assuming you’re looking to do a little NBA playoffs betting, it’s definitely worth going over the first round matchups. There are several battles that figure to be extremely entertaining to watch – especially if you’ve got money on the line. So without further adieu, let’s get to the first round matchups.

Eastern Conference

#1 Seed Miami Heat (66-16) vs. #8 Seed Milwaukee Bucks (38-44) – Most people firmly believe that the Heat are destined to repeat as NBA champions. That said, few people expect the Bucks to provide much resistance. Now Milwaukee does feature a strong backcourt with Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings. However, it’s nearly impossible to see the Bucks slowing down the Miami trio of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

Prediction: Heat win the series 4-0

carmelo-anthony#2 Seed New York Knicks (54-28) vs. #7 Seed Boston Celtics (41-40) – This series could definitely feature some fireworks based on earlier season drama between New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Boston’s Kevin Garnett. However, potential drama is about all this matchup will offer since Boston has been doomed ever since Rajon Rando went down with a season-ending injury. Paul Pierce and Garnett may help Boston steal a game; but Anthony, J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler will be too much.

Prediction: Knicks win the series 4-1

#3 Indiana Pacers (49-32) vs. #6 Seed Atlanta Hawks (44-38) – Defense is definitely the name of the game for Indiana. They are arguably the best defensive team in the East, meaning Atlanta’s Al Horford and Josh Smith will have difficulty getting to the basket. If the Hawks are to win, they’ll need to lock down David West and Paul George, which won’t be happening.

Prediction: Pacers win the series 4-2

brook-lopez#4 Seed Brooklyn Nets (49-33) vs. #5 Seed Chicago Bulls (45-37) – Brooklyn features a nice trio of stars in Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams. However, Chicago is a very well-balance club with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer manning the paint, and Luol Deng providing a scoring boost. Plus Chicago plays better overall team defense than Brooklyn. Depending upon how healthy Noah is and if they can win the rebounding battle, Chicago can definitely take this series.

Prediction: Chicago wins the series 4-3

Western Conference

#1 Seed Oklahoma City (60-22) vs. #8 Seed Houston Rockets (45-37) – This should be an emotional series for Houston’s James Harden since he’ll be facing off against his former team. He and backcourt mate Jeremy Lin figure to be tough for the Thunder to slow down. But you can expect, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder to go relatively unthreatened in this series. However, the Rockets will probably steal one game at home.

Prediction: Thunder win the series 4-1

tony-parker#2 Seed San Antonio Spurs (58-24) vs. #7 Los Angeles Lakers (45-37) – This matchup would’ve been tough enough for the Lakers to win even with Kobe Bryant. However, Bryant’s Achilles tendon injury has him sidelined until next year and Los Angeles has almost no chance. Dwight Howard would have to play out of his mind and get some big-time support from Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace. Tony Parker and Tim Duncan aren’t going to let this happen.

Prediction: Spurs win the series 4-1

#3 Seed Denver Nuggets (57-25) vs. #6 Seed Golden State Warriors (47-35) – The most interesting matchup in this series will be at the point guard position, where Ty Lawson faces off against Stephen Curry. Both players lead their teams in scoring, and this battle could ultimately dictate who wins the series. But as of right now, we think that Denver’s depth and strong defense will wear Golden State down over a seven-game series.

Prediction: Denver wins the series 4-3

blake-griffin-clippers#4 Seed Los Angeles Clippers (56-26) vs. #5 Memphis Grizzlies (56-26) – L.A. came on strong at the end of the season to take home court advantage in this matchup. That could huge pay dividends for Blake Griffin, Chis Paul, Jamal Crawford and the rest of the Clippers. But Memphis quite possibly plays the best defense in the league, and should be able to overcome the Clippers’ home court advantage in a close series. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol will really have to come through for Memphis though.

Prediction: Grizzlies win the series 4-3

Make sure to check back in a couple of weeks for our second round predictions on the 2013 NBA playoffs.

NBA Power Rankings for January 2nd, 2013

We’ve moved past the quarter point of the 2012-2013 NBA season, and the Western Conference is really looking good at this point. In fact, the NBA’s best three records belong to the West as three teams out there are really streaking. But does this mean that we think a West club is a shoe-in to win the championship? Keep reading to see what we think about the number one team and the rest of the top 10.

1. Miami Heat (21-8) – Miami may only have the league’s fifth best record at this point, but they’re still favored by many to repeat as NBA champions. Furthermore, the Heat defeated the league’s current number one club – Oklahoma City – just a few days ago. LeBron James (26.3 PPG), Dwayne Wade (20.4 PPG) and Chris Bosh (18.0 PPG) are scoring over 60% of the team’s points right now.

2. L.A. Clippers (25-7) – After winning 17 straight games, the Clippers finally dropped a contest on the road to Denver. Based on this red-hot streak, we like the Clippers better than anybody in the crowded West. Five Los Angeles players are averaging double digits with Blake Griffin leading the way at 17.8 PPG.

3. Oklahoma City Thunder (24-6) – Following back-to-back road losses against Minnesota and Miami, the Thunder have rebounded by winning three straight games. With the West so muddled, Oklahoma City is really going to need their mediocre bench to step up more.

4. San Antonio (25-8) – The Spurs have kept pace with the NBA’s best clubs after winning their last six contests – most of which were blowouts. San Antonio’s balance is definitely impressive since seven players are averaging at least 9.5 PPG; Tony Parker leads them all with 19.3 PPG.

5. New York Knicks (21-10) – The last eight games have been rough on the Knicks since they’ve lost five of these contests. What’s particularly bad about this is that only three of the games have been on the road – and none were against truly elite teams. Things don’t get any easier since the Knicks will face San Antonio on Thursday.

6. Atlanta Hawks (20-10) – Atlanta has been seesawing in December, but lately, they’re doing pretty well. The Hawks are winners of four out of their past five games. This team doesn’t score a lot of points – Josh Smith paces the scoring with 16.6 PPG – but they do play some pretty good defense. A healthy Horford has been difficult for opponents to deal with this year (15.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG).

7. Golden State Warriors (21-10) – Thus far, Golden State has been the surprise of the year. Few people picked the Warriors to make the playoffs, but they’re currently fifth in the West right now. Both Stephen Curry (20.0 PPG, 6.5 APG, 1.5 SPG) and David Lee (20.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG) are propelling this team to success.

8. Memphis Grizzlies (19-9) – Memphis drops a couple spots from our last power rankings after losing three of their last four contests. Memphis is really going to need some increased scoring production since they’re averaging just 94.7 PPG. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies don’t have much bench production since Quincy Pondexter leads non-starters with 6.7 PPG.

9. Indiana Pacers (18-13) – One of the NBA’s hottest teams right now is Indiana. They’ve won eight of the last 10 games and are starting to resemble last year’s team which went 42-24. The Pacers have especially victimized below .500 teams since they’re 15-2 against these clubs.

10. Houston Rockets (17-14) – The Rockets stay in our power rankings for the second week in a row – despite losing two out of the last three games. However, it is worth noting that both losses came against San Antonio and Oklahoma City. James Harden is having a career year with his new team as he’s scoring 26.1 PPG.