Betting the NBA can be a tough task, but it is made a little easier in the postseason, the ebbs and flows of these NBA series have a tendency to be a bit more predictable than a random Thurs. night in the regular season around game 43.
Tonight's games feature at least 2 of my 3 favorite first round series to follow (Lakers/Suns, Heat/Bucks, and Hawks/Knicks being my personal top 3)
Here are my picks!
Bucks (-1) @ Heat: I get it, the Heat are back @ home, they play well there, but the Bucks are a freight train traveling downhill right now. 132-98 on Monday night. That was the aftermath of a lot of built-up tension and pressure on the side of Milwaukee. This team has finally had something click and I doubt a trip to south florida will slow them down too much. The fact that you're getting them at basically a pick 'em is a bargain. Bucks -1 is my pick.
Suns @ Lakers (-7): This is a home-court advantage that I can buy into. The LA Lakers have yet to play a playoff game in front of their home crowd @ Staples Center with LeBron on the team. Pretty hard to believe. This team won a title last year and didn't play a single minute in front of their own fans. This is going to be an emotional game for the Lakers and I expect an out of body performance from King James. This will be the biggest margin of the series. Chris Paul's injury doesn't help the situation. Lakers -7 is my pick.
Nuggets @ Blazers (-4): This series is tied 1-1 and feels like the prototypical "going 7" series. The first two games were basically mirror images of one another where both teams have gotten one on their opponent. The Blazers outscore the Nuggets by 14 in game one and the Nuggets outscore the Blazers by 17 in game 2. Jokic has scored 72 points in this series, but one of the big differences between game 1 and game 2 was his ability to get his teammates involved. The Nuggets have properly adjusted to the Blazers approach and as long as they can keep Dame at bay tonight, I like their chances, they're the better team in this series. Give me the Nuggets +4
photo: getty images