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NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Betting Predictions – East Favorites Should Move On To The Next Round

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/27/2012 2:25:01 PM

Online betting players that follow the NBA are getting themselves jacked up for the playoffs after a congested regular season, and the Eastern Conference is very top-heavy. There is a sizable gap between the top four teams in the conference (you could even argue just three, excluding Indiana) and the rest, and that will be evident as the favorites have the edge to progress to the second round.

Bulls 76ers Odds

For the Bulls, it’s all about health as Derrick Rose suffered a number of ailments this season that caused him to miss time, and it’s a catch-22 because he should have fresh legs, but he’ll also be a little behind in terms of game speed, although it shouldn’t take him long to get into the swing of things. This is a meeting of two strong defensive teams as the Bulls top the league in points against, while the 76ers are third.

Philadelphia definitely cooled off in the second half of the regular season, and they’ll have to hold their own on the offensive glass, where the Bulls averaged 3.2 more boards per game than the 76ers. Chicago was 2-1 SU and ATS against the 76ers in the regular season, and they should get through the first round with minimal fuss.

Betting Edge: Chicago Bulls

Heat Knicks Odds

You may not find a better one-on-one matchup in the first round than New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Miami’s LeBron James, who have had some memorable duels in the past. Anthony put the Knicks on his back offensively down the stretch, and we all know what James, who is likely going to win his third MVP award, can do at both ends of the court. The gap in defense isn’t that great anymore as Tyson Chandler has shored up New York, and this is going to be a tougher test for the Heat than many NBA betting sharps expect.

The Heat were 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS against the Knicks this season, and unless Amare Stoudemire has the series of his life against Chris Bosh, Miami should win handily.

Betting Edge: Miami Heat

Pacers Magic Odds

This would be a much closer matchup if Dwight Howard was on the court for the Magic, even with everything that has gone on off the court between Howard and coach Stan Van Gundy, but a back injury has grounded “Superman” and now the Magic are just another team. The Pacers have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA all season, and they’re a balanced team with five players averaging in double figures for scoring. Danny Granger is still the go-to guy in Indiana, but the Pacers can also go with Roy Hibbert, who should be able to have his way in the post against the Magic, or Paul George, who has been a revelation.

The Magic were 3-1 SU and ATS against the Pacers during the regular season, but with Howard out of the lineup (and reportedly away from the team, which is a story that will raise its head during this series), Indiana is the better team and if they can slow down the Magic’s three-point shooters, this will be a rout.

Betting Edge: Indiana Pacers

Celtics Hawks Odds

Many NBA betting fans and experts alike counted out the Celtics early in the season, but the old warriors paced themselves and romped down the stretch; they were definitely the best team in the East and probably the best in the entire league. Rajon Rondo is one of the top three point guards in the NBA, while Kevin Garnett is playing like the guy who came to Boston in 2007. This anchors a defense that is second overall in points allowed. Paul Pierce is playing at a high level and Avery Bradley has picked up the slack for a limping Ray Allen. The Hawks received a boost as Al Horford should be able to suit for the team for the first time in over three months due to a torn pectoral muscle, and they’ll need him to combat Garnett in the post because Josh Smith has been playing out of position for much of the season.

The Celtics are 2-1 SU and ATS in their three regular-season meetings with Atlanta, and unless Joe Johnson has an MVP-type series, the Hawks are going to struggle to score points against Boston, and Rondo is primed for a big series against Jeff Teague. Boston is the smart sports betting choice.

Betting Edge: Boston Celtics

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