1. Pacers (-220) over Warriors
The top of the East now means more than just home court advantage. Miami and Indiana are in a furious battle for the top spot in their conference because the No. 2 seed will most likely have to play the Bulls in the second round. And while both MIA and IND would easily be favored, no one wants their team to take that kind of a physical beating through even a 5-game series immediately before taking on an arch rival in the conference finals.
I think this pressure is apparent to both the Pacers and Heat, which is why I like the Pacers to take care of business at home, especially since their stout defense and athletic length could be just what the doctor ordered against a sharpshooting squad like Golden State.
Wager: $120 to win $54.55
2. Miami Heat (-110) over Houston Rockets
In the same vein as what I mentioned in the IND/GS matchup, the Heat are feeling the pressure of taking the No. 1 Eastern seed into playoffs to avoid that punishing second round match up with Chicago.
But more importantly, and practically, Dwyane Wade skipped last night’s win against the Bobcats to get ready for the Rockets tonight. And, after LeBron’s career high 61-point outing, it’s going to be hard to slow him down. I think the Rockets may be the perfect anti-Bosh roster, but Harden can’t play D and I don’t know who can even hope to slow LeBron down. Terrence Jones? That’s a very bad sign, Rockets fans…
Wager: $150 to win $136.36
3. LA Clippers (-185) over Phoenix Suns
I love Goran Dragic just as much as the next guy, but Chris Paul is Chris Paul. And Blake Griffin is threatening for the 5th spot on the NBA MVP ballot with the season he’s had. The Clippers are just too big and strong for the Suns. I like Lob City to pound the boards, get plenty of second chances, and take care of business against Phoenix, although the Suns won’t be taken out easily considering how valuable wins are in that race for those 7 and 8 spots in the West.
Wager: $100 to win $54.05
4. LA Lakers (-140) over New Orleans Pelicans
This is one of those times when I’m not going to waste your time with explanations about basketball. I’m a gambler, and sometimes it’s a gut thing. The Pelicans don’t look like they’re even trying, and the last two times I bet against LAL, I got burned. So, I’ll take Pau & Co. for the dub.
Wager: $75 to win $53.57