NBA Playoff Odds 2018: Championship Favorites & Betting Series Prices

17 April, 2018, 20:14 | Author: Darnell Taylor

Ordinarily, road teams win playoff games about 35 percent of the time.

The slate is reset.

And now, the best time of the National Basketball Association year is finally here. Outside of Clint Capela, there isn't anyone in Houston's regular rotation that would be able to slow down Towns, or even Taj Gibson for that matter. While the guards will be the focus of this series, who wins the battle in the paint could mean victory or defeat.

The NBA Playoffs are finally here.

The Warriors are trying for a third title in four seasons, and will play this first round more than likely without Curry while he continues recovering from a knee injury. Mark Medina and Logan Murdock of the Bay Area News Group preview the opening series, with audio from Coach Steve Kerr, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

Houston enters the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and are coming off their first 60-win season in franchise history, so you know the pre-playoff hype video was on another level. It's a contrast of the backcourt from Portland in Damian Lillard and CJ Macollum compared with the frontcourt from New Orleans in Anthony Davis.

The matchup: If you've been following the Thunder at all this season, you know how insane it's been. But can newcomers like Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Lance Jr, whom have a total of 11-playoff games between them, perform in uncharted territory? Can the Big 3 pull it together and fend off a scrappy Jazz squad?

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said his team, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, is focused on more than Game 1.

The Raptors are a complete team with a nucleus that has been around for a while.

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The Wizards had a good run in the middle of the season and surprisingly when John Wall came back, they tanked.

Along with the Raptors, the Cavaliers also have a good chance at this conference.

The matchup: When forward Gordon Hayward went down a few minutes into the regular season, it seemed like the Celtics championship aspirations were shot. However, a Rajon Rondo injury derailed everything, and Chicago ending up losing four straight.

They match up well with the Bucks, having several big strong wing players that could disrupt Giannis Antetokounmpo in James Johnson and Justise Winslow. What we'll be left with is, hopefully, an entertaining and unpredictable conference, featuring superstar players, breakout youngsters, and a couple of old men still with tricks up their sleeves.

James averaged 27.5 points, his most since the last season of his first stint in Cleveland in 2009-10, a career-best 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game - the latter matching the benchmark he set last term. The 1-seeded Raptors underperform in the playoffs just about every year, the 2-seeded Celtics are depleted, and the 3-seeded 76ers just simply are not ready yet-they're way too young and inexperienced. They figure to have Stephen Curry back for this series, and just in time, because Portland is an improved team on both ends of the floor.

- Players to Watch: Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric (76ers); Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade, Hassan Whiteside (Heat). If not, Whiteside could dominate this series.

Still, the Blazers lack depth, and the Warriors have Nick Young, who is going to come up with some random 16-point outburst that will help the Warriors win a game.

They choke in the playoffs and James does not. If George Hill, Rodney Hood, Kevin Love and Jordan Clarkson play solid minutes, there will be little IN can do to stop them.

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