Patriots (PK) and first half under 24 One thing about Super Bowls is they don't tend to start with a bang.
NBA exact series results: Round 2
NBA playoff series follow certain patterns, particularly after the first round, when all of the remaining teams are either heavyweights or gelling upstarts. Employing strategies like zig-zag theory and the desperation factor can be profitable on a game-by-game basis. But taking those ideas and applying them in the macro – to precise outcomes of a series – can yield even better returns. Here are a pair to consider in Round 2, along with some Game 1 picks.
*Series price odds provided by sportsbook.ag
Thunder over Clippers in 7 (+350)
This is the one series in the second round pitting two live title contenders. In other words, whichever team emerges from what’s sure to be a protracted slugfest will pull into the Western Conference Finals with a justified chip on its shoulder. The price on this outcome is tough to beat. These teams split four meetings in the regular season, and while each won in the other’s building, home court will likely be the deciding factor in the playoff matchup. Given the talent and depth of both the Clippers and Thunder, a six- or seven-game series is all but guaranteed. It’s difficult to envision the Thunder closing the Clippers out on the road in a Game 6. And home teams have a huge historical advantage in Game 7s, winning over 80 percent of the time (a number that was substantiated after home teams went 4-1 in the five first-round Game 7s). Thus to get 3.5-to-1 on your money on OKC in 7 is a high-value investment relative to the probability of that outcome.
Heat over Nets in 7 (+400)
Anyone who thinks the champs are going to steamroll Brooklyn hasn’t watched enough Celtics-LeBron playoff showdowns over the past six years. Or the four regular-season meetings between the Nets and Heat. Boiled down to primary elements, when Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James clash in May, what results is some of the most tightly-contested, back-and-forth playoff basketball the NBA has to offer. While there’s only so much stock that can be put in Brooklyn’s 4-0 record vs. Miami in the regular season, it’s no coincidence that Pierce was at his best in those games. Or that in general Garnett has just started to resemble “KG” since the outset of the postseason. They were brought in for winning time, not for an 82-game grind. In the context of this series, the Nets have a golden opportunity to steal Game 1 in Miami, as the Heat have been cooling their heels for over a week, while Brooklyn is peaking after knocking off Toronto in Games 6 and 7. Similar to last year, when the Heat were shocked by Chicago in an identical scenario in Game 1 of Round 2, the Nets should be able to draw first blood in what looks like one final war between the old Celtics and dynasty-seeking Heat. Bettors should lock in that +400 price sooner than later, as it had been posted as high as +500.
Game 1 picks
Brooklyn (+7.5) at Miami – As stated above, the Nets are live on the moneyline. While it was fluky that they went 4-0 against Miami in the regular season, the fact that every game came down to the wire was no fluke. These teams match up very well.
Wizards vs. Pacers (under 184) – In three regular-season matchups, Indiana averaged 88 points per game and score no more than 93; Washington averaged 76.7 and didn’t top 91.
Spurs (-6) vs. Blazers – San Antonio has too much experience to begin consecutive playoff series with duds. Look for Duncan and Co. to take immediate control of this series.
Overall picks: 16-20-2
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