You could hardly be more busy as a sports fan this time of year – the NFL Draft is ongoing, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are in full swing, and if that wasn’t enough action for you the 2016 NBA Playoffs are in the mix as well. Throw in big MMA cards like UFC 197 on April 23 and the upcoming Overeem vs. Arlovski fight in Rotterdam and you’ve got no shortage of sports to lay a bet on if you’re so inclined. Let’s talk about the National Basketball Association though, because as of April 30 we are on the cusp of the second round, with only one bracket in the East left to be decided. The Heat and the Hornets are tied at three games apiece, and so are the Raptors and the Pacers, so the winners of game seven have the unfortunate prospect of having to immediately face each other — they’re going to be exhausted. Nevertheless you have just enough time to get in on the action since both teams wrap up round one on May 1. The Raptors are -270 to finish off the Pacers at +230 on the money line, even though they got blown out 101 to 83 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in game six. Their fortunes seem tied to shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who was held to 8 points in both game four and six. If he hits double digits in game seven the odds makers got it right. The Heat are -280 to knock out the Hornets at +240 and Dwayne Wade is even better at the same position and means just as much if not more to his team. I’m a little surprised the Hornets got as far as they did. Let’s get to the second round betting odds though. Game one between the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder tips off at 8:35 PM tonight, with the Spurs -290 on the money line against the Thunder at +245. The #2 seed Spurs come in off a four game clean sweep of the Memphis Grizzlies, rested and ready, but the Thunder only needed five to close out the Dallas Mavericks so they should be fresh too. The legends of the Spurs past like Tim Duncan are still on the active roster, but these days it’s all about Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, and good luck shutting either of them down. The Spurs are -280 right now to take the entire series and I like them as the favorite. The Portland Trailblazers and the Golden State Warriors play their first game on Sunday at 3:35, with the Warriors opening a substantial -370 to +310 for their opponent AND -550 over a best of seven. Justified? YES. They broke the record for regular season wins, finishing 73-9, and even though Stephen Curry was injured in round one this team has more than enough firepower and presence on the boards with Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to get it done. This team routinely puts up over 100 points a game – they aren’t slowing down now. To wrap this up the Cleveland Cavaliers are favorites for similar reasons: -350 in game one against the Atlanta Hawks (+290) on Monday, -570 over a best of seven series. Don’t think LeBron James wants another ring on his hand? Think again. As always these previews are for entertainment purposes and please wager only what you can afford. Enjoy the NBA Playoffs!
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