NBA Playoff preview and betting tips
It's been another exciting postseason in the NBA, winding down in a hurry. There are now just three teams remaining in the NBA Playoffs, with one barely hanging as of now.
Here’s a look at some of the recent news stories revolving around those playoffs.
While the Denver Nuggets have been one of the more consistent NBA teams over the last few seasons, they'd never won the West. Until now.
Entering the NBA playoffs as the top seed in the conference, Denver is making the first NBA Finals appearance in the franchise’s 47-year history (success in ABA aside). They won the Western Conference Finals Monday night, 113-111 over the Los Angeles Lakers to sweep the series.
Three of the four games were decided by six or fewer points, but the Nuggets made the plays (home and away) when it counted. LA, never seemingly in control at any point, was trying to reach The Finals as a seven-seed.
This was the third time in the career of LeBron James that he was swept in a series, first in a non-Finals. James hinted at potential retirement, but isn't expected to give a firm answer anytime soon.
Jokic the MVP
Nikola Jokic was the obvious choice as Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP after leading the Nuggets to the resounding win over the Lakers. Jokic has already won two regular- season MVP accolades. This was more significant.
It was the second consecutive playoff series in which Jokic averaged a triple-double, reprising his ritual against the Phoenix Suns. Punctuating his performance with some remarkable Game 4 shots to fuel a second-half Denver comeback and bury LA.
Jokic and the Nuggets will have plenty of time to rest before the NBA Finals begin June 1st, probably at home. Jokic isn't the type to sit around and rest, as he was seen getting in a workout after the celebration in the visitor's locker room.
Denver is an overwhelming (-300) choice to win it all, according to NBA championship odds.
Heat Finish Celtics?
The Denver Nuggets could learn their opponent in the NBA Finals, as early as this (Thursday) evening. The eighth-seeded Miami Heat currently hold a 3-1 series lead over the No. 2 Boston Celtics and Game 5 of this series shifts back to Boston tonight.
Miami eliminated the top-seed Milwaukee Bucks, as well as the New York Knicks, both quite easily, and the Heat’s success has carried into the Eastern Conference Finals.
Jimmy Butler is scoring nearly 30 points per game in the postseason, and the entire Heat team is shooting well. Miami had as much as a 33-point lead (a final of 128-102) against a Celtic team on Sunday which offered minimal resistance, but could not complete the sweep after a 3rd quarter Celtic onslaught on Tuesday night.
Blowout in Boston?
Boston returns home after a decisive victory and the Garden will be loud and not very inviting for the guests. Certainly, Miami will not go down without a fight and see the talk shift from sweep to the first team to ever lose an NBA Conference Final after going up 3-0.
But the current line for tonight's 8 P.M. matchup has Boston as an 8 point favorite. That is telling us something.
When Boston has beaten the Heat in the last two Eastern Conference Finals, it has been by a wide margin. Four of Boston's five victories over Miami in the conference finals have come by more than ten points, with the the average margin of victory at close to a whopping 16 points.
No Gabe for Game 5
Perhaps that eight points line is due to an injury to starting point guard Gabe Vincent. The Heat have announced Vincent will miss Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals because of a sprained ankle suffered late in Game 4. Vincent has started every game in the postseason and has been the third-best scorer on the Heat.
Miami will most likely turn to Kyle Lowry to replace Vincent's 13.1 points per game. Lowery has come off the bench in the NBA Playoffs, putting in significant minutes so far in this series. He's averaging 7.6 points in the playoffs, but tallied 11.5 during the regular season.
If the Heat can keep this game close that eight point line on the NBA odds looks attractive, but it's also hard to ignore the history over the last two Finals. In fact, this may be a great game for players to use a Live Betting option at their favorite sportsbook.