Posted 04/15/2010 at 03:38 PM
The Jazz won by ten the last time these teams met and underdog status here for Utah is built solely on the slight home court edge that Denver will enjoy. These teams had identical 53-29 regular season records and the Jazz were a strong road performer down the stretch. Denver owns a great home record for the year but this team appeared to be a lock for the #2 seed most of the season and really suffered a poor late season collapse, barely surviving to hang onto this spot with a tiebreaker. After a poor home effort with a lot on the line Wednesday a rested Utah team could be worth backing in this series that could certainly go either way.
SAN ANTONIO +170
The Spurs fall to the #7 seed but everyone recognizes that this team can play with anyone. The deliberately rested players down the stretch and surrendered position but Dallas was a lousy home court edge for the Mavericks this season. Dallas easily beat the Spurs last year in the playoffs but this is a different scenario and the Mavericks are overvalued in this match-up based on a slightly better record through a weak late season schedule while the Spurs faced a very tough closing slate. San Antonio showed little during the regular season finale and still almost won and Dallas is a team with a history of first round failure.
Long Shot: CHARLOTTE +700
The Bobcats allowed the fewest points in the league this season and Larry Brown has proven he can cause fits for opposing teams particularly in the paint. Orlando should be considered one of the favorites in the East but this is a team that coasted most of the season and will be overvalued based on the surprise run last season. Charlotte won in Orlando in March and this is a team that beat many of the best teams in the league but had a marginal record based on many flat efforts against weaker opponents. When motivated the Bobcats can create a very tough match-up and were 31-10 at home this season. If Charlotte can steal a game in Orlando early this series could go the distance. Look for the Bobcats to win a few games in this series and make for a close series with a chance at a major upset.