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Eastern Conference Weekend Recap

A whirlwind weekend of NBA action slammed in to us, and while there were some pretty run of the mill outcomes, there was also one very huge upset. Let’s look at what the hell is happening and try and get ready for the next set of games.

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Philadelphia Clearly In Control of Miami Heat
Well, you know what they say. If you can survive Kelly Olynyk scoring 26 points then you’re in fine form. Philadelphia. There’s just no way that the Heat can keep up with the scoring barrage that the Sixers have. The series price for the 76ers has sky rocketed to -730, and they’ve become a very solid in-game bet. They’re also doing all of this without Joel Embiid so, a lot of this is just gaining momentum as they barrel in to the second round with all sorts of confidence.

Next Game: MIA at PHI -6.5 (Monday, April 16th at 8:05pm ET)

Toronto Fails To Invigorate Confidence…Again…
The presumptive Eastern Conference favorite seems to be in their own heads. After quickly building a comfortable lead in Game 1, the Raptors were unraveled by the Washington Wizards and truthfully it was their own doing. You could just tell that the Raptors were playing tight, as if the magnitude of the moment was a sixth defender out there.

Despite playing a great game with multiple players in double-figures, the Wizards couldn’t even cover the line. Understandably, they seemed almost disinterested in the final minutes when the game was out of reach. The oddsmakers have tightened the line for whatever reason in Game 2 and that doesn’t really make sense to me.

Toronto played badly, almost beat themselves and still won by a comfortable 8-point margin. They’re a solid play with better production out of Lowry, DeRozan and the league’s best bench – which saved their hides in Game 1. I’m not nervous about the Raptors from a long view, but they aren’t making it easy to back them in the sportsbook.

Next Game: WAS at TOR -6.5 (Tuesday, April 17th at 7:05pm ET)

Boston Survives Barrage By Bucks
The oddsmakers said that this was going to be probably the closest series considering the nagging injuries hammering Boston, but the Celtics continue to converge on enemies with exceptional strategy. It was an overtime win, but four players for Boston scored 20+ points. This series is going to be as tight as everyone expected.

However, a glaring weakness emerged that the Bucks would be extremely wise to take advantage of. Boston allowed 58 points in the paint and that was with Marcus Morris in the game for over 35 minutes. It wasn’t necessarily his fault, however, and I don’t know if Milwaukee has the personnel to really take advantage of that flaw. It doesn’t seem like they do. Who’s it going to be?

Where Boston is gaining an advantage is in consistency. So many threats. So many good players. The Bucks played near the height of their potential in Game 1, with Middleton and Giannis combining for 66 points while the team shot a staggering 48.2 percent from the field. Compared to the 41.5 percent that Boston lumped at the rim, that should have created enough of a gap for the Bucks to steal one on the road.

But there’s just not enough in Milwaukee surrounding their two best players. Let’s not forget that Boston broke out for a 29-17 lead in the first quarter. All that says to me is that they are much better prepared for this series than the Bucks are. A true first round playoff rule in the NBA is that the team with the best player usually wins out, but Boston can certainly turn that principle on its ear because they have the most important x-factor – a much better coach.

Next Game: MIL at BOS -2.5 (Tuesday, April 17th at 8:05pm ET)

Pacers Demolish Cavaliers And The Whole World Is Watching
Would the real Cleveland Cavaliers please stand up, or are you all still yelling at each other? Cleveland is in deep, deep trouble and I have no idea why the bookies haven’t decided to shrink this line. The betting public is essentially going to force it down because Indiana is such a likable underdog.

The Pacers took advantage of the fact that Cleveland has no idea what it’s doing defensively, and the fact that they’re so prone to turning on each other leaves a lot to be desired. The Cavaliers never even had the lead in Game 1 and never seemed to have any idea of who should be on the court at the same time.

People will argue that Indiana’s scoring barrage is not replicable, and I get where that’s coming from. Maybe you still don’t believe in Victor Oladipo, who scored 32 points. But that’s not what you should be focusing on. The Cavaliers ONLY SCORED 80 POINTS WHAT ARE YOU EVEN LOOKING AT.

There’s zero faith here for me when it comes to Cleveland. They don’t look cohesive and they have some major problems stopping Indiana’s offence. It’s not like the Pacers did anything all that special. Generating 98 points is nothing to really write home about. But the Pacers know exactly who and what they are. Cleveland is still trying to figure that out.

Betting on a team with an identity crisis is not a good way to spend money.

Even the oddsmakers have paired Cleveland down to a -245 favorite in the series price, while Indiana has become a +205 dog to upset the first round. I love it. I’m in.

Next Game: IND at Cleveland -8.0 (Wednesday, April 18th at 7pm ET)

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