NBA Playoff Betting: Final Four Predictions
The Eastern and Western Conference Finals got underway starting on Sunday afternoon with Game 1 between the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics, and continued on Monday night with a duel between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns. With the C’s and Lakers up 1-0 in each of their series, we’re going to take a look at what we can expect from all four teams for the remainder of their best of seven sets.
Boston Celtics – The C’s really had everything going for them in Game 1 against Orlando. Two of the “Big 3″ were really clicking on all cylinders, as G Ray Allen and F Paul Pierce combined to shoot 14-of-24 from the field and scored a combined 47 points in the victory. Don’t look for much out of F Kevin Garnett the rest of the way in this one, as he has drawn a tough post matchup against the Orlando bigs. KG only shot 4-of-14 in Game 1, and though he’ll inevitably average more than the eight points he scored on Sunday, he won’t be a dominant player in this series.
Celtics 2010 NBA Championship Odds as of 5/18: +350
Orlando Magic – Things couldn’t have gotten much worse for Orlando than they did in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. C Dwight Howard only converted three of his 10 shots from the floor and turned the ball over seven times, while F Rashard Lewis went 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. However, HC Stan Van Gundy can rest easily in knowing that his team nearly erased a deficit that was as large as 20 points late in the third quarter. Better things will come from the Magic Men, who are trying to avoid losing their first two game losing streak in a whopping 50 games tonight in Game 2.
Magic 2010 NBA Championship Odds as of 5/18: +300
Final Word: Orlando will most likely come out in Game 2 of this series and tie things up. Boston probably has the horses to win a game or two more in this set, but if it ultimately comes down to a Game 7 in the Sunshine State, the Magic will do to Boston what the C’s couldn’t do to Orlando last year: Close out a series on their home court.
Phoenix Suns: Phoenix hung tough with Los Angeles for a little while on Monday night, but it ultimately didn’t have the defensive strength to keep up with Kobe and the gang. Six different players did score in double digits though, which has to be a good sign for HC Alvin Gentry. Look for Phoenix to do a better job on the glass in this series, as 34 rebounds isn’t going to cut it if it hopes to survive.
Suns 2010 NBA Championship Odds as of 5/18: +1000
Los Angeles Lakers: So much for G Kobe Bryant being in bad shape with that bum knee! He went off for 40 points in a Game 1 victory, but he got plenty of help from his friends as well, as four others scored in double digits. C Andrew Bynum is very clearly going to be a non-factor in this series, as he only played 20 minutes and took just four shots for the game. Someone is going to have to step up off of the LA bench to continue pouring the pressure on the Suns, and it looks as though G Jordan Farmar has that ability. He scored ten points to go with five assists in 19 minutes on Monday, as LA romped by three touchdowns.
Lakers 2010 NBA Championship Odds as of 5/18: -150
Final Word: It’s only one game so far, but the Lakers really looked like a significantly better side in Game 1 than the Suns are. Unless Phoenix turns this around, it could be a very, very short series. Still, we’re expecting to see that patented run and gun style catch up with LA at some point, so don’t be surprised if the Suns still ultimately take down the purple and gold in six or seven games.
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