The long wait is finally over, as the 2017 NBA Playoffs is set to tip-off this weekend for another installment of heart-pounding postseason basketball action at its finest.
Without further ado, let’s take a look below at the usual suspects and surprise contenders worth considering for our NBA futures betting needs.
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2017 NBA Playoffs Predictions and Preview
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Golden State Warriors (-220)
For the third-consecutive season, the Warriors find themselves perched comfortably atop the NBA mountain. They finished with 67 wins this 2016-17 campaign, giving them the best three-year regular-season run of any team in NBA history. That feat is made even more impressive when the team went 16-4 along with an outstanding 13-game win streak late in the season without injured top free-agent pickup Kevin Durant in the lineup.
For as low the return on the odds will be, there’s really no better deal on the market right now than going with the Dubs as this year’s NBA champs for an easy payout after the postseason has wrapped up.
San Antonio Spurs (+900)
How can we have an NBA Playoffs favorites list without mentioning the Spurs? Greg Popovich once again proved why he’s the NBA’s true Jedi Master on the sidelines by sending his team to an unprecedented 20th-consecutive playoff appearance.
A huge leap from MVP and DPOY candidate Kawhi Leonard, along with a much-improved second season from LaMarcus Aldridge, make for a winning combination in San Antonio. And let’s not forget that the Spurs’ patented brand of shut-down defense (second in the NBA at just 98.1 points allowed per contest) has yet to lose a step, which makes for a very intriguing conference final matchup with the high-octane Warriors should the stars align for this blockbuster showdown to finally happen.
For our money, this year’s Larry O’Brien Trophy will be awarded to the Western Conference champs, and the Spurs have certainly made yet another compelling case this season as they continue their bid at a fifth NBA title in this millennium.
Boston Celtics (+2,000)
This season, the Celtics – not LeBron James and his Cavaliers, who sputtered towards the end of the regular season – ended up as the top dogs of the Eastern Conference.
This is a young, dynamic Boston team that we’re not accustomed to seeing during the Big-Three era, but the team is definitely a silent killer nonetheless. Behind the leadership of Coach of the Year nominee Brad Stevens and star guard Isaiah Thomas, who finished third in the league’s scoring race with 28.9 points per game, the C’s have a deep, well-rounded roster that could definitely give Golden State a scare in the finals should the two teams indeed meet in the finale.
Toronto Raptors (+3,500)
Will back-to-back 50-win seasons translate to yet another trip to the Eastern Conference Finals (or beyond) for the Raptors?
Toronto has weathered all sorts of roster storms this regular season, with the 18-game absence of floor general Kyle Lowry and the adjustment period of getting mid-season aqcquisition Serge Ibaka in sync with the team as the most notable of those challenges.
The product of their mettle ultimately led to the Raptors becoming one of the most clutch performers in the league, ranking tied for first in offensive rating (115.4) and fourth in defensive rating (102.4) in the final frame of contests this regular season. Toronto’s late-game explosiveness is an extremely valuable asset in the playoffs, which could ultimately lead to the team’s first ever NBA title when all is said and done.
Indiana Pacers (+25,000)
A five-game winning streak to close out the regular season has got to do wonders for the Pacers heading into the playoffs. Then again, they had to win and wait until the final regular-season contest to clinch the seventh seed in the East with a mere record of just a game over the .500 mark.
The team also has the utter misfortune of being pitted against mighty Cleveland in the first round, with the Cavaliers opting to tank their final week of regular-season play just to avoid an early date against either the Bulls or the Heat. Considering how seemingly little the Cavs think of the Pacers, and given the vocal frustrations of main man Paul George with his current team from earlier this season, the chances of Indy slipping past the opening round are virtually slim to none.
The Warriors (-220) stick it to all their haters by winning their second NBA title in three years.
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