Oh how I have missed the absurdity of Knicks fans in MSG. I mean seriously, those “F Trae Young” chants? The booming cheers after RJ Barrett throws down a fast break poster to tie the game? It was a beautiful sight, and one I have been waiting a long time for. The start to the playoffs was electric, and after seeing each team play a game, I have some NBA playoff bets and teams I am really liking, and some I am not.
The New York Knicks
Speaking of the Knicks, they are still a betting gold mine. After dropping game 1 to the Hawks they are now at +200 to win in the first round. They are -2 favorites to win game 2 in the Garden. So, why am I loving the Knicks as I have been all season? Because they went 45-26-1 ATS this season, the best record in the entire league. That makes me automatically pick them as a game 2 spread bet.
If you look closely, the Knicks played terribly in game 1 and barely lost to a Trae Young last-second floater. The Knicks shot below their season averages overall, from three, and from the line. They also gave up above their season averages shooting to the Hawks overall and from three. Dropping a game at home is tough for NY, since they are only 16-20 on the road this season. But given how tight game 1 was, I still like them to win the series and to cover at -2 in the second game. Roll Knicks baby.
The Milwaukee Bucks
Ok, my Bucks love right now could be a little biased. I just watched them score 46 against the Heat in the 1st quarter to be up by 26. Damn. So much for the Miami Heat culture of hustle and defense, yikes. On a more serious note, the Bucks are at +290 to win the East and +750 to win the Finals. I like both of those bets, not because I think the Bucks are going to win, but because I think their chances of doing so are better than the odds reflect.
The Bucks had the best record in the NBA in 2019 and 2020, and both seasons suffered disappointing playoff losses. But they weren’t as brutal as you might think. 2019 was the first year they were a real threat and had little playoff experience. 2020 was… 2020, and Giannis got hurt. But now this is a well-rounded veteran team with experience. In game 1 they shot only 16% from three and 60% from the line and STILL WON. The turnover differential was zero.
Giannis is a special player, and one I expect to win a ring at some point. After two years of dud performances, this could be the season he gets it done. The Bucks went 2-1 against the Nets this season and 3-0 against the Sixers. I love the value here and the more I talk about Milwaukee the more I actually think they’ll win it all, especially given how weak the West has looked (shoutout Los Angeles).
Stay Away From LA
I don’t wanna beat a dead horse here because Terry and I’s lack of confidence in the LA teams is well documented on the Let’s Cash podcast. But my feelings are so strong at this point that I have to put it in writing. Both the Lakers and Clippers lost game 1 of their respective series. The Clippers were at home. Chris Paul was injured mid-game in Phoenix. I know I predicted the Lakers would win the title in a previous podcast, and part of me still believes it. But would I use one of my NBA playoff bets on it? Hell. No. Let’s look at the odds.
Lakers: To Win Round 1 (-110), To Win The West (+225), To Win The Finals (+500)
Clippers: To Win Round 1 (-150), To Win The West (+300), To Win The Finals (+750)
LeBron And The Lakers
I hate those odds to win round 1. Both teams are down 1-0. Both teams had doubts surrounding them before the series even started. Anthony Davis got shut down by the Suns defense. Lebron James has looked timid and unwilling to drive to the basket since his return. In game 1, LeBron took only 13 shots, 7 of which were threes.
The Lakers need LeBron to be LeBron, and he just hasn’t been. He only went 7-17 in the play-in against the Warriors. I don’t think he is in shape to win the title this season. But, he’s LeBron, and I could easily be wrong. I just don’t know with the Lakers anymore, and as a bettor, that scares me.
Playoff P And The Clippers
The Clippers played poorly in game 1, shooting well below their season average from three. But are we really surprised? Are we confused why Paul George suddenly can’t perform in the playoffs? Are we confused why Luka Doncic got to do whatever he wanted against these guys in Staples Center? No, not at all. Last year this team was widely expected to win the title. And then they lost to the Nuggets in the 2nd round after being up 3-1.
And then they lost Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams. Both of those guys were 6th man of the year candidates, and Harrell won it! The Mavs are a great team and went 12-4 to close out the season. KP and Luka are arguably as good of a duo as Kawhi and PG. Yeah that’s right, I said it. I have zero trust in this Clippers team. They disappointed last year, and they have been inconsistent all year in 2021. Avoid them in your NBA playoff bets.