NBA Playoff East Round 1 Series PicksJosh Bailey
What a surprise in the Eastern Conference, right? The defending NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t secure the 1-seed in the East after sputtering late in the season. Boston needed a last minute victory to steal the top-seed. Now let’s find out what each NBA East squad has to do in their Round 1 matchup to advance their odds at winning the 2017 NBA Title.
Is that a sign that Boston has what it takes to win the NBA Eastern Conference Finals? If so, the Celtics must get past Chicago in Round 1. Keep reading for information on Boston versus the Bulls in Round 1. I also pick the winner of all other NBA East Round 1 Series.
2017 NBA Playoff East Round 1 Series Picks
Boston Celtics -900 vs Chicago Bulls +500
How good is Boston? I’m not sure. The Celtics have a great backcourt in Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas. But, I don’t know if they can hang up front.
With that being written, it’s impossible for me to go against the Celtics versus the Chicago Bulls. Chicago has a Top 5 player in the NBA on their squad in Jimmy Butler. But, after Butler, the Bulls don’t have much else. I don’t feel as if D-Wade can hang while Rajon Rondo doesn’t seem to have any fire left.
NBA Playoff East Round 1 Pick: Boston in 5 games
Cleveland Cavaliers -1350 vs Indiana Pacers +650
The Cavaliers went 3 and 1 straight up versus the Indiana Pacers during the regular season. The only time Cleveland lost to Indiana was early in the season, in 2016. What it tells me is that the Pacers don’t have much of a shot in this series.
The key for NBA basketball handicappers is to study how Cleveland beats the Pacers. If Cleveland outscores the Pacers to win games in this series, the chances of the Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship go down. But, if the Cavs dominate the Pacers with their defense, rest assured that Cleveland is focused.
In any case, Cleveland beats Indiana in 4 games.
NBA Playoff East Round 1 Pick: Cleveland in 4 games
Toronto Raptors -410 vs Milwaukee Bucks +290
Milwaukee has a maturity problem going into this Round 1 series. The Bucks are much too young to handle a team like Toronto. The only way the Bucks win this series is if DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors’ top scorer, sits out a couple of games due to an illness.
DeRozan is listed as questionable. Even if DeRozan sits, Toronto has veterans like Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, and underrated Serge Ibaka, that should force the Greek Freak and his teammates to play the style that Toronto wishes to play.
I can’t endorse the Bucks winning more than a game or two in this Round 1 series. And, that endorsement comes with the expectation that DeRozan sits out Game 1.
NBA Playoff East Round 1 Pick: Toronto in 6 games
Washington Wizards -210 vs Atlanta Hawks +160
The Washington Wizards lately haven’t impressed me. The Wizards are a terrible 3 and 5 straight up in their last 8. They’ve lost to Miami twice. They barely beat the Knicks 106 to 103 on April 6.
Could Atlanta upset the Wizards in this Round 1 matchup? I think the Hawks can!
I like the Hawks going into the NBA Playoffs. Atlanta beat Cleveland twice and Boston once in 3 out of their last 4 games. The 86 to 104 loss to Atlanta on April 12 doesn’t bother me because Dwight Howard, Dennis Schroeder, and Paul Millsap didn’t even suit up.
Of all the teams in the Eastern Conference this season, Atlanta has the best shot of forcing a Round 1 upset.