The time is finally here! Welcome to the NBA Playoff Vik’s Picks, Bubble Edition.
Due to the Bubble, there are a ton of variables this postseason, most notably no true home-court advantage. Here’s a look at how I see the first round shaking with series prices. Who I am picking to win will be bolded. Read the write ups for which series NBA picks and bets I like.
Vik’s Picks NBA Playoff First-Round
Milwaukee Bucks (-5000) over Orlando Magic
Don’t see the Magic knocking off the Bucks here, but I’d pass on the series price unless you have a lot of money. I just don’t like laying that much juice in general. I’d try to target some games instead.
Toronto Raptors (-5000) over Brooklyn Nets
Just like the Bucks above, don’t see how Toronto loses here. This should be light work for the defending champions. Too much juice for me to lay, though.
Los Angeles Lakers (-550) over Portland Trail Blazers
I want to take Portland so badly in this spot, I really do. I love their backcourt, but their defense is atrocious and they lack wings that can slow down LeBron James. And, who will guard Anthony Davis? If PDX was smart, they’d double AD all series long and try to have LeBron go for 40 every game to beat them. Dame and CJ will go off a couple of games this series, but in the end, LAL should prevail.
Los Angeles Clippers (-500) over Dallas Mavericks
I love Luka Doncic, but the Clippers are going to be monsters come NBA playoff time and that’s reflected in my pick for this one. They are fully healthy and are the best team in this whole thing. Dallas’ defense is atrocious, and LAC has the wings and length to contain Luka night in and night out.
Miami Heat (-325) over Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are missing a huge piece in Sabonis, and this is the series where they could’ve used him the most. T.J. Warren has been a beast in the Bubble, but he also comes into this series limping in. Jimmy Butler will be too much for the Pacers to handle and Miami’s offense, especially from the 3-point line, will be too much for Indiana.
Boston Celtics (-300) over Philadelphia 76ers
I don’t like laying this much juice, but I like Boston to win the series. The Sixers are without Ben Simmons and Boston is just the better team with a solid defense. They also have depth and a big coaching mismatch.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+176) over Houston Rockets
I’ve gone all chalk so far with my playoff picks, but here is a NBA series dog that I like. loved the Rockets going into the playoffs as a dark horse but the Russell Westbrook injury looms large here. With RW, the Rockets are much better net ratings wise, without him, they are in trouble. Even fully loaded, all of OKC’s starters had a huge net rating vs. Houston through the three matchups this year. With Westbrook’s injury being such a big question mark here, it’s worth taking a shot on a Thunder team that has been a covering machine this year.
Denver Nuggets (-195) over Utah Jazz
I’m a big Spider Mitchell fan, but I see the Nuggets doing work in this matchup. The Nuggets went 3-0 vs. the Jazz this year, and I don’t see that changing this time around. The Jazz just don’t have enough offensive firepower to keep up with the Nuggets. Mike Conley and Ed Davis are going to be out a lot in this series as well, hurting Utah’s depth and any chances they have at this series.
If you’ve read my other NBA columns or follow me on Twitter, I’ve been pretty consistent with who I think is going to win the NBA title this season. Nothing has changed. I’ll go with the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Milwaukee Bucks, with the Clippers taking it all.
That’s it for my picks for the NBA playoff series. Remember, always shop for the best lines. Good luck!