Memphis Grizzlies (5) at Oklahoma City Thunder (1)
While Memphis has the best defense in the league, it has only one real perimeter defensive stopper in Tony Allen. With Westbrook out, he can concentrate on just Durant. I don't see where the offense is going to come from on the Thunder against this tough Grizzlies defense. Memphis played them tough 2 seasons ago, and I think both Tony Allen and Marc Gasol have improved significantly since then while the Thunder is a much weaker team now.
Prediction: Memphis 4-2
Possible bets: Bet Memphis to win the series. Current price around -125.
Golden State Warriors (6) at San Antonio Spurs (2)
I loved watching the Warriors play in the first round, and Steph Curry is just amazing. But they did have many bouts of sloppy play, and that just won't do against San Antonio. Duncan has been the only real interior defensive presence for the Spurs this year, and the Warriors' lineup plays right into that. Golden State has an exciting team, but it's just not their time yet.
Prediction: San Antonio 4-1
Possible bets: Bet the over on every game. I expect an ungodly amount of three pointers made in this series.
Chicago Bulls (5) at Miami Heat (1)
Chicago actually matches up very well against Miami. They are super stingy on 3 point defense, and Miami's game revolves around a lot of open 3s. Chicago is tough and has strong inside presence versus the Heat's rather thin front line. Unfortunately, the Bulls are super banged up after a grueling series with the Nets. I think the Bulls' hard work ethic and Thibodeau's defensive smarts will keep them from getting swept, but I don't see them lasting longer than 5 games with all their lingering injuries.
Prediction: Miami 4-1
Possible bets: If you can find a book with exact series outcome props, bet Miami to win the series by exactly 4-1.
Indiana Pacers (3) at New York Knicks (2)
I think Bill Simmons summed it up perfectly in his Grantland article.
[The Knicks] are built around 3-pointers, Ray Felton's slash-and-kick game, Melo's one-on-one game, and the ability of Melo and Earl to consistently make TERRIBLE shots ... ... the Knicks are built around [terrible] shots. Which means they can lose any playoff game to anyone at any given time.Indiana has one of the stingiest defenses in the league, and are exceptional at home. Home court advantage will be very key for this series, but the Knicks' ability to "lose any playoff game to anyone at any given time" may prove to be their downfall if they let Indiana steal an early game at MSG. Add to that all the injuries affecting the Knicks right now, and I just think that Indiana rates to win more often than not.
Prediction: Indiana 4-2
Possible bets: Bet the under on every game. Indiana's defense is a given, but the Knicks also showed their defensive prowess against Boston. I would also take Indiana to win the series.
While we're at it, let's see how my first round predictions for the Western and Eastern conferences went.
Overall Series Predictions vs Actual Result:
Prediction Oklahoma City 4-0, Actual Oklahoma City 4-2
Prediction San Antonio 4-0, Actual San Antonio 4-0
Prediction Denver 4-3, Actual Golden State 4-2
Prediction Memphis 4-2 or LA 4-3, Actual Memphis 4-2
Prediction Miami 4-0, Actual Miami 4-0
Prediction New York 4-2, Actual New York 4-2
Prediction Indiana 4-1, Actual Indiana 4-2
Prediction Brooklyn 4-2, Actual Chicago 4-3
I think I did pretty well overall. Let's look at how the bets did:
Over in HOU@OKC games. 1-5 for the series, 0-2 if stopped after Westbrook went down.
Over in LAL@SAS games. 2-2 for the series.
GSW to win the series. At +400, good for 4 units.
MEM 4-2 or LAC 4-3 specifically. Won, but not all books have these bets.
MIL ML+Over parlays for @MIL games small. 0-2. Assume half unit on each bet.
BOS in first @BOS game. 0-1
IND to win the series. Win one unit.
BKN 1H in @BKN games. 2-2 for the series.
Overall results: 7-11 -2.1 unit. 6-9 +0.2 units (Westbrook only)