NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference

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Published: 21/04/2013

The NBA season reaches the play-off stages this weekend, here is our guide to how the markets are shaping up in the Eastern Conference.

Miami Heat are the 3/13 (BWin) favourites to win the Eastern Conference and it is hard to see past them as they ended the season with a remarkable 66-16 record. Up first for them are Milwaukee who should present few problems for them and it is just 21/20 (Skybet) that Miami sweep the Bucks. This looks the way to play it as Miami are the best team in the NBA, the Bucks meanwhile are only in the play-offs because the East has to have eight teams. Miami can and will these games at a canter so take this as it odds on in other places.

Should the Heat be beaten in the East (and it is unlikely that they will) it will be most likely be from the winner of this series. The Knicks and the Celtics meet in Round One in a series that may just be the best in any conference. New York were the better team in the regular season but Boston tend to kick into gear come play-off time so odds of 2/7 (general) on a Knicks series win look a little short. The Celtics can be backed at 10/3 (888 Sport) to go through the first round which looks worth a little play. The Celtics have three things going for them, their playoff experience, coach Doc Rivers is an expert in the postseason and the limited time remaining for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The city of Boston has had a terrible week and I expect these Celtics might just take it upon themselves to give them something to cheer. The Knicks are good but the prices are too hard to ignore on the Celtics.

The first round battle between Indiana and Atlanta might lack the big name glamour of New York and Boston yet to me it looks one of the more interesting series. Both these sides have rosters stacked with talented young players while lacking in household names. The Pacers biggest talent Danny Granger is out for the season though they still managed to finish third on the back of some excellent play from among others Paul George, David West and Roy Hibbert. The Hawks meanwhile are based around a core of Al Horford, Josh Smith and Jeff Teague. Both sides have a great future ahead of them and in a few years this could well be the conference final rather than a first round clash. I think the strategy here could be to lay Indiana winning the series 4-0 and 4-1 as the Hawks are more than capable of winning a couple of games.

The battle between the fourth and fifth seed sees Brooklyn take on Chicago. The Nets are 8/11 (general) to win the series while Chicago are 5/4 (bet365/Coral). The Bulls have done well to be as seeded as high as five this season especially with Derrick Rose being out all year injured. If by some miracle Rose could return and by an even bigger miracle he is back to elite level then they could challenge the Heat as it is they probably will lose to the Nets in seven. paddy Power and bet365 have this series 7/4 to go to seven which looks the best bet in this toss of a coin series.

BEST OF THE BETS

GOLD: Miami to see off Milwaukee 4-0, 21/20 (Skybet)
SILVER: Boston to go through against NY Knicks, 10/3 (888 Sport)
BRONZE: Brooklyn and Chicago to go seven games, 7/4 (paddy Power/bet365)


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