The 2022 NBA playoffs are underway as 16 teams have their eyes set on winning four best-of-7 series en route to lifting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
After looking at NBA futures odds and lines, here are 3 first-round Eastern Conference futures predictions among our expert NBA picks, predictions and bets.
The Miami Heat are the East’s top seed and hold a 2-0 advantage over the Atlanta Hawks.
The No. 2 seed Boston Celtics lead the 7th-seeded Brooklyn Nets 1-0, while the No. 3 seed Milwaukee Bucks also have a 1-0 lead against the 6th-seeded Chicago Bulls.
The East’s other series has the No. 4 seed Philadelphia 76ers owning a 2-0 advantage over the No. 5 seed Toronto Raptors.
NBA playoff series futures and predictions
Bank on the 76ers winning in 5 (+162)
As mentioned, 76ers are already up 2-0 in the best-of-7 series and we predict they’ll beat the Raptors in 5 games. The 76ers are on a 5-game home winning streak, including victories in Games 1 and 2. Philly, which is a 1.5-point favorite for Wednesday’s Game 3, will win one of the next two games in Toronto.
The 76ers were the league’s second-best road team, going 27-14 during the regular season. Only the Phoenix Suns were better at 32-9.
The Raptors can’t stop 76ers C Joel Embiid. The NBA scoring champ (30.6 points per game) took over in Monday’s Game 2, finishing with 31 points and 11 rebounds, both game-highs, in a 112-97 victory.
Toronto also has to deal with shutting down Philly SG James Harden, who is one of the best foul-drawers, assist-makers and step-back shooters.
Philly will take one of the next two games in Toronto and will wrap up the series at home in Game 5.
PHILADELPHIA IN 5 (+162).
Bank on the Bucks winning in 5 (+170)
Milwaukee took the opener 93-86 Sunday and lead the Chicago Bulls 1-0. We see this series also ending in 5 games.
The Bucks are nearly unstoppable at home, posting a 28-14 record, including the Game 1 win. They are 8-2 at home in their last 10.
The Bucks are clear favorites for many reasons. They are the defending champs, PF Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing at an MVP level. Bulls C Nikola Vucevic is good, but there’s no way he can stop Giannis.
MILWAUKEE IN 5 (+170).