East predictions, bracket, schedule, odds

Round one of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs is set! With many fascinating matchups coming, the East playoffs are set to begin on Saturday when the Raptors play the 76ers.

Furthermore, there is going to be some fascinating intrigue in the East this year with the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics, and defending champs Milwaukee Bucks.

Round one of the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs has two of the most competitive series in the playoffs. Look for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and (maybe) Ben Simmons headline a star-studded cast of players for the Eastern Conference playoff series.

See here for every team’s NBA championship odds.

NBA Eastern Conference playsoffs round one predictions

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving defending against the Cleveland Cavaliers
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No. 1 Heat vs. No. 8 Hawks/Cavaliers

No matter who the Heat face, they have way more talent than either team. Trae Young is playing great basketball so they could steal a game or two. If it is the Cavs, the Heat should sweep.

The Heat advance and are set up for a date with the Sixers or Raptors in round two.

No. 2 Celtics (-142) vs. No. 7 Nets (+120)

Odds provided by FanDuel

Probably the most exciting series of all in the first round, the Brooklyn Nets made quick work of the Cavaliers in the play-in game. The Celtics could have avoided this matchup if they wanted to. However, with their domination of the Grizzlies in the last game of the year, they made it clear: they want the Nets.

Furthermore, the Nets’ ‘Big Three’ has yet to actually play in an NBA game together. Ben Simmons has played in zero games since a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks last year in the playoffs.

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However, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported on Thursday that the Nets are ramping Simmons up for a return in either the fourth, fifth or sixth game of this series. As of this writing, the Nets are underdogs to win this series, although they opened as betting favorites.

The public is on the Celtics – but I am on the Nets. The Nets are top 10 in offense and top 10 in defense since Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup full time. Potentially having Ben Simmons in the fold to just play defense and cut to the basket is a very valuable asset.

BetRivers has the Nets to win the series in six games at +400 and seven games at +600 respectively. I’ll take a stab at both, but my official prediction is Nets in seven. Of course, you could also play it safe and take the Nets to win the series by any margin at +120.

The winner gets a date with the defending champion Bucks next.

Round one series prediction: Nets in 7 +600 (BetRivers)


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No. 3 Bucks (-1100) vs. No. 6 Bulls (+700)

Milwaukee gets the most lopsided matchup in the playoffs. Frankly, they could probably win this series without Giannis playing big minutes. I am expecting a five-game series here from the Bucks, who have an excess of talent on the roster. They look to repeat and rest up for the Brooklyn Nets, who will have a long series against Boston.

The Bucks will face the Celtics or Nets in a tough round two matchup either way.

Round one series prediction: Bucks win in 5 games +175 via BetMGM

NBA round one series betting breakdown and predictions
Ben Simmons (then of the Philadelphia 76ers) guards Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks in game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semi-finals
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No. 4 76ers (-186) vs. No. 5 Raptors (+150)

Odds provided by BetRivers

The second-most intriguing series of all four in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers are bleeding. They have the worst transition defense in the NBA since James Harden arrived and they just don’t play well against good teams.

The Raptors have Pascal Siakam who is playing the best basketball of his career. However, he struggled badly in his past playoff performances. He may have turned a corner this year, but I can’t forget him seeing footsteps when they won it all with Kawhi Leonard. I’ll take the Sixers to win this one, though I’m not sure how much further they get.

The winner of this series moves to face the number one seeded Miami Heat.

Round one series prediction: 76ers win in 6 games +470 (FanDuel)

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