NBA Playoff Predictions: Round 1

The NBA playoff seeding came down to the final day of the season. Here’s what’s in store for the first round starting this weekend.

Eastern Conference

(1) Toronto Raptors versus (8) Washington Wizards

Washington has won two of the last three meetings between the teams this season. Having said that, the Raptors have the advantages across the board at +25 to +11 on the Power Ranking Indicator and “burning hot” versus “ice cold up” on the Team Strength Oscillator.  Washington is just 3-7 over their last ten, which is a bad trend having to face the number one seed. The Raptors will take this one in five games.

(2) Boston Celtics versus (7) Milwaukee Bucks

Despite a blowout loss to the 76ers in the regular season finale, the Bucks come in “burning hot” and +23 on the Power Ranking Indicator. Boston is 6-4 over their last ten but are just +7 on the Power Ranking Indicator and “ice cold down”. The loss of Kyrie Irving is a big blow for the Celtics. If any match up screams upset, it’s this one. Let’s go out on a limb and pick the Bucks in seven.

(3) Philadelphia 76ers versus (6) Miami Heat

The 76ers ended the season with a 16-game winning streak. At +29 on the Power Ranking Indicator and “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator, they are the hottest team in the NBA. All the while, they are doing this over the past several games without Joel Embiid, who is uncertain for any games in this round. The Heat are +16 and “average down” status. The teams split the season series, but the 76ers are also tied for fourth in Team Volatility. Philadelphia should take this series in six.

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers versus (5) Indiana Pacers

Only two games separated these teams in the regular season and both finished 7-3 over their last ten. Indiana holds a +16 to +14 edge on the Power Ranking Indicator, while the Cavaliers are “burning hot” on the Team Strength Oscillator. Indiana is second in Team Volatility and likely being road underdogs with Cleveland having home court advantage bodes well for betting Cleveland. In a tightly fought contest, look for the Cavaliers to win this in six or seven.

Western Conference

(1) Houston Rockets versus (8) Minnesota Timberwolves

The Rockets won all four meetings between the teams this season. Despite having the best record in the NBA, the teams are nearly even on the Power Ranking Indicator and both are “average” status on the Team Strength Oscillator. However, the Rockets are sixth in Team Volatility and having home court advantage will be enough. The Rockets will win this one in five or six games.

(2) Golden State Warriors versus (7) San Antonio Spurs

Golden State took three of the four meetings between teams this season. They haven’t been playing well coming in, going just 4-6 over their last ten games. Because of this trend, they are behind the Spurs on both the Power Ranking Indicator (+17 to +22) and the Team Strength Oscillator (average up versus burning hot). The Spurs are tenth in Team Volatility and will likely be underdogs in all road games. San Antonio will put up a good fight, but the Warriors are extremely experienced in this playoff setting and will take them down in six.

(3) Portland Trail Blazers versus (6) New Orleans Pelicans

The teams split the season series, but the Pelicans are the hotter team coming in, winners of their last five. This leads to a +26 to +8 advantage for New Orleans on the Power Ranking Indicator and “burning hot” versus “ice cold down” on the Team Strength Oscillator. They are also fifth in Team Volatility meaning they are a good bet in their home games as a favorite. If they can steal one on the road, the Pelicans could upset Portland. In the second best match up for an upset, go with New Orleans in seven.

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder versus (5) Utah Jazz

The Thunder have the upper hand in the season series, winning three of four. The teams enter with identical records, but the Jazz hold a +27 to +20 advantage on the Power Ranking Indicator. They also are “burning hot” versus “ice cold up” on the Team Strength Oscillator. This series is nearly a toss-up, but I think the seasonal domination of the Thunder over the Jazz carries over. Look for the Thunder to win take this series in six.

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