NBA Playoffs April 21: First Round Matchups Featured

The NBA regular season is behind us and the playoffs have begun. The top 16 teams battle for the ultimate prize determined in early June. We will look at two first-round games to be played on April 21.

Dallas Mavericks versus Los Angeles Clippers

The Mavericks finished with the 5th seed in the Western Conference with a record of 50-32. They were identical 25-16 at home and on the road with a point differential of +2.3. The Clippers have home-court advantage as the 4th seed with a regular season mark of 51-31. They were 25-16 at home and 26-15 on the road with a point differential of +3.3.  Despite playing on the road, the Mavericks are the favorite with odds of -123 to +106. Neither team is entering play on a high. Dallas has lost their last two and “average” on the Team Strength Oscillator and Los Angeles dropped its last three games and “average down” status. The Mavericks have a +22 to +21 edge on the Power Ranks Indicator. Both teams are trending in games “under” the line and the score prediction is 114-109 in favor of Dallas with 60 percent confidence. The teams are very evenly matched in nearly every way and both are very stable according to the Team Volatility Oscillator. The Clippers won two of the three games between the teams this season and no game was close with the Clippers winning by nine and 19 points and the Mavericks winning their game by 18. I like Los Angeles at home in a game decided by four points or less, perhaps needing overtime to decide it.

Indiana Pacers versus Milwaukee Bucks

The Eastern Conference playoff seeding is tight with a mere three games separating number two from number seven. Indiana comes in as the 6th seed with a regular season record of 47-35. They were 26-15 at home and 21-20 on the road with a point differential of +3.1. The Bucks finished the regular season just 3-7 over the last ten and fell to the number three seed with a record of 49-33. They were excellent at home at 31-11 but a mere 18-22 on the road with a point differential of +2.6. The Bucks will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo who is still sidelined with injury. The Pacers are road favorites with odds of -118 to +102. Indiana is “average up” after going 4-2 over the last six, while Milwaukee is “ice cold down” after going 2-4 during the same span. The teams have been putting points on the board, trending in games “over” the line, and the score prediction is 121-111 in favor of Indiana with 65 percent confidence.  Milwaukee has been more consistently performing regarding their favorite/underdog status which further leans me towards Indiana. The Pacers won four of the five regular-season games between the teams this season. Without Antetokounmpo it will be decidedly more difficult to pull off a win, even at home. I like the Pacers in a game “over” the line.

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