NBA playoff predictions - 3 Things we learned from bubble play

Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers warms up for a game.
Photo of Andrew Ortenberg

Andrew Ortenberg

NBA· 1 year ago

Show Bio

I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

The NBA playoffs are underway, after a thrilling period of seeding games. Each team had eight regular-season games after the restart in Orlando, and there’s a lot we learned during those games that we can use to inform our wagers moving forward. Here are three critical pieces of information that will help you with your postseason betting:

1) Centers are dominating against the Rockets

Houston is going with an extremely small lineup right now, with P.J. Tucker playing as their big. As such, opposing centers have been thriving against them. That’s been true even when they’ve played middling options, like Indiana’s Myles Turner or San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl in their last couple games. Turner had 18 and 12 while Poeltl had 14 and 12, with both playing just 28 minutes.

The Rockets have been having major issues with their rebounding, and I’ve been playing some player props on opposing centers as a result. The over on a lot of centers’ rebound props have value, and I think Steven Adams is in for a big first round playoff series against them. Oddsmakers haven’t caught up yet, so keep monitoring these props.

2) The 76ers aren’t necessarily worse without Ben Simmons

As soon as Simmons went down with his knee injury, the media started to write Philly’s obituary. Seemingly everyone has written them off, but I’m not so sure it’s the death blow many seem to think. They lost a couple games initially without him, but that’s because they were also playing without an injured Joel Embiid. When Embiid returned as a full-go in their final game before the playoffs against the Rockets, they won by 38.

With guys like Embiid, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Shake Milton, and Josh Richardson, they’ve still got plenty of offensive talent. Simmons has clashed with other members of the team, so I don’t think they’re going to miss him from a chemistry standpoint either. They’ve actually looked more fluid on offense without him the past handful of games, and the spacing is understandably a lot better. Everyone is sleeping on Philly at the moment, and there could be some value on them moving forward.

3) The Raptors could easily repeat

After Kawhi Leonard left in free agency, everyone just assumed Toronto would prove to be a one-year wonder. Instead they’ve been one of the best teams in the league yet again, and they arguably looked better than any other team during bubble play. They won seven of their eight games, with the only loss coming to Boston. They were seemingly the only team playing defense during the restart, only giving up more than 109 points twice.

They held the high-flying Lakers to just 92, and that kind of defense could easily carry them to another championship. Fred VanVleet is playing out of his mind, but oddsmakers continue to underrate them both in the futures market and game to game spreads. There’s going to be a lot of value on Toronto during these playoffs.

Want more picks and predictions for every NBA playoff game? Check out our NBA predictions tab!

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$50

Get $50 Free - No Deposit Required!

Register for a FanDuel Sportsbook account

Receive $50 in site credits to use on Sportsbook

No Deposit Required!

Winnings paid as CASH. 21+ and new players only. Full terms available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

DraftKings

$100

Win $100 if any team scores a point in any NFL, NBA, CFB, or CBB game!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account

Bet $1+ any NFL, NBA, CFB, or CBB game Money Line

If your team wins, you will be issued a $100 free bet bonus!

Must be 21+ located in AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WY or WV to play. Offer valid only for new customers. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new BetMGM account & deposit $20+

Bet $10 on your team to win Money Line

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$200

Bet $20, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit $20+

Bet $20 on your team to win Money Line (NFL or NCAAF)

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,001

Get a $1,001 Free Bet!

Register for a new Caesars Sportsbook account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,001

Win or lose, you'll receive a free bet matching your initial stake - up to $1,001!

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

BetAmerica Racing

$200

$200 Sign Up Bonus!

Fast, reliable and fast payouts - you'll have your money in 72 hours, if not sooner!

Proud history of providing safe, secure, and fun betting to American patrons

BetAmerica is owned by the iconic Churchill Downs Incorporated, home of 150 years of wagering history and the world-famous Kentucky Derby

Players who sign up using ‘BET200’ code will get a $200 sign up bonus. Offer valid for 7 days after registering on BetAmerica Racing product only. 21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$400

Get a $400 Risk-Free Bet on the Breeders' Cup!

Register for a new Twinspires account using offer code PICKS400

Place a bet on the Breeders' Cup

Receive a refund if your first bet loses up to $400

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.