NBA playoffs: Cavs and Rockets second round favourites
After disposing of Milwaukee Bucks with a crushing 120-66 victory to clinch their first round playoff win in six games, Chicago Bulls travel to Cleveland on Monday, where they face the Cavaliers in Game 1 of their second-round series as heavy 4.5-point underdogs in NBA betting at Coral.
The No. 3 Bulls struggled against Milwaukee after jumping out to a 3-0 series lead. Milwaukee refused to roll over, posting back-to-back wins over Chicago for just the second time in their last 25 meetings before getting trampled by the Bulls in Game 6.
Those two SU defeats to Milwaukee are Chicago’s only losses in their last 10 outings, while going 7-3 ATS. However, the Bulls have struggled against the No. 2 Cavaliers this season, going 1-3 SU in four meetings during the regular season, including a pair of SU losses at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.
But, Chicago rewarded punters with ATS wins in their last two encounters with the Cavs, including a statement 113-98 win at home in February, while listed as two-point home underdogs.
The Cavaliers move on to the second round following their four-game sweep of the No. 7 Boston Celtics, going 3-1 ATS while winning by an average margin of 9.25 points
Cleveland have now won six straight SU, dating back to the final days of the regular season, 4-2 ATS, and are 18-4 SU in their last 22 contests overall.
However, their victory over the Celtics came at a heavy cost. Star forward Kevin Love will miss the remainder of the playoffs after suffering a shoulder injury in Game 4 that required season-ending surgery.
Despite the loss of Love, who recorded double-doubles in two of three games against the Bulls this season, the Cavs remain fancied to top the Bulls, as odds-on 4/9 series favourites.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Houston Rockets (-6.5)
Following their emotional last-second victory over defending champions San Antonio Spurs, which gave them a seventh-game first round series victory, LA Clippers will try to avoid a letdown when they visit Houston Rockets on Monday as 6.5-point underdogs.
In perhaps the most exciting series so far, the Clippers overcame a 3-2 deficit to hand the Spurs their first back-to-back SU losses in the playoffs for five years.
Road teams ruled throughout their series with the Spurs, winning four of the seven match-ups, while going 5-2 ATS.
As the lower seed in their series against No. 2 Houston, the No. 3 Clippers will be looking to extend that trend against a Rockets squad they have beaten in three of their last four road meetings at Toyota Center.
The Rockets enter Game 1 with SU wins in seven of their last eight, including a decisive first-round series win in five games over the Dallas Mavericks.
Led by shooting guard James Harden, who recorded an impressive 28.4 points per game against the Mavs, Houston have scored over 100 points in 12 of their last 13, including seven games of 110 or more points, pushing the point total OVER in nine of those contests.
With the point total playing OVER in five of Los Angeles’ last eight, it is not surprising to see the total in Game 1 pegged at an eye-popping 212.0.