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The NBA Playoffs start Saturday and we here at Cappersinfo want to keep you supplied with the best in NBA handicapping along with some winning free NBA playoff picks and other selections everyday. Four playoff series start Saturday and another four more start Sunday as the NBA Playoffs kick into gear. Here are two free picks are for Saturday from Andy “The Raven” Frank.
Matchup: Indiana Pacers at Chicago Bulls
Date: Saturday, April 16th, 1:05 ET
Location: The United Center- Chicago, Illinois
NBA Odds: Chicago -11.5
Over/Under Odds: 188.5
Game Analysis: This is the first game of the Chicago-Indiana series and an important measuring stick of what we can expect from the Bulls in the playoffs. Defense has gotten them to the number one seed which is a place no one really expected the Bulls to be even considered for in the East. On the season they allowed just 91.3 PPG, and only 89.8 PPG at home. Furthermore in division games not only were they 15-1 but they allowed just 86.3 PPG. Down the stretch in their last 14 games they allowed just one 100 point game. It is clear that team defense that has carried the Bulls to this point. They won 3 of 4 meetings with the Pacers earlier this year and I expect game 1 of the series to be a similar to how the regular season has gone this year for the Bulls. They will control tempo and play their brand of basketball which has worked very well for them. The Pacers do not like to play a slow tempo game and would prefer to score as many points in the transition game as possible. That won’t available much due to that being the Bulls strong suit keeping teams from getting out in the transition. They rebound extremely well and should have no trouble controlling the pace in game 1. The Pacers often are frustrated when forced to play in a half court tempo game and should find out Saturday afternoon why the team defense the Bulls play make them a threat to win it all. I am not looking to lay as many points as Chicago is favored by as it seems to be too many. However I am very interested in the total in this game which is set at 188.5. I like a play on under 188.5 in this game with the Bulls winning fairly comfortably.
Free NBA Playoff Pick: UNDER 188.5
Matchup: Atlanta Hawks at Orlando Magic
Date: Saturday, April 16th, 7:05 ET
Location: The Amway Center- Orlando, Florida
NBA Odds : Orlando -8.5
Over/Under Odds: 179.5
Game Analysis: This is a rematch from last year’s conference semi-finals. That series last year was historic, Orlando destroyed Atlanta in their four game sweep by more points then any other playoff team in NBA history had ever been beaten by. The 101 point differential in a four game sweep last year was not only an NBA record but cost Hawks former coach Mike Woodson his job. This year the same two teams meet in round one of the playoffs, however I don’t think we will be seeing the kind of dominance Orlando showed over Atlanta last year. In fact this year Atlanta comes into the game holding a 3-1 advantage in head to head meetings. Atlanta has won the last three times they have played even winning in Orlando by 6. The Hawks will find it hard to get away from questions about last year and what happened in the series with Orlando. The fact is this is a different year and completely different circumstances lead both teams to this point. Orlando is not in a position of strength this year and has to face a revenge minded Hawks team who won’t forget the beating they received last year. Atlanta has to placing a lot of importance on game 1 and feeling as if they can’t afford to get behind again against this Magic team. The line is a very fair 8.5 points, and I really like the Hawks to get the money with the points. I would not be surprised at all if Atlanta won the game outright. Rarely in the NBA is revenge a factor, however for Atlanta losing in the semis last year by historic proportions has to be more then enough motivation to not only keep game 1 close but to keep this entire series close. Take the points in game 1.
Free NBA Playoff Pick: ATLANTA +8.5