2012 NBA Playoff Predictions: Handicapping The First Round Series

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The eight series in the NBA playoffs get underway this weekend with a slew of action on the hardwood. Check out how we stack up the NBA series prices and the NBA futures odds that are on the board for this weekend!

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls Series Preview & Pick

The Bulls are clearly the better team in this series, and the only question is whether the series is going to end up being a sweep or not. The 76ers just don’t have the offense to be able to keep up with a team that has a ton of talent on both sides of the court. Derrick Rose being back in the fold is going to make a heck of a lot of a difference in this series, and even if he only averages 25 minutes per game, it should be more than enough for Chicago to make quick, quick work of the worst team in the playoffs as we see it.

Chicago Bulls in 4 (-1350)

New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Series Preview & Pick

The Heat really can’t like the fact that they are stuck in this draw against the Knicks, knowing that they are facing a team that has the talent to be one of the best teams in the league. Carmelo Anthony is just on fire at the moment, and the Knicks are playing great team defense with Tyson Chandler manning the fort in the paint and Iman Shumpert doing the guarding on the outside. In the end though, we do think that Miami is going to find some way, whether by hook or by crook, to get the job done in this series, though we do think that New York is going to put up a heck of a lot more of a fight than most think.

Miami Heat in 6 (-900)

Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers Series Preview & Pick

Many are just writing off the Magic at this point, knowing that they are coming into this series without Dwight Howard, the heart and soul of their team. That being said, we think that Head Coach Stan Van Gundy is one of the best coaches in the NBA, and he can find a way to tighten the ropes around the Pacers, who are really playing for the first time in the playoffs as the “favored” team since Reggie Miller retired. Indiana has had no luck over the course of the last two years or so with Orlando, granted, with Howard playing in the lineup. That being said, the sharpshooters that the Magic have at their disposal might be able to win this series by themselves. Against better competition, this theory won’t work, but against Indiana, there is definitely a real chance that Orlando finds a way out of this series.

Orlando Magic in 7 (+600)

Dallas Mavericks vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Series Preview & Pick

Last year when these two teams met, the Thunder were the slight favorites to win the series and move on to the NBA Finals. Little did we know that Dallas’ defense was going to carry the way once again past the Lakers and the Thunder and all the way to the team’s first ever title. This is a different year, though. Fortunately, James Harden is healthy after taking that wicked elbow from Metta World Peace just a week ago, and he, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant make up the best scoring trio in the league. The experience that this Oklahoma City team has picked up over the course of the last two years should serve it well. We just don’t think that Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks have the horses this year to get the job done.

Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 (-500)

Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs Series Preview & Pick

The Spurs made the mistake last year of losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Grizzlies as the No. 1 seed, and we just don’t see how they are going to be making that same mistake again. The Jazz are a very young team, and many of the players that are going to be on the court are going to be playing in their first playoff series. Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan aren’t going to let San Antonio fail again, and even if they aren’t at their best, there are just too many players that have the ability to go off for big time scoring games to keep this team down. The strength in numbers is there for the Spurs, and though Utah has had a good history of sticking around with this team, we just don’t see it happening this time around.

San Antonio Spurs in 5 (-2150)

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Series Preview & Pick

The Lakers are certainly not a lock to get out of the first round of the playoffs this year. Metta World Peace is going to be sidelined for the first six games of this series after throwing that elbow at James Harden last weekend, and that is going to make the supporting cast for Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. The Nuggets are going to use their depth to try to counter the Lakers, and as we have seen in the past, it is possible to frustrate the heck out of this team, even here in the playoffs. We do think that LA is going to survive, but in the end, it is going to be a very tough series that goes the distance.

Los Angeles Lakers in 7 (-240)

Boston Celtics vs. Atlanta Hawks Series Preview & Pick

What an odd series this is! The Celtics are the better of these two teams, and they are the higher seed, but the Hawks are going to start off at home after finishing with a better record. This is really the closest thing to a tossup series that we have in the first round, and we still believe that the Hawks can find their way to three victories out of four games at home, along with scratching out a ‘W’ on the road at some point. The C’s have played a lot better ball in the second half of the season, but we think that window of opportunity for another title for Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce gets slammed shut at some point over the course of the next two weeks.

Atlanta Hawks in 6 (+165)

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Series Preview & Pick

The Grizzlies and Clippers fought it out for the No. 3, No. 4, and No. 5 seeds right until the end of the season, and in the end, the Grizz got the best of the Clips to get home court advantage. This has been a brutal travel schedule for LA, which has had to go from New York back to LA, and now over to Memphis in a relatively short stretch of time. To make matters worse, Blake Griffin, a man who really isn’t a great defender, is going to have to deal with Zach Randolph and the rest of the bigs for the Grizz in the paint. In the end, this just doesn’t look like a pretty series for Los Angeles, knowing that it has had an absolutely atrocious time trying to win big games on the road this year.

Memphis Grizzlies in 5 (-210)

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Cappersinfo.com Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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