NBA Free Picks: NBA Playoff Picture and Games to Watch (4/8-4/10)

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Though we already know who 15 of the 16 teams will be in the playoffs (and will be sure to add No. 16 to that list by the time the weekend is said and done with), there is certainly plenty of jockeying for positioning going on to complete the NBA playoff picture. Check out the best games of the week and our NBA picks for how things are going to shake down this weekend!

NBA Matchup: Denver Nuggets @ Oklahoma City Thunder (Friday, 8:00 ET)
This one is so important, not so much because it will probably have an effect on the way that the seedings break down in the West, but because this really could be a playoff battle in the first round. OKC knows that it can still move up as high as No. 2, while Denver is more or less just stuck at No. 5, and a win by the Nuggs would basically ensure that these two teams will meet starting next weekend in the playoffs. The Thunder will get the job done on their home court though, keeping the pressure on both Dallas and LA.

NBA Odds: Chicago Bulls @ Cleveland Cavaliers (Friday, 7:30 ET)
The truth of the matter is that this game really isn’t all that sexy, but a win for the Bulls would ensure that they have home court advantage throughout the entire postseason in the Eastern Conference, and it would guarantee that they avoid both the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat until the Eastern Conference Finals. Don’t be shocked if Head Coach Tom Thibodeau and company lay the smack down early and just wrap up this top seed without any further issues.

NBA Betting Matchup: Los Angeles Lakers @ Portland Trail Blazers (Friday, 10:00 ET)
This is another one of these potential first round playoff battles. The Lakers still need three more wins to make sure that they are going to be the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference this year, while Portland is trying to move up as high as the No. 6 seed in the West. The Blazers have played well this year at home, and they’ll take down a slumping bunch from Tinseltown.

Pro Basketball Matchup: Chicago Bulls @ Orlando Magic (Sunday, 1:00 ET)
We already know that the Bulls are going to be playing the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs, and anything less than a sweep would be surprising. We also know that the Magic are going to take on the Hawks in the first round, and last year when these teams met, it was the most lopsided postseason series ever in NBA history. Expect tempers to be flaring in this probable second round playoff date. Orlando is in trouble without the suspended Dwight Howard, who is going to miss this one after picking up his 18th technical foul of the season earlier this week, and Chicago should make a huge statement for its 60th win of the year.

NBA Preview: Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat (Sunday, 3:30 ET)
Hide the women and children from this one, my friends. This is going to be a bloodbath. The winner of this game is going to have a huge advantage in the race for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. These two teams are level going into play on Friday night, and gaining the edge on the other is paramount, not so much for the sake of taking on some No. 7 seed instead of a No. 6, but to have home court advantage on the other in the second round of the playoffs. Dwyane Wade has been out of the lineup resting his sore thigh, but there’s no way that he’s missing this one. He and the Heat come up big and knock off the big, bad Celtics in South Beach.

Pro Basketball Betting Battle: Oklahoma City Thunder @ Los Angeles Lakers
Last year, the Thunder were knocked out of the playoffs because they couldn’t figure out how to take a game in Tinseltown. This year, things could be significantly different. Of course, these two teams aren’t likely foes in the postseason until the Western Conference Finals, but you can bet if this gap gets any tighter before Sunday between OKC and LA, these two are going to be scrapping for the full 48 minutes. The Thunder are going to keep this one close, but in the end, this is still the type of game that Kobe Bryant and company live for. If the No. 2 seed in the West hadn’t essentially been decided before this point, it will be when this one is said and done. Don’t be surprised if the Thunder hang inside of the number, though, as this one should be touch and go the entire way.

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the 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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