NBA Playoffs Second-Round 2020 Odds, Picks & Betting Guide
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The first round of the NBA playoffs often features matchups between hopeful contenders and quasi-pretenders. The second round, however, looks to be a different story.
If the opening round continues to play out as it has so far, each of the four second-round showdowns will pit two teams with a case to not just advance through to the conference finals, but continue from there to the NBA Finals.
Note: When each series is set, we will update with odds and a preview, so bookmark this page.
Eastern Conference Semifinals Second-Round Odds & Picks
While the Western Conference is loaded from top to bottom, the Eastern Conference was more of a top-heavy collection. The top four teams were widely considered to have a better chance of advancement than their underdog counterparts.
The Heat (-310) and Celtics (-375) had the lowest chance of moving on in their first-round series – and neither lost a game in the opening round, sweeping through to the second round.
The Raptors also advanced via a first-round sweep, meaning the only Eastern team that wasn’t in position to advance 4-0 was the Milwaukee Bucks, the prohibitive favorite to win the conference and advance to the 2020 NBA Finals.
Celtics-Raptors Series Odds & Pick
Opening Series Odds: Raptors -152, Celtics +125
These teams are quite similar in pace and style. The Celtics averaged just one more point per game than the Raptors and allowed one more point. Each finished 26-10 at home. The Raptors were several games better on the road than their second-round foes, though the road team won all four in the regular-season series.
Boston took three of those games, including a 122-100 beatdown in the bubble, a game in which eight Celtics players scored at least nine points. At one point Boston led by 40. Only one of the four games was decided by fewer than 16 points.
What does it mean? It means an off-night turns into a huge win for the other side. The Celtics got up for big games vs. top competition – they had four losses by 10-plus vs. playoff teams and two were to the 76ers, who they just swept out of the postseason. The Raptors lost nine games by 10 points or more this season – all against playoff-level teams.
THE PICK: Celtics in 7
Bucks-Heat Series Odds & Pick
Opening Series Odds: Bucks -500, Heat +360
The Bucks didn’t look good in the regular-season bubble, but didn’t have much motivation to do so, wrapping up the No. 1 seed with room to spare. Concerns grew after a shocking Game 1 loss to the No. 8 Magic. But Milwaukee self-corrected, beating the Magic by 15, 14, 15 and 14 to advance.
If the Bucks have re-found their stride, that’s going to be a problem for Miami. Milwaukee led the NBA in scoring differential at home, on the road and overall, and have the ultimate difference-maker in Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Defensive Player of the Year and presumptive Most Valuable Player.
Miami had Milwaukee’s number early on. The Heat took care of the Bucks without Jimmy Butler in Game 2 of the season and dominated them 105-89 at home in March. But they also met once in the bubble – Miami built a 23-point lead but ultimately lost by 14 – a massive 37-point swing.
The Heat were far better at home, which offers concern. They got Milwaukee twice before the restart, but can they do it four times in Orlando?
THE PICK: Bucks in 6
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Latest Odds To Win the NBA Eastern Conference
All NBA odds current as of publication; check out the latest odds to win the NBA Eastern Conference here
Our first-round picks in the East: Bucks over Magic, Raptors over Nets, Celtics over 76ers and Heat over Pacers.
Western Conference Semifinals Second-Round Odds & Picks
The favorites have held serve so far in the powerful Western Conference, though it wasn’t always easy. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers bested the Trail Blazers in five games, but the Clippers needed six tough matchups to get past the Mavericks, and the Nuggets needed seven games – not to mention two 50-point scoring performances from Jamal Murray and a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer of Game 7 – to finally finish off the Jazz.
Now the Clippers face the Nuggets in one Western Conference semifinal. L.A. beat Denver in two of three regular-season meetings. Meanwhile, the Lakers were 1-2 against James Harden and Houston.
Clippers-Nuggets Series Odds & Pick
Opening Series Odds: Clippers -480, Nuggets +350
There isn’t much to make of the regular-season meetings between these teams. The Nuggets rolled to victory in Game 1, the Clippers pulled away in the fourth quarter for Game 2, and Game 3 was late in the bubble.
Kawhi Leonard was his amazing self as the Clippers bested the Mavericks in six games in the first round. But Paul George was not. The Clips didn’t need George to be on his game to get past Dallas, but Denver may be a different story. The Nuggets won when George didn’t play but lost the two games he did, and he averaged 25.5 ppg.
Denver has its own two score-at-will players in the awkward Nikola Jokic and the explosive Jamal Murray. Murray managed only 50 points in three total games vs. LAC this season; he had 50 points twice in the series vs. the Jazz. This is a different Jamal Murray.
Game 1 is less than 48 hours removed from the dramatic and draining Game 7 win by the Nuggets over the Jazz. Denver became just the 12th team in history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit. How much is left in the tank after that? The Clippers have a decided advantage there, and that could loom big for the favorite down the stretch.
THE PICK: Clippers in 6
Lakers-Rockets Series Odds & Pick
Opening Series Odds: Lakers -670, Rockets +460
The Lakers will be fresh after handling the Trail Blazers in five games in the opening round. The Rockets will be fresh off a draining Game 7 win over the Thunder. That certainly gives the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed a boost for the opener.
But what about the rest of the series? We won’t learn much from looking at the three regular-season meetings. The Lakers won the opener without Anthony Davis, but Houston won the rematch by 10 when Davis played. The teams met in the bubble, but LeBron James and Russell Westbrook each sat.
One huge key, will be the Rockets’ 3-point shooting. Houston scores more than half its points from beyond the arc. But the Lakers rank eighth in the NBA in opponent 3-point percentage defense, and ninth in points allowed on 3’s. The Lakers rank fifth in rebounding rate, the Rockets 30th. Houston must hit its shots.
Westbrook might be the key for Houston – he went off for 35 and 41 vs. the Lakers. On the flip side, James and Davis each had 30-point double-doubles vs. Houston. Star power will lead the way.
THE PICK: Lakers in 6
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Latest Odds To Win the NBA Western Conference
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Our first-round picks in the West: Lakers over Blazers, Clippers over Mavericks, Jazz over Nuggets and Thunder over Rockets.
Updated 2020 NBA Title Odds
|Los Angeles Clippers||+230|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+275|