NBA Picks for April 16th (Playoffs) – Spread Picks

Welcome to the second season – now we get to see just what teams are made of. No more resting starters, no more late-season coasting, no more “hiding” plays to save them for the Playoffs; no more messing around.

Both conferences are as up for grabs as any year in recent memory. The tops seed in each conference have their weaknesses – and according to Vegas aren’t even the favorites to make the Finals. Chicago will trying to make a nearly unprecedented leap from first round playoff ouster to NBA Champ.

Meanwhile, the veteran San Antonio Spurs, despite finishing with the best record in the NBA are limping gingerly into the post season, nursing injuries and a furious streak of losses that nearly saw their seven game lead for the top seed disappear. With Manu Ginobili possibly out for the entire series, there is little comfort around Spurs fans of the team being able to play equal to their #1 seed.

It is going to be a great Playoffs, and it all gets started today.

Computer betting system has three plays today… click here to get ‘em :)

Today’s Free NBA Picks:

Atlanta Hawks @ Orlando Magic -8

Despite the 4 vs 5 seeding matchup, there is a pretty big disparity between these two teams. Orlando finished eight games better at 52-30 and enter the post-season playing some of their better basketball of the season.

Meanwhile, Atlanta enters on a six-game losing streak and in a complete tailspin. Several of the late losses can be attributed to resting some starters, but not all six. The Hawks are also an oddity; a #5 seed who has a negative points for/against ratio, allowing 95.8 while scoring only 95.0.

The key for Orlando will be to keep the tempo up and the pace quick throughout the series. The Hawks gave them some trouble in the regular season by slowing things down into a grinding half-court slow-down game.

Fortunately for the Magic, they are finally healthy. When fully healthy, they have a deep army of shooter and scorers who can all play around the big man, Dwight Howard.

I like the Magic to play well in Game One at home, and send the Hawks a nice reminder of just how miserable last season’s second round playoff series was for them…

PICK: Orlando Magic -8

Portland Trailblazers @ Dallas Mavericks

This is going to be a troublesome matchup for Dallas. Portland has emerged as the trendy “upset” pick, which usually turns me away as a wagerer. However, in this case, the reason experts are flocking to Portland is because they are a better team right now than the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks posted a nine-game better record on the regular season, but for most of the season (and most of the last three or four seasons it seems…) Portland was battling significant injuries. You never like to see anyone get hurt, especially an emerging star like Brandon Roy, but in an odd way it may have been a blessing for the Blazers. In that time, LaMarcus Alderidge brought his game from a “very good” to an “elite” level. Now that Roy is back, they truly have two legit superstars, as well as a good starting five with Gerald Wallace added and a nice bench with Rudy Fernandez, Andre Miller and Wesley Matthews.

The Blazers are 11-5 sine the trade that brought in Gerald Wallace, including two wins over San Antonio, and wins against the Lakers and Thunder. The most significant wins over the stretch are the pair of victories they posted over these very same Dallas Mavericks.

I love Portland to win the series, and think they come out strong tonight making a statement on the road; stealing a win and quickly erasing Dallas’s homecourt advantage.

PICK: Portland Trailblazers +5

Computer betting system has three plays today… click here to get ‘em :)

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Chris Scheeren / Author

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