East predictions, bracket, schedule, odds

The first round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs is upon us! With many fascinating matchups set, the Eastern Conference playoffs will kick off on Saturday when the Raptors play the 76ers.

But there’s also plenty of intrigue elsewhere in the East with the Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and defending champion Milwaukee Bucks.

With two of the most competitive series in the playoffs taking place in the East, plus the 76ers-Raptors series, the Nets take on the Celtics, look for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum and (maybe ) Ben Simmons to headline a star-studded roster of players for the Eastern Conference playoff series.

Check out the NBA championship odds for each team here.

NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs First Round Predictions

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving defending against the Cleveland Cavaliers
fake images

No. 1 Heat vs. No. 8 Hawks/Cavaliers

No matter who the Heat face, they have far more talent than any team. Trae Young is playing great basketball, so they could steal a game or two. If it’s the Cavs, the Heat should sweep.

The Heat advance and are ready for a date with the Sixers or the Raptors in the second round.

No. 2 Celtics (-142) vs. No. 7 Nets (+120)

Odds provided by fan duel

Probably the most exciting series of all in the first round. The Brooklyn Nets made quick work of the Cavaliers in the inning game. The Celtics could have avoided this matchup if they wanted to. However, with their dominance over the Grizzlies in the final game of the regular season, they made it clear: They want the Nets.

Plus, the Nets’ ‘Big Three’ have yet to play together in an NBA game. Ben Simmons has played in zero games since a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks last year in the playoffs.

The BetMGM logo

Claim a risk-free first bet of up to $1,000

Only new clients. You must be over 21 years old. AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY only. Full terms and conditions apply.

Caesars Sportsbook Logo Square

Get up to $1,100 in first bet insurance

Only new users, over 21 years old. Only NY, CO, DC, IA, IN, IL, MI, NV, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV. Full terms and conditions apply.

The WynnBet logo

Bet $10 Get $200 Free Bets

21+. Only new clients. Only NY, AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV. Terms and conditions apply

The PointsBet logo

Get two risk-free bets up to $2,000

Only new players, over 21 years old. Available only in CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV. Full terms and conditions apply.

The Bet Rivers logo

100% match on first deposit up to $250 with promo code NYPBONUS

Only new players, over 21 years old. NY, NJ, MI, AZ, VA only. To participate in this promotion, the player must make a first deposit (of at least $10). Full terms and conditions apply.

FanDuel Logo Square

Claim a $1,000 risk-free bet

21+. Only new clients. Only NY, AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV. Terms and conditions apply

However, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Thursday that the Nets are grooming Simmons to return in Game 4, 5 or 6 of this series. At the time of this writing, the Nets are not the favorites to win this series, although they opened as betting favorites.

The public is on the Celtics, but I’m on the Nets. The Nets are in the top 10 on offense and top 10 on defense since Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup full-time. Potentially having Ben Simmons in the fold just to play defense and cut to the basket is a very valuable asset.

BetRivers has the Nets to win the series in six games at +400 and seven games at +600 respectively. I’ll try both, but my official prediction is Nets at seven. Of course, he could also play it safe and lead the Nets to win the series by any margin at +120.

The winner gets a date with the defending champion Bucks below.

Round One Series Prediction: Nets at 7 +600 (BetRivers)


Check out the best sports betting sites and apps


No. 3 Bucks (-1100) vs. No. 6 Bulls (+700)

Milwaukee gets the most lopsided matchup in the playoffs. Frankly, they could probably win this series without Giannis playing big minutes. I expect a five-game series here from the Bucks, who have a glut of talent on the roster. They seek to repeat and rest the Brooklyn Nets, who will have a long series against Boston.

The Bucks will face either the Celtics or the Nets in a tough matchup in the second round either way.

Round One Series Prediction: Bucks win in 5 games +175 via BetMGM

NBA Round One Series Betting Breakdown & Predictions
Ben Simmons (then of the Philadelphia 76ers) guards Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks in game 7 of the 2021 Eastern Conference semifinals
fake images

No. 4 76ers (-186) vs. No. 5 Raptors (+150)

Odds provided by BetRivers

The second most intriguing series of the four in the Eastern Conference. The Philadelphia 76ers are bleeding. They have the worst transition defense in the NBA since James Harden came in and they just don’t play well against good teams.

The Raptors have Pascal Siakam who is playing the best basketball of his career. However, he struggled a lot in his last few playoff performances. He may have turned a corner this year, but I can’t forget that he saw steps when they won it all with Kawhi Leonard. I’ll take the Sixers to win this one, though I’m not sure how much further they’ll go.

The winner of this series faces the Miami Heat, seeded number one.

Round One Series Prediction: 76ers win in 6 games +470 (FanDuel)

Leave a Comment