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2022 NBA Playoffs Round 1 series odds & best bets

Celtics vs Nets NBA betting

The NBA Playoffs are days away and it’s truly a season where anything can happen. There have been some clear-cut favorites, but it’s still a lot more ambiguous than the days of Cavs vs Warriors. While the playoff field isn’t yet complete due to the NBA Play-In Tournament, a lot of the matchups are set. And that means you can bet on them. Here are the three best series picks for the first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Chicago Bulls vs Milwaukee Bucks

This series should be relatively easy for the Bucks. While it is risky to bet on a sweep, 27.81% of first round series have resulted in a sweep since 1947. Ultimately, at least one or two matchups will finish in a sweep this season. The most likely sweep scenario is this series. The Bucks are defending champions and while they have looked worse this year, Milwaukee returned largely the same team. With Giannis Antetokounmpo cooking the way he has been lately, it will be hard for anyone to knock off the Bucks. As long as the Bucks don’t have a game where they just can’t hit any three point shots, this sweep bet should hit. Take the Bucks to sweep the Bulls in the most lopsided first round matchup.

Beyond the Bucks being a good team, the Bulls just aren’t very talented. The Bulls overachieved for a large portion of the season but still finished with a 46-36 record. Despite being the one seed earlier in the season, the Bulls are 8-15 since the all-star break. Their magic has died down and they are playing bad basketball. Despite a resurgent DeMar DeRozan, they do not have a strong supporting cast and will have no answers for Giannis. As long as the Bucks are motivated, they will make quick work of the Bulls and should dominate them in this series.

Milwaukee Bucks 4-0


Toronto Raptors vs Philadelphia 76ers

This is a very heavy line, but it still represents good value for the Sixers. Although these teams are equal on paper, only one of them has Joel Embiid. He will be a force to deal with for the Raptors and while they have a good team defense, they will have a tough time slowing down Embiid. Currently, the Raps are a trendy pick to defeat the Sixers, but the Philly hate has gone too far. While this could be a tough series for Philadelphia, they should take care of the Raptors and move on to the second round.


The way to beat Philadelphia will be to play at a high pace and make Embiid run the floor. When that happens, Embiid is a less effective player and he has dealt with conditioning problems in the past. Unfortunately for Toronto, they like to play slow. That plays into Embiid and Philly’s hands and could be the difference in this matchup. Beyond Embiid, the Sixers also have James Harden and while he hasn’t looked elite, he can still win a game or two by himself. If Harden plays well, this series won’t be close. Even if he doesn’t, the 76ers should win this matchup and likely meet the Heat in the next round.

Philadelphia 76ers to win


Brooklyn Nets vs Boston Celtics

This line is very disrespectful to the Celtics. They are the no.2 seed and have been the best team in the Eastern Conference over the past couple of months. Yes, the Nets have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, but it won’t be enough. The Nets play horrible defense, and that allows opponents to stay in games. Even if KD and Irving combine for 65 points a game, they do not have a lot of other scorers and the Celtics defense will be able to limit them even further. The Celtics don’t have the star power the Nets have, but they have a way better team.

The Celtics will likely be without a key player for a majority of this series in Robert Williams. That will hinder their defensive ability, but it won’t be enough for them to lose this series. They have a couple bigs like Al Horford and Daniel Theis that will need to step up, and they likely will. As good as the Nets offense is, their defense is that bad. They simply cannot hold onto leads, and that will keep Boston in each and every game. Sure, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will win a game or two by themselves, but over the course of the series, Celtics stars Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum will prove too much. Take the Celtics to win this series in a matchup where most betting sites are severely underrating them.

Boston Celtics to win


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