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NBA Playoff Round One Best Picks and Top Odds: Saturday, April 16

Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers top picks

The best time in the NBA season is finally upon us. The play-in tournament is almost over and the real NBA Playoffs are about to tip off. The best of the best NBA players will be duking it out for a career defining ring. The game is going to slow down, intensity will go up and players will battle it out to achieve the ultimate glory. Saturday’s NBA slate sees four matchups between eight teams and we have the two best picks from the slate.

Utah Jazz at Dallas Mavericks

The story of this game is an unfortunate one. The Dallas Mavericks, who had a surprise season, will be without super star Luka Doncic for this game. He had a calf injury in their last regular season game and will be without him for at least this game. He is far and away their best player and the Mavs will have a hard time winning without him. Luka averaged 28.4 PPG, 9.1 RPG and 8.7 APG. While they have some interesting role players, it’s going to be impossible for them to make up Luka’s production. With Luka, this series is a toss-up. Without him, the Jazz should roll.

The Jazz are not an awfully impressive team but they have the guys to beat the Mavericks. They play phenomenal defense led by center Rudy Gobert and have surrounded him with some good offensive players. The main offensive option will be Donovan Mitchell and he has a strong playoff pedigree. He is not afraid to shoot a lot and if he’s feeling it, this series will be over a lot sooner than others will expect. Take the Jazz -5 in a matchup against an inferior Luka-less Mavericks squad.

Utah Jazz -5


Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers

The Raptors are a trendy pick to win this series and while it makes sense, they don’t have the firepower. These teams are both slow-paced squads and the Raptors play great defense. The Sixers are more offensively focused and it’s set up to be a great series. That being said, Philly should win and cover this game. The Raptors have no one for Joel Embiid and the MVP candidate should dominate. If the Sixers are able to get anything productive from James Harden, they will also be able to win. Essentially, if Harden doesn’t shoot way too much and ruin the flow of the offense, the Sixers should be able to get by the Raptors.

This is going to be a tight series. Both teams have distinct home court advantages and that could be the difference. Philly is a notoriously difficult place to play and if the Sixers are able to play well, they will feed off their crowd and shut down Toronto. In game one, Philly fans will be quite excited and make it hard for Toronto to get going. Take Philadelphia -4.5 in a game where they should win comfortably.

Philadelphia 76ers -4.5


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