Second Round Should be an Instant Classic

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The second round should be an instant classic and the winner should be determined fairly quickly, depending on seeding. The bottom nine teams in the region are all pretty well known and beaten; the top 8 are pretty well known and a lock to advance. However, there are some truly crafty teams that advance from the second round. Last year Washington was a lock to go to the Elite Eight, but they broke the Wooden Award case with a Cinderella run. This year Connecticut, California, Marquette and even Arkansas are in the mix for the Final Four.

Washington should be an impressive victor and a stiff test for #1 pick in the East, Kansas. TheGamblers’ bracketmakers have rewarded this source for picking the Jayhawks with an easy bracket bet. We favor Washington in every basketball betting angle in the second round. The wise guys in Las Vegas have known the potential path of this season for quite some time, however it will be their expert knowledge that helps determine the come out an shock.

In the Western Athletic Conference the series should be Washington vs. #4 Southern California. #5 Southern Cal won the WAC regular season title and hosts Utah in the first round of the Playoffs. You can expect a close back and forth series with Southern Cal making the Championship run with a record of 12-0. The Cougars are the hottest team in the conference and the sole possessors of the best record in the Pac Ten. Southern Cal is 12-1 in their last 13 games with home wins over Arizona, UCLA and Cal. The advanced stats clearly favor Washington.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Phonebook: We don’t mind so much taking the Lakers as the West is still strong and the seats are comfortable. Nonetheless, we will likely see a Wow factor from Kobe in the second round. Memphis will have to have their fullcourtcourtcourtcourtcourt pressure on Washington. Vince Carter is the key averaging 28 minutes a game. If the guards are not tight, get out of the gate Suns. If they are, the Lakers can hurt the Suns.Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers (8:00 ET)

The Southwest Division champion Golden State is the early favorite with 31/1 odds to win the NBA title, followed by Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili at 6/1, Tim Duncan at 9/1 and the L.A. Clippers at 13/1. The Spurs are known for picking difficult second round games against inferior opponents that often go under the total. San Antonio is just 10-20-1 ATS in the second round all season.

The only team in the Western Conference to have dramatic success in the second round is the L.A. Clippers. In defeating Grade school competition on June 12, the Clippers held their own against the Lakers, Clippers in MLB and the Suns in the first round. All four games went over the total with the exception of the Lakers win.

The Suns were theKings’ early #2 seed and were a good +8 unit favorite the night they took Game 1 in Washington. That may have been the tip of the iceberg. They have been an impressive +1.5 unit favorite the past four games with home wins over the Nuggets, Kings, Pacers and Rockets. If the Suns stay healthy, they can upset anybody.

It’s crunch time again in the Atlantic Division as the deadline is fast approaching. All three of the teams in the East semi-finals are within ½-point of each other. Let’s take a look at the direct match-ups for the first round. First, the Pistons will likely continue to struggle as they are playing the Cavs, who will likely be the Eastern Conference’s best team. Detroit is likely going to lose again and the Cavs could emerge with the division crown.

In the East, the match-up to watch will be whether or not the Nets can stop the Pistons. The Nets have been a very streaky team this season, which has accurately been the reason why they are a long shot for the conference crown. After a defeat in Game 1, things could be about to get even more complicated.

Nevertheless, at 22-21, the Nets are a decent enough bet against the Pistons. Cleveland also enters the playoffs with a fairly delicate task, as they are the Cleveland team that has the best record in the NBA (62-19). Like the Pistons, the Cavs are an improved team, one that will be the favorite in just about every game they play, if not the outright winner.

For Detroit, it is pretty obvious they are the favorite. The Cavaliers have been a very strong team all season, especially on the road where they stand 18-6 SU, 12-9 ATS. That being said, Detroit is likely in the best position to win the conference despite their recent slide.

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