Wednesday, April 17

Toronto Raptors vs Orlando Magic, 10 am
Raptors -10

Toronto Raptors

It was a trademark poor start to the playoffs for Toronto, narrowly falling to the #7 seed Magic in Game 1. Kyle Lowry was the main storyline in their defeat, going 0/7 from the field and scoring 0 points in 34 minutes. On the positive end, starting forwards Pascal Siakam and Kawhi Leonard did combine for an impressive 49 points and 15 boards.

Orlando Magic

After the infamous Dwight Howard trade in 2012, it turns out Orlando won a playoff game before the Lakers. DJ Augustin was the star man in this one, dropping 25 points and 6 assists, including a nice step back game-winner. 6 other Magic players scored in double figures in what was very much a strong team display.

Prediction: Raptors -10

Laying 10 points here is definitely a premium on the Raptors, that said I still think they’re good value. They’re definitely the better team here and have the motivational edge. As long as Kyle Lowry performs at his normal level, I expect a double-digit home win.

Denver Nuggets vs San Antonio Spurs, 11 am
Nuggets -6.5

Denver Nuggets

Nuggets doubters enjoyed some early vindication on Sunday afternoon after a surprise opening home loss to the Spurs. This was despite another solid triple-double from Nikola Jokic, who looked like he belonged in the playoffs. Denver will need a better performance from Jamal Murray, who went 8-24 from the field with no assists.

San Antonio Spurs

It was a dream start for San Antonio on Sunday as they’ve now managed to take back home court. Derrick White impressed in the series opener, dropping 16 points, 5 assists, and a mouth-watering dunk. While he was somewhat inefficient, DeMar DeRozan opened the campaign with a solid stat line of 18 points, 12 boards, and 6 assists.

Prediction: Nuggets -6.5

We’re paying a premium on Denver in this spot, but I just can’t see them falling behind 2-0. They have a strong advantage in the starting lineup and should see more assertive performances from Jokic and Murray here. Even with a 6.5-point line, improved effort and execution should be enough to cover.

Portland Trail Blazers vs Oklahoma City Thunder, 12:30 pm
Under 222

Portland Trail Blazers

The Blazers continued their strong home record this season with a solid game 1 victory. Damian Lillard led the way as per usual, hitting some very deep threes en route to 30 points and 4 assists. Enes Kanter was also strong on the interior, going for 20 points and 18 boards of his own.

Oklahoma City Thunder

It was an unfortunate start to the playoffs for OKC, who’ll feel as though they let one slip away here. Russell Westbrook continues to mess around and notch triple doubles, going for 24 points, 10 boards, and 10 assists. Paul George’s health still remains a question as he shot just 8-24 from the field last time out.

Prediction: Under 222

A strong trend this season has been backing the under in games where OKC are underdogs. With a relative lack of offensive weapons on both sides, I can see this being another low-scoring affair. Although the line has shot up since the opener, I’m confident in the under here.