The NBA Playoffs kicked off this weekend and it had it’s best Ratings in over 5 years, up 17%. Having a ton of Baseball games cancelled due to bad weather definitely helped, but the emergence of some “new blood” in this years mix surely helped. It also doesn’t look like a “sure thing” for the Warriors to hoist another Trophy, as this years race is as wide open as we’ve seen in years.

The Sixers made their first Post Season appearance in what seems like forever, as did the T’wolves, and the Warriors opened without superstar Curry. The Sixers, feeding off the Eagles success winning the Super Bowl, got past a shaky start early, to just blow away the Miami Heat. The Warriors played one of their best overall games in a month with an easy Opening win over the hapless Spurs, who come in with the worst Road record of any Playoff team this year (14-27). The T’wolves came up short, but they gave the top seeded Rockets all they could handle, losing by only 3 points, and proving even the last seeded teams have a shot at winning any of these upcoming games. It was even more shocking of a close game with the T’wolves sporting the second worst Road record at (17-24) and the Rockets having a league best Home record (34-7).

The biggest shocker, well to many, was the Cavs not only losing it’s Opener at Home, but also ending Lebron James 21 straight Round 1 wins streak. The Cavs were ice cold to start and the Pacers just never allowed a complete comeback as they never trailed the entire game. We had the Pacers plus the points in Game 1 as they lost to the Cavs in 4 straight last year, but this season they only finished 2 games behind in the standings to the Cavs. The Pacers are young and not afraid and the Cavs, well many new faces were playing in Playoffs for first time, and it showed. The Cavs will have their hands full in this Series.

From a “BETTING PERSPECTIVE”, the Favorites went (5-3) ATS and only two pretty good size Dogs (Pacers and Pelicans) won straight up. The Cavs losing straight up (on the money line) too really helped Sportsbooks as that killed off a ton of Moneyline Parlay bets. The Celtics/Bucks result really caused some great joy and some really crushing sadness as the game going into Overtime changed both the final tally on the Side bet and the Total bet. It went from a Bucks and Under ticket casher, to a Celtics and Over ticket casher.

LAST SECOND JUMPERS: Most of these Series are extremely Even matchups, so other then the Warriors or Rockets not pulling off a Series Sweep would be a real shock to the sharp NBA fans. I fully expect the teams that lost to all play very focused in Game 2’s around the circuit on Monday, Tues and Wednesday nights. The most pressure will be on the Trailblazers as they look to even their Series at 1-1 and can’t afford to drop 2 Home games and expect to win this Series. The Blazers will get their best effort and get that much needed Game 2 win, and head to New Orleans in what may be the most exciting Series of them all.

Gary Greene


*Gary Greene is a 30 year Winning Las Vegas Sports Bettor and one of the most respected Handicappers in the country, appearing in more Las Vegas Casino SportsBooks then any other Handicapper over the past 3 decades.