2014 NBA Playoff Bracket: Postseason Odds, TV Schedule and Picks

Alex KayCorrespondent IApril 18, 2014

Brooklyn Nets' Andray Blatche (0) and Alan Anderson (6) scramble for a lose ball with Toronto Raptors' Tyler Hansbrough (50) during an NBA basketball game on Monday, March 10, 2014 at Barclays Center in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
Kathy Kmonicek

The 2014 NBA playoffs are finally here and Saturday marks the start of what should be eight epic series. These best-of-seven matchups will ultimately chop the field of 16 title hopefuls in half.

This is an ideal time to familiarize yourself with all of the series, check out the odds for each team to advance to the conference semifinals and look over the schedule to pick out at least a few games you plan to watch.

Keep reading to find all that, plus a playoff bracket, picks for the first-round winners and much more. 

Round 1 Matchups, Odds and Predictions
Eastern Conference Matchups and OddsPrediction
No.1 Indiana Pacers (-560) vs. No.8 Atlanta Hawks (+480)Pacers in five
No.2 Miami Heat (-2000) vs. No.7 Charlotte Bobcats (+1200)Heat in four
No.3 Toronto Raptors (+110) vs. No.6 Brooklyn Nets (-130)Raptors in seven
No.4 Chicago Bulls (-190) vs. No.5 Washington Wizards (+170)Bulls in six
Western Conference Matchups and Odds
No.1 San Antonio Spurs (-675) vs. No.8 Dallas Mavericks (+550)Spurs in five
No.2 Oklahoma City Thunder (-350) vs. No.7 Memphis Grizzlies (+300)Thunder in six
No.3 Los Angeles Clippers (-350) vs. No.6 Golden State Warriors (+300)Clippers in six
No.4 Houston Rockets (-190) vs. No.5 Portland Trail Blazers (+170)Rockets in seven
RJ Bell of Pregame.com via Twitter (@RJinVegas)
2014 NBA Playoffs 1st Round TV Schedule
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
4/20(8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs1 p.m.TNT
4/23(8) Mavericks vs. (1) Spurs8 p.m.NBATV
4/26(1) Spurs vs. (8) Mavericks4:30 p.m.TNT
4/28(1) Spurs vs. (8) Mavericks9:30 p.m.TNT
4/30(8) Mavericks vs. (1) SpursTBDTBD
5/2(1) Spurs vs. (8) MavericksTBDTBD
5/4(8) Mavericks vs. (1) SpursTBDTBD
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
4/19(7) Grizzlies vs. (2) Thunder9:30 p.m.ESPN
4/21(7) Grizzlies vs. (2) Thunder8 p.m.TNT
4/24(2) Thunder vs. Grizzlies8 p.m.TNT
4/26(2) Thunder vs. Grizzlies9:30 p.m.ESPN
4/29(7) Grizzlies vs. (2) ThunderTBDTBD
5/1(2) Thunder vs. GrizzliesTBDTBD
5/3(7) Grizzlies vs. (2) ThunderTBDTNT
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
4/19(6) Warriors vs. (3) Clippers3:30 p.m.ABC
4/21(6) Warriors vs. (3) Clippers10:30 p.m.TNT
4/24(3) Clippers vs. (6) Warriors10:30 p.m.TNT
4/27(3) Clippers vs. (6) Warriors3:30 p.m.ABC
4/29(6) Warriors vs. (3) ClippersTBDTBD
5/1(3) Clippers vs. (6) WarriorsTBDTBD
5/3(6) Warriors vs. (3) ClippersTBDTNT
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
4/20(5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets9:30 p.m.TNT
4/23(5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) Rockets9:30 p.m.TNT
4/25(4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail Blazers10:30 p.m.ESPN
4/27(4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail Blazers9:30 p.m.TNT
4/30(5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) RocketsTBDTBD
5/2(4) Rockets vs. (5) Trail BlazersTBDTBD
5/4(5) Trail Blazers vs. (4) RocketsTBDTBD
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
4/19(8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers7 p.m.ESPN
4/22(8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers7 p.m.TNT
4/24(1) Pacers vs. (8) Hawks7 p.m.NBATV
4/26(1) Pacers vs. (8) Hawks2 p.m.TNT
4/28(8) Hawks vs. (1) Pacers8 p.m.NBATV
5/1(1) Pacers vs. (8) HawksTBDTBD
5/3(8) Hawks vs. (1) PacersTBDTNT
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
4/20(7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat3:30 p.m.ABC
4/23(7) Bobcats vs. (2) Heat7 p.m.TNT
4/26(2) Heat vs. (7) Bobcats7 p.m.ESPN
4/28(2) Heat vs. (7) Bobcats7 p.m.TNT
4/30(7) Bobcats vs. (2) HeatTBDTBD
5/2(2) Heat vs. (7) BobcatsTBDTBD
5/4(7) Bobcats vs. (2) HeatTBDABC
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
4/19(6) Nets vs. (3) Raptors12:30 p.m.ESPN
4/22(6) Nets vs. (3) Raptors8 p.m.NBATV
4/25(3) Raptors vs. (6) Nets7 p.m.ESPN 2
4/27(3) Raptors vs. (6) Nets7 p.m.TNT
4/30(6) Nets vs. (3) RaptorsTBDTBD
5/2(3) Raptors vs. (6) NetsTBDTBD
5/4(6) Nets vs. (3) RaptorsTBDTBD
DateMatchupTime (ET)TV
4/20(5) Wizards vs. (4) Bulls7 p.m.TNT
4/22(5) Wizards vs. (4) Bulls9:30 p.m.TNT
4/25(4) Bulls vs. (5) Wizards8 p.m.ESPN
4/27(4) Bulls vs. (5) Wizards1 p.m.ABC
4/29(5) Wizards vs. (4) BullsTBDTBD
5/1(4) Bulls vs. (5) WizardsTBDTBD
5/3(5) Wizards vs. (4) BullsTBDTBD


Most Likely Upset: Toronto Raptors (+110) over Brooklyn Nets

The Raptors may be the higher seed in this matchup, but they have been made a slight underdog in the opening-round series against Brooklyn. That has to be bulletin board material for this young team and might just make the difference in what will surely be a back-and-forth battle.

However, it might be tough to find space on that bulletin board, especially after the Nets openly disrespected Toronto in the waning days of the regular season. Tony Mejia of ProBasketballNews.com pointed out the obvious:

Brooklyn seemed content to lose its final two games, sliding into the No. 6 seed for this matchup instead of taking the No. 5 spot and earning a showdown with the Chicago Bulls.

While some may see that as a savvy move from an experienced squad, the Nets may have made a fatal mistake. The young Raptors may be devoid of much playoff experience (only two starters have participated in the postseason), but they have been playing as well as anyone in the conference after a rocky start to the 2013-14 campaign.

Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca pointed out that discrepancy in playoff experience between the starters on each team:

However, the Raptors cobbled together an Eastern Conference-leading mark of 41-22 since trading Rudy Gay and rank in the top 10 in terms of both offensive and defensive efficiency this season. This isn’t a team to take lightly, which is what the Nets may be doing since they basically elected to tank the season’s final games in order to play Toronto.

Brooklyn’s head coach, Jason Kidd, noted that the teams split the season series and an intriguing battle is on the horizon, as per Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

It will be a very hostile environment, they have great fans, and they’ve got a great team, a team that won the Atlantic and we had four pretty good games against them. We split the series with them, so it should be an exciting series.

Expect the Raptors to push the tempo and force the aging Nets to play their starters for extended minutes. Brooklyn will struggle to adapt in this scenario, especially considering some of their pivotal players have been on a minutes limit for quite some time.

Kevin Garnett, Brooklyn’s cagey big man, hasn’t been on the floor for more than 20 minutes in one game since prior to the All-Star break. He’s also missed plenty of time with back spasms, an issue that could flare up if he’s forced to log considerably more time than he has in the latter portion of the campaign.

The Raptors may not be brimming with experience, but the players can definitely run and set the tempo in this series. It’s going to be tough for Brooklyn to slog through seven games, and ultimately their elder players will tire out at the end of this war.

Prediction: Raptors in seven.