NBA Playoffs 2014: Updated 1st-Round Bracket and Championship Odds

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NBA Playoffs 2014: Updated 1st-Round Bracket and Championship Odds
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The first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs started off with high expectations, and the battles between the toughest teams in the league have spawned elite action in both the Eastern and Western Conferences.

With many of the league’s top stars creating a buzz around basketball with their elite play—everyone from LeBron James to Kevin Durant are shining bright—the excitement surrounding the NBA postseason is through the roof.

Here are the first-round matchups and bracket, the championship odds and a preview of the most exciting series.

 

First-Round Bracket and Predictions
Eastern Conference
Home Team Record Away Team Record Predicted Winner
No. 1 Indiana Pacers 56-26 vs. No. 8 Atlanta Hawks 38-44 Indiana
No. 2 Miami Heat 54-28 vs. No. 7 Charlotte Bobcats 43-39 Miami
No. 3 Toronto Raptors 48-34 vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets 44-38 Brooklyn
No. 4 Chicago Bulls 48-34 vs. No. 5 Washington Wizards 44-38 Chicago
Western Conference
Home Team Record Away Team Record Predicted Winner
No. 1 San Antonio Spurs 62-20 vs. No. 8 Dallas Mavericks 49-33 San Antonio
No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder 59-23 vs. No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies 50-32 Oklahoma City
No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers 57-25 vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors 51-31 Los Angeles
No. 4 Houston Rockets 54-28 vs. No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers 54-28 Houston

Source: NBA.com

For a printable 2014 NBA playoffs bracket, check out NBAPlayoffsBracket.com.

 

2014 NBA Championship Odds
Teams Odds to Win NBA Title
Miami Heat +200
San Antonio Spurs +300
Oklahoma City Thunder +400
Indiana Pacers +600
Los Angeles Clippers +900
Houston Rockets +2000
Brooklyn Nets +2800
Golden State Warriors +2800
Chicago Bulls +4000
Portland Trail Blazers +4000
Toronto Raptors +6600
Dallas Mavericks +6600
Memphis Grizzlies +6600
Washington Wizards +15000
Charlotte Bobcats +25000
Atlanta Hawks +25000

Source: OddsShark.com

For those looking to make a wager on championship odds, this is not the time to take a huge gamble. The NBA title is always won by quality teams, so limit your wagers to the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder or Miami Heat.

 

Most Exciting First-Round Series: Oklahoma City vs. Memphis

While there were many fans who discounted the Memphis Grizzlies and their ability to be a viable contender in the Western Conference, a stunning 111-105 overtime win in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder woke everyone up.

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Oklahoma City may be the better team, but Memphis is playing with a mission.

Led by the elite low-post tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies have been able to assert their physical dominance and shut down the Thunders’ attempts at scoring points in the paint.

Even Memphis’ own Twitter account acknowledged the dominance of the two big men:

Credit also has to go to Grizzlies defensive specialist Tony Allen, who is guarding Kevin Durant during this series. While Allen has done a nice job limiting his chances, Durant told Royce Young of CBS Sports that he is still getting his looks:

Oklahoma City has the deeper roster and more talent overall, but the team must stay committed to playing smart defensive basketball. With Durant and Russell Westbrook ready to start an offensive charge at any moment, the Thunder must allow the defensive stops to open up the offense.

It is key that the plethora of players Oklahoma City rotates in at center and power forward stay committed to being physical with Randolph and Gasol. These players love to make contact, and the Thunder have to make their presence felt to rattle their opponents.

The pressure down low will open up lanes for Durant and Westbrook to run, and Oklahoma City will beat any team in transition. Despite the defensive pressure from Allen, Durant will still find his shots and knock them down.

As long as Westbrook doesn’t begin to shoot the ball too often and alienate Durant, the Thunder should be able to squeeze out a hard-fought seven-game-series victory over Memphis.

Series Prediction: Oklahoma City wins 4-3

 

*Stats via NBA.com.

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