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April 19, 2017
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00:05 – Under 205.5 Total Points Indiana Pacers vs Cleveland Cavaliers
00:05 – Over 214 Total Points Washington Wizards vs Toronto Raptors
02:05 – Minnesota Timberwolves +12 Point Spread vs Houston Rockets
02:05 – Over 206 Total Points Utah Jazz vs Oklahoma City Thunder
01:05 – Boston Celtics +6 Point Spread vs Milwaukee Bucks
00:05 – Toronto Raptors -2.5 Alternative Point Spread vs Washington Wizards
02:05 – Minnesota Timberwolves +17 Alternative Point Spread vs Houston Rockets
After an exciting 82 game regular season the NBA Playoffs are finally here! Is anyone capable of stopping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern conference? Will the Houston Rockets live up to the hype and surprise the Golden Sate Warriors? Will we finally see someone else other than the Cavaliers and Warriors in the NBA Finals?
We answer all of those questions in our NBA Playoffs 2018 predictions!
Surprise surprise, for the first time in 3 years the best record in the NBA does not belong to the Golden State Warriors!
The Houston Rockets have been the talk of the season all year long and for good reason. Led by MVP candidate James Harden and Chris Paul the Rockets have captured the number 1 seed in the West with 67 wins and just 15 losses.
They will go against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are finally in the playoffs after a 13 year drought. They needed OT at home on Wednesday night to secure a playoff spot in a duel with the Nuggets.
It promises to be a high paced series between these two. The Rockets owned the T’Wolves in the regular season and failed to put 120 pts on the board all but once in 4 meetings.
Minnesota simply doesn’t have enough fire power to compete with the Rockets who outscore teams by 13.6 points per 100 possessions when both the Beard and CP3 are on the floor together.
Betting Tip: Houston Rockets to win 4-0 at 6/4 with bet365
The series between the Warriors and Spurs will be a battle of teams missing their two best players as both Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard will be out.
San Antonio has had plenty of time to adjust to life without Kawhi, but Golden State fans should be worried with arguably their best player not being available here.
The Spurs have the advantage in coaching here, but when you have players like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on your team you still have a pretty good chance of advancing.
Golden State won the regular season series 3-1 with only one of their wins being close games. With a rejuvenated LaMarcus Aldridge I see San Antonio taking at least two games here, but not more than that.
Betting Tip: Golden State Warriors to win 4-2 at 7/2 with bet365
Two surprise packages will meet in the 1st round here as the Trail Blazers face off with the Pelicans. Both Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis are in the discussion for the All-NBA 1st team this season and I expect both of them to be at the top of their game in this series.
It finished 2-2 in the regular season series with both teams winning one road game and one home game.
Having home court advantage could be crucial here, Portland are really good at the Moda Center this season where they’ve won 28 of their 41 games.
Losing Demarcus Cousins was a big blow for the Pelicans season, but with Rajon Rondo being in solid form lately I can see the Pels pushing this series to the distance.
Betting Tip: Portland Trail Blazers to win 4-3 at 3/1 with bet365
Russell Westbrook has once again made history as the Thunder guard has averaged another triple double in the regular season.
The reigning MVP collected 20 rebounds in the win over Memphis on Wednesday to finish the season with 25.4 ppg, 10.1 rebs and 10.3 assists per game.
Oklahoma City will have a favorable match-up against the Utah Jazz in the first round. The Thunder won 3 of 4 regular season games and with the likes of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony being on the team, the talent level is there.
Utah will have to rely on rookie Donovan Mitchell to lead them, which is not something you’d want entering the playoffs. Defensive player of the year candidate Rudy Gobert will cause problems inside the paint for Westbrook, so he will have to rely a bit more on his teammates to score in this series.
We should see some low scoring games in this series, since that’s been the main focus of the Jazz this season. With that approach I can see them getting 1 or maybe even two games here, but OKC Thunder to come out of this round in the end.
Betting Tip: Oklahoma City Thunder to win 4-2 at 5/1 with bet365
The Toronto Raptors have made significant improvements compared to last season. They’ve recorded 59 wins in the regular season which is an all-time high for their franchise and as a result they enter the post season as the number one seed.
In the first round they will face the number 8 seed Washington Wizards, who have dropped 4 places compared to last year.
Depth and bench scoring has been the key for Toronto’s season so far. They rank 4th in bench scoring with 41.7 ppg and and lead the league in efficiency with 51.4.
With that sort of weapon you really have to fancy their chances against the injury riddled Wizards.
John Wall did recover from his knee injury and will be ready and although the regular season series ended 2-2, I can’t see the Wizards taking more than 2 games from the Raptors in the first round.
Betting Tip: Toronto Raptors to win 4-2 at 7/2 with bet365
It was 2-2 in the regular season match-up between the Celtics and Bucks. We expect the 1st round of the playoffs to be just as if not even more unpredictable.
Boston is missing a handful of players through injury. Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Daniel Theis and Marcus Smart are all out, so the hopes of the C’s post season lies on the back of Al Horford, 2nd year guard Jaylen Brown and rookie forward Jayson Tatum.
The Bucks don’t have similar injury problems, their main concern entering this series is defending. They are allowing 110.3 points per game in their last 26 games which is only 24th in the NBA.
During that span they’ve only won 12 games despite having one of the biggest young talents in the league on their roster Giannis Antetokounmpo.
I still see Boston edging this one out, despite being without their best player. Horford, Brown and Tatum have proven they can carry the load without Kyrie and they should take the 1st round in 7 games vs the Bucks.
Betting Tip: Boston Celtics to win 4-3 at 10/3 with bet365
The Philadelphia 76ers enter the Playoffs as the hottest team in the league with 16 wins in a row and will face the 6th seed Miami Heat.
All 4 regular season games between these two were tight and decided by just 9, 1, 2 and 6 points which means we could be in for a tight series here.
It’s still unclear if Joel Embiid will play in this series as he’s still recovering from a facial injury, he will present a huge nightmare for Miami if he’s able to go.
Although they lack playoff experience as a team, the Sixers did sign a couple of veterans this season which added another element to their young and talented core.
Leading Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons should also have the advantage over Miami’s point guard Goran Dragic.
Depending on Joel Embiid’s health, I see this series going 6 games max and Philadelphia coming out on top in the end.
Betting Tip: Philadelphia 76ers to win 4-2 at 7/2 with bet365
After a turbulent regular season, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are happy that the playoffs are here and they finally have something to play for.
Indiana won’t be an easy opponent by any means, but when it’s playoff time nobody can stop LeBron James in the Eastern Conference. The most likely runner up for MVP honors this season is averaging 27.5 ppg, 8.6 rebs & 9.1 assists per game and as much as I like the Pacers roster I just cannot see anyone on their team being able to stop him.
Victor Oladipo surprised everyone this season and is most likely to win the “Most Improved Player” award with his jump to 23.1 ppg. Indiana did beat Cleveland 3-1 in the regular season, but I wouldn’t read too much into that as it’s going to be a different story in the playoffs.
Having home court in this round will be huge for the Cavs and I see them taking care of business here, although Indiana could very likely grab a game or two.
Betting Tip: Cleveland Cavaliers to win 4-1 at 9/4 with bet365
Never in the history of the NBA have the same two teams met for 4 consecutive times in the NBA Finals.
LeBron James will be aiming to make his 9th consecutive finals appearance and I really don’t see anyone in the East stopping him. In recent years the Raptors were able to take a couple of games from him, but as we saw in the regular season when LeBron James is fully engaged there’s really not much anyone can do in the East. Team like the Philadelphia 76ers could make some noise depending on injuries, but with a serious lack of playoff experience they cannot be considered a serious threat to the Cavs just yet.
Out West the Warriors will probably have the toughest path to making the finals since their dominant run started 4 years ago. Houston has been a force to be reckoned with this season and with Stephen Curry missing the first round, we can only speculate how healthy he will be when these two meet in the Conference Finals. Assuming Curry is healthy, the Warriors should have just enough to book a place in the finals for the 4th year in a row. The OKC Thunder are the dark horse in the West, purely because of the amount of talent accumulated on that team.
With a few minor bumps on the road, I see the Cavaliers making it out of the East. If the Warriors are healthy they should edge out the Rockets just barely which would give us Warriors vs Cavs Part 4.
In last year’s finals the Cavs didn’t have much chance. Adding Kevin Durant proved to be too much to handle even for LeBron James and Golden State ran away with it quite easily in the 4-1.
If the Rockets take the Warriors to 7 games, fatigue might also be a factor in this year’s finals so I’m expecting a bit more competitive series than last year.
However, it’s difficult to look past the Warriors with their big 4. Cleveland takes 2 games from them and the Warriors retain the crown as the best team in the NBA.
April 19, 2017
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