Three of the big favorites to win the 2021 NBA Championship stumbled out of the gate in the opening weekend of the playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, and #1 seed Utah Jazz all lost their Game 1 match ups, yet oddsmakers still have faith that all three teams will win their respective playoff series and advance to the Western Conference semifinals, including the Lakers at -117 odds.

NBA Playoffs Series Odds Khris Middleton Milwaukee Bucks LA Clippers Lakers Jazz
Khris Middle of the Milwaukee Bucks pulls up for a game-winning shot in overtime to edge out the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their first-round series in the NBA playoffs. (Image: Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports)

The New York Knicks were the surprise team this season after they locked up the #4 seed. However, the Knicks looked more like the same old Knicks in an ugly loss against the #5 Atlanta Hawks.

Atlanta Hawks (1-0) -250 New York Knicks (0-1) +200
Boston Celtics (0-1) +1200 Brooklyn Nets (1-0) -3335
Washington Wizards (0-1) +950 Philadelphia 76ers (1-0) -2000
Miami Heat (0-2) +750 Milwaukee Bucks (2-0) -1430


LA Lakers (0-1) -117 Phoenix Suns (1-0) -106
Dallas Mavericks (1-0) +125 LA Clippers (0-1) -155
Memphis Grizzlies (1-0) +260 Utah Jazz (0-1) -345
Portland Trail Blazers (1-1) -162 Denver Nuggets (1-1) +130

Only two match ups played their second game. The Miami Heat fell behind 0-2 against Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat head back to South Beach for a chance to avoid a sweep.

The slow-starting Denver Nuggets lost Game 1 against the Portland Trail Blazers, but they won Game 2 to even the series.

West Quick Thoughts: Thrilling Blazers/Nuggets tied 1-1

#1 Utah Jazz vs #8 Memphis GrizzliesDonovan Mitchell was not happy the Jazz sat him for Game 1 when he was ready to return from a sprained ankle injury. The Jazz lost without Mitchell and fell behind 0-1. Despite the setback, the top-seeded Jazz are still favorites to win the series at -345 odds.

#2 Phoenix Suns vs #1 LA Lakers... The Suns and Lakers threw down in a very physical opening game. Chris Paul messed up his shoulder but he led the Suns to a big victory. Devin Booker led all scorers with 34 points in his postseason debut. LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for only 31 points in the loss. The Lakers looked sluggish in Game 1 especially Davis. The Lakers are down 0-1, yet still favorites to knock off the Suns at -117 odds.

#3 Denver Nuggets vs #6 Portland Trail Blazers… This funs series is taking the zig-zag route. The Blazers beat down the Nuggets in Game 1, but the Nugs crushed the Blazers in Game 2 to even the series. Damian Lillard exploded for 42 points with nine 3-pointers in Game 2. Dame averages 38 ppg so far, while Jokic averages 36 ppg. The Blazers are -162 odds to win the series, whereas the Nuggets offer solid value at +130 as the underdog.

#4 LA Clippers vs #5 Dallas MavericksLuka Doncic unleashed another spectacular performance with a triple-double with 31 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds as the Mavs seized a 1-0 lead. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 59 points in the loss including 3-for-14 from beyond the arc. The Clippers are also in a 0-1 hole, yet -155 odds favorites to win the series.

East Quick Thoughts: Knicks down 0-1, Bucks up 2-0

#1 Philadelphia 76ers vs #8 Washington Wizards… Tobias Harris scored a career-playoff high with 37 points for the top-seeded 76ers, who pulled away in the second half. Bradley Beal dropped 33 in the loss for the Wiz. The 76ers are -2000 odds to win the series and advance to the east semifinals.

#2 Brooklyn Nets vs #7 Boston Celtics… The Big 3 from Brooklyn combined for 82 points or 79% of the Nets total offense. Kevin Durant led all scorers with 32 points in the Game 1 victory. James Harden missed a triple double with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists. The Nets kept Boston’s main weapons in check. Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker combined for only 37 points on 11-or-27 shooting in the loss. The Celtics are a huge dog at +1200 odds to win the series.

#3 Milwaukee Bucks vs #2 Miami Heat… The Heat are now down 0-2 after losing by 34 points last night. Tyler Herro is off to a cold start shooting 2-for-15 in two games. In two home wins for the Bucks, the Greek Freak scored 51 points and hauled down 31 rebounds. Khris Middleton knocked down a game-winning shot in overtime to seal Game 1.

#4 New York Knicks vs #5 Atlanta Hawks… The Knicks played like crap, especially Julius Randle who missed 17 shots, yet still only lost by a bucket. Trae Young (32 points, 10 assists) destroyed the Knicks in the fourth quarter to lift the Hawks to a victory and 1-0 lead. The Knicks are +200 odds to defeat the Hawks and win their only second playoff series in the last 20 years.

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