2012 NBA Playoffs Predictions and Preview
The 2012 NBA Playoffs are set, and we are finally down to our best sixteen teams to decide who will take down the NBA Championship this year. It has been a bit of a crazy year that started with the NBA Lockout, and also featured quite a few serious injuries to some big named players. Some teams were able to prevail through the injuries and still get into the playoffs, while other teams saw their seasons come apart at the seams due to the tough grind of the compacted 66 game season. With the final seeding's set though, that means that it's time to look at the match-ups and also make some predictions about which teams could make a deep run. I'm going to list four teams who I could potentially see winning it all this year, with the first two being the favorites, and the last two being the "sleeper picks".
» Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls have done it all this year. They've put together the best record in the NBA, and for a good bit of time they did it without their best player in point guard Derrick Rose. Rose missed some time due to an injury, but seems to be ready to go for these playoffs. If Rose is healthy, this team is talented across the board and they are going to be tough to beat in a seven game series. I don't see a team out there that can beat the Chicago Bulls when they are on their game, and they are one of the most well-coached teams out there as well. I love the Bulls and even though they are one of the favorites to win it all at +275, I still like this team to get the job done.
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» Oklahoma City Thunder
If there is one player in the NBA who I refuse to bet against, it is Kevin Durant. Durant is a superstar and he has the ability to do pretty much anything at any time that he wants. While Lebron James may be more of the "freak athlete", Durant has a better jump shot, and he literally aches to have the ball in his hands at the end of the game. The Thunder are young and talented, but here's to hoping that their inexperience doesn't come back to get them here. I think with their three headed monster of Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden, they could seriously contend this year. Their odds to win it all are currently +275 as well.
» Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers are an interesting team, and they are coming in as one of my sleeper picks to win the 2012 NBA Championship. They are led by two All-Star's in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and can also shoot the three ball incredibly well as a team. If they are able to keep their composure late in games (which Paul is excellent at doing) then I think they could surprise quite a few people and make a deep run this year. The Clippers will be a tough out in a seven game series as well, and Griffin and Paul are a tough one-two punch to slow down. Betting on the Clippers currently will pay out odds of +2000.
» Indiana Pacers
No one has said much about the Indiana Pacers to this point. I really like their first round match-up against the Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic, and I think that they have young talent all over the board. Their starting lineup features the likes of Danny Granger, David West, Paul George, and Roy Hibbert, and they also have some depth on their bench that could cause some problems for quite a few of the other teams in the playoffs as well. While they may be young and inexperienced, that doesn't mean that they won't be able to not only knock off the Magic, but also potentially make a nice run through these playoffs if they get the right match-up. The odds on the Pacers are very nice right now at +3000, and they are definitely a sleeper.
The 2012 NBA Playoffs kick off on Saturday in the afternoon, so make sure to get your bets in one the game 1's on Saturday early so you don't miss any of the action!