2022 NBA Playoffs Predictions for Round 1 – Off to a Great Start

  • Upsets, sweeps, and unexpected victories in Round 1?
  • This postseason is a reminder why the regular season is so different
  • These 2022 NBA Playoffs predictions for Round 1 contain everything
  • With only a couple weeks in, the playoffs are proving to be most entertaining
2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1

The 2022 NBA playoffs are proving to be highly entertaining and exciting, making sure that the league lives up to its motto, “That’s Game”. Although it could be suited just as much for one of its previous slogans “Where Amazing Happens”. As you might have already guessed from the title, we’ll be focusing on Round 1 of the playoffs in this article. More precisely, on each series with the 16 best teams in the league and who will advance to the second round. These are our 2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1.

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There has been plenty of excitement in the NBA this season but things are even getting better now. With the 1st round of the playoffs well underway, some teams are already looking to close out the series, while others are fighting head-to-head, barely getting the better of their opponents. As of April 25, the Brooklyn Nets remain the only playoff team without a single victory in this postseason. Continue reading this article to find out more about every single matchup in both the Western and Eastern conferences. Here’s one of our guides on betting on the NBA as the playoffs offer plenty of opportunities for everyone. Our list is made up of the four Western series, followed by the four Eastern ones. If you’re also interested in individual game guides and predictions, check out our Tips section.

The New Orleans Pelicans are proving to be an unexpected obstacle in Phoenix’s path

As of 25 April, the series between the Suns and Pelicans is tied 2-2. No one expected the 36-46 Pelicans to provide an actual challenge to the no. 1 team in the league. The series will continue with Game 5 on April 26th, at 10:00 PM ET. Phoenix won only one game at home in this series, and one on the road. The same goes for New Orleans as well. An official statement has been released on April 21 about Devin Booker’s injury. The All-Star guard has a Grade I hamstring injury and is out for at least two more weeks. This is a massive blow to the Suns as Game 7, if needed, will be scheduled for April 30. What’s even more concerning is that Phoenix had just set their franchise-record regular-season wins this year with their 64-18 record.

2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1
Pelicans in ’17 – Image source: Flickr

The Suns are looking to redeem themselves after they blew a 2-0 lead in the Finals to the Bucks. Despite the Suns’ unfortunate current situation, many believe in the leadership of Chris Paul and Monty Williams. CP3 has an all-time playoff record of 67-66 so he’ll need the very best of his team to advance past Round 1. The 2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1 still favor Phoenix, however. The Suns’ odds of advancing are -280 on Bovada. On the other hand, New Orleans’ odds are +230. The last time an 8th seeded team defeated the 1st seed was exactly 10 years ago when Philadelphia knocked out the injury-ridden Chicago Bulls. We still think the Suns can pull through but expect a 7-game series here.

Dallas Mavericks vs Utah Jazz – 2022 NBA playoffs Round 1 prediction

The Jazz made sure to stop everyone’s heartbeat in Game 4 when Donovan Mitchell tossed the ball up with 11 seconds left. 99-98 to Dallas with 11 seconds on the clock, Rudy Gobert catches an alley-oop pass from Mitchell, and the Jazz win Game 4. Luka Doncic put up 30 points in a road game and also his first game since his late-season injury. As of early April 25th, the series is tied 2-2 and the Jazz is in Dallas for Game 5. Frank Ntilikina of the Mavs is listed as a questionable option for Game 5. The 23-year-old guard did not play in any playoffs games this season. What the Jazz should be concerned about is Luka’s return. With the series returning to Dallas, people should watch out for the young star.

2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1
Image source: Stephanie Young Merzel, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Utah’s odds of winning the series are +130 compared to Dallas’ -150. On top of this, there’s also a great chance of this becoming a 7-game series too. Jalen Brunson proved himself an incredibly valuable asset to the Mavericks roster as he’s the major reason for the team’s two wins in the series. Luka’s return put Spencer Dinwiddie back on the bench so we’ll see how the team adjusts back to their regular-season form. Doncic is also most likely to receive increased minutes in the remaining games. What are our 2022 NBA playoffs predictions for this Round 1 matchup? We think that the Doncic-led Mavs will advance this round. This season has the most entertaining first-round matchups in a long time. We’re seeing series that could pass for Conference Finals as well. Furthermore, these are only the 4th and 5th seeds.

The Nuggets are sinking fast as the Warriors are about to close out the series

The “new-era” Nuggets have made the playoffs every year since the 2018-2019 season. Their most impressive run was in the Bubble when they lost 1-4 to the Lakers in the Conference Finals. Things aren’t looking good for Denver right now. The Nuggets barely avoided getting swept by Golden State as they won Game 4 on April 24 to make the series 3-1. What did the win cost? A 37-point MVP performance by Jokić and a late dagger by Wilt Barton. The reigning MVP is the best player in this series, and there’s no question about that. But the problem is that the next five best players are on the Warriors. And oh boy no one wants to face Golden State in the playoffs. Day by day, there are fewer people who believe that the Nuggets can beat the Warriors. Even with Golden State’s history with 3-1 leads.

Denver Nuggets logo
Image source: Flickr

Game 5 in Oakland is expected to be the last nail in the coffin as the Warriors are looking to eliminate the Nuggets. Coach Malone has led his team to the playoffs for the 4th straight year now but he still has a losing record. If we ignore this abysmal postseason, Malone’s playoff record stands at an average of .458. Using the same logic, Steve Kerr’s record is .745. There is no online sportsbook news in the US that favors Denver over Golden State in this series. The Nuggets are missing Jamal Murray right now. Having Michael Porter Jr. would also be great but time is running out quickly for Denver. The Nuggets’ odds of advancing past Round 1 are +2200. Golden State is the favorite with -15000, which is pretty insane. Denver’s last hope is the recreation of their 2020 playoffs performance when they came back from 3-1 twice.

2022 NBA playoffs Round 1 prediction – Grizzlies vs Timberwolves

Having a team with a 46-36 and only reaching the 7th seed proves how tough the competition has been this season. The Memphis-Minnesota Round 1 matchup is proving to be one of the best playoff series this year. As the Timberwolves head back to Memphis for Game 5 on April 26, the odds are not one-sided at all. Bovada gives Minnesota odds of +275 and Memphis -350. Morant only put up 11 points in Game 4 as the Timberwolves won 119-118. The young guard has had some similar performances this season but he always bounced back quickly. While Minnesota managed to win Game 1 in Memphis a little over a week ago, their most recent performance left people wondering. There was only one category where the two teams performed differently in Game 4, and that’s free throws.

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The Timberwolves made 31 free throws out of 40, while the Grizzlies put in 19 out of 25. Apart from this, field goal percentages, 3-pointers, rebounds, and even the plus-minus were very identical. Both teams have made a huge turnaround and are very deserving of being in the playoffs. Both head coaches are fairly new to the playoffs, just like the majority of their players. Ja Morant is one of the best NBA players under the age of 23 but we mustn’t overlook Anthony Edwards or Karl-Anthony Towns either. This series will leave NBA fans divided. But if the Timberwolves-Grizzlies matchup is anything, it’s entertaining. The Grizzlies are averaging more points, rebounds, and assists than their opponents. Furthermore, they are the better regular-season team, but here’s the hook. The two are 2-2 against each other in the regular season this year. So who will win the series? We think the Grizzlies’ defense will give them the edge but it will be a close one.

How much longer can the Hawks withstand the Heat?

The Hawks only reached a 1-3 playoff situation once, in the 1979-1980 Conference Semifinals. They lost 1-4 then. The Hawks deserve some credit, however. They finished this season with a 43-39 record but only made the playoffs through the play-in tournament. Yes, the tournament has more haters than fans. Last season, the Trae Young led Atlanta Hawks went to the Conference Finals where they lost to the eventual champions, the Bucks. The problem this time is that Miami is a 1st seed team. A team with multiple offensive and defensive options and a coach with one of the most impressive playoffs resumes of all time. The Hawks’ main problem is that they rely too heavily on Trae Young to carry them. There’s only so much one can do in a team sport. Game 3 ended 111-110 to Atlanta. Thanks to Young’s late 10 points, they avoided what would now have been a sweep.

2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1
Image source: Flickr

The problem is that Game 5 is in Miami and Atlanta’s hopes are pretty much all gone. The Heat’s defense is holding Ica Trae to just 16.5 ppg this series. Furthermore, the Hawks seem to be missing out on a lot of fast break points. They only averaged 10 fast break points per game this season and scored 0 in Game 4. If you ask us, there’s not much to analyze here. Our 2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1 for this particular matchup are in full favor of Miami. There’s no way the Hawks advance to the second round. We’ll give you the odds so you’ll understand what we’re talking about. Miami’s -10000 compared to Atlanta’s +1800. Get ready for Game 5 on April 26, 7:00 PM ET. If the Heat closes it out on Tuesday, they’ll have time to prepare for the next round.

Philadelphia 76ers vs Toronto Raptors – 2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1

The latest reports are that Nikola Jokic is still the favorite for the NBA MVP Award but Joel Embiid has been making a strong case in this postseason. The 76ers came to play no games as they started the series off with 3-0. Toronto might have found a solution too late, but they avoided the sweep after their Game 4 win. Siakam’s 34 points and Gary Trent Jr. earned the Raptors a 110-102 win at home. Things aren’t looking good however as the 76ers are looking to close out the series at home. Toronto starting guard Fred VanFleet is out for Game 5, a huge blow to the team. Currently, there’s no date set for a return from his hip injury. Online gambling sites in the US expect the 76ers to end the series on Monday night.

2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1
Image source: Chris Harte from Toronto, Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The odds for the 76ers v Raptors matchup are the same as for the Heat v Hawks. Philadelphia is the favorite to win with -10000 while Toronto is far behind with +1800. Doc Rivers’ playoff record is 101-95 which is not that good but he certainly has the experience in this sector. Funny thing is that the Raptors’ regular-season record this year is 3-1 against the 76ers. This is another great example of how the playoffs differ from the regular season. Many people expected this series to be a tougher one, a more even one. What do you think of Embiid’s MVP chances after this 1st round series?

Chicago can’t find an answer to the reigning champions – Bucks vs Bulls

Milwaukee extended their lead to 3-1 on April 24th, meaning Chicago has lost both of their home games. What’s even more concerning is that out of these four games only the first two were close ones. The Bulls were blown out in Games 3 and 4. It’s not easy going up against the reigning champions in the first round. Chicago is outclassed in recent playoff experience against Milwaukee. The last time they made the playoffs was in the 2016-2017 season when they lost 2-4 to Boston in Round 1. Khris Middleton is expected to miss at least two weeks of playtime but it doesn’t look like the Bucks are struggling without him. Chicago still cannot find an answer to Grayson Allen and then there’s the duo of Giannis and Holiday. Veteran guard George Hill’s return also remains unclear in the meantime.

Chicago NBA
Chicago Bulls warm up in 2012 – Image source: Mark Ordonez, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lonzo Ball’s absence can also be felt in this series. One of Chicago’s key defensive pieces, Alex Caruso could make a return in Game 5 on Wednesday. If the Bulls don’t find an answer to Allen quickly the series will be over pretty soon. The Bulls had an incredible turnaround from last season but their roster has seen a lot of injuries. The odds for this series are even more shocking. 2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1 hugely favor Milwaukee, to an extent that some might find unfair. On Bovada, their odds to advance is -20000, compared to Chicago’s +2500. This is the biggest deficit among first-round odds. If the Bulls can’t improve their shooting percentages this is over. Our prediction is obviously that the Bucks advance. This series isn’t going to be a Game 7.

Is the first sweep coming? – Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets 2022 NBA playoffs Round 1 prediction

The Boston Celtics are getting their revenge on the Nets for last season’s playoffs. In short, Brooklyn eliminated them 4-1 in the first round then. This year, everything is different. All three games have been close but Brooklyn couldn’t get a single win despite many online sportsbooks in the US predicting them to win. NBA teams with a 3-0 lead in the playoffs are 143-0, and rightly so. After you lose three straight games, can you win four in a row? Or the better question would be, do you deserve to win four in a row? The Brooklyn Nets have been something of a trainwreck this season. Injuries, trades, and restrictions were all causes of concern. The Celtics are better in points, rebounds, and assists as well. Durant has been struggling while Tatum is becoming a superstar in front of our eyes.

2022 NBA playoffs predictions for Round 1
Brooklyn Nets bench in ’14 – Image source: Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Through the first three games, KD averaged only 22.0 ppg on an abysmal 36.5% shooting. Kyrie’s next in line with 21.7 ppg on 44%. Now, while these point averages wouldn’t be that bad, that shooting ratio is. The world expected KD and Kyrie to steamroll through the Celtics. Our take is that the Celtics will complete the first sweep in this postseason. Even with being down 0-3, the Nets’ odds of advancing aren’t as bad as some others on this list. +1400 while the Celtics are expected to advance with -5000. Is this finally the year when Boston reaches the Finals for the first time since 2010? Their chances are certainly looking good, we’ll tell you that much. Game 5 of the Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets is on April 25, at 7:00 PM ET.

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