Stephen Curry

Apr 27, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts after making a layup against the Denver Nuggets with under 30 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter during game five of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

  • The second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs gets underway on Sunday, May, 1st
  • Boston, Miami, Phoenix and Golden State are all favored to progress
  • Which teams should you back in the Conference Semifinals?

The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night to confirm the field for the second round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Just eight teams remain in NBA Championship odds, and we’re set for a fascinating set of Conference Semifinals.

Injuries, as is always the case in the postseason, are playing a significant role. The defending champions are without one of their big three, and one of the contenders in NBA MVP odds is missing Game 1 at least.

NBA Playoffs 2nd Round Series Odds

Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks Odds to win Series
Boston Celtics -200
Milwaukee Bucks +168
Philadelphia 76ers vs Miami Heat Odds to win Series
Philadelphia 76ers +380
Miami Heat -490
Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks Odds to win Series
Phoenix Suns -275
Dallas Mavericks +220
Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State Warriors Odds to win Series
Memphis Grizzlies +210
Golden State Warriors -255

Odds as of Apr 30 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks

Khris Middleton is missing the whole of the second round, contributing to Boston being -200 series favorites. Despite a worry over Jaylen Brown’s hamstring tightness, the star wing is expected to be available in Game 1. The Celtics have all of their rotation healthy, including Robert Williams, who made his return in the first-round sweep of the Nets.

Milwaukee trounced the Bulls, notching the best net rating of any team in the playoffs to date. Chicago’s subpar defense is a million miles from what Giannis Antetokounmpo and co will face in the Celtics, who locked up Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the first round. Middleton’s absence impacts the Bucks at both ends of the floor, removing a key offensive weapon (particularly late in games), and weakening their defense against Jayson Tatum and Brown.

Al Horford was immense against Brooklyn. The Cs had a +28 net rating with Horford on the floor. After an up and down regular season, the former Hawk looked like a younger version of himself, and that will be crucial against Antetokounmpo. The veteran big man also hit nine of his 15 threes. Milwaukee continues to concede a lot of outside shots.

The Bucks are no pushover without Middleton. Their defense is still good, and Jrue Holiday is a proven playoff performer. The offense is going to have tough spells in this series, though.

This would have been a good bet to seven if Middleton was healthy. Providing Brown is available throughout, the Celtics should win this in five or six.

Pick: Boston Celtics to win the series (-200)

Miami Heat vs Philadelphia 76ers

News that Joel Embiid has an orbital fracture and mild concussion has drained some excitement from this series. Embiid is out indefinitely, and will miss at least the first game. Philadelphia was already outsiders in Eastern Conference odds, but they have no chance without the MVP candidate.

Miami has some of its own injury concerns after Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler missed Game 5 against Atlanta and P.J. Tucker, Caleb Martin and Tyler Herro sat out Friday practise. While the Heat remain cautious with Lowry and Butler, Tucker, Martin and Herro are all expected to take the hardwood for Game 1.

Philadelphia needs James Harden to be at his best if they are to stay in this series while Embiid is out. Harden put in his best performance of the postseason in the first round clincher, but he has struggled to get separation over the last couple of months and has been primarily a playmaker rather than a scorer. The Heat have several defenders who can make his life difficult.

The availability of Embiid is obviously a massive factor in this matchup. It’s likely he can play with the orbital fracture once he gets over the concussion, but there’s no guarantee he will be able to play at all. The combination of Harden and Tyrese Maxey might be able to steal a game, yet this could be over quickly if Embiid cannot return for Game 2 or 3.

Miami to sweep is tempting at +440. The Gentleman’s Sweep is the better bet, though.

Pick: Miami to win 4-1 (+220)

Phoenix Suns vs Dallas Mavericks

Phoenix and Dallas overcame injuries to their stars to progress past the Pelicans and Jazz respectively. Luka Doncic returned and took over the series for Dallas, while Devin Booker put up just 13 points in 32 Game 6 minutes for the Suns.

Chris Paul was masterful for the majority of the first round, and made history in the clincher. Dallas has length to throw at Phoenix’s perimeter stars in Dorian Finney-Smith and Reggie Bullock, which is going to be a decisive part of this matchup. Deandre Ayton’s performances will be vital for the Suns, too. The former first overall pick averaged 21 and 10 on 70% shooting in the first round, and he will need to take advantage of the Mavs’ lack of size.

There is no answer for Doncic, but Phoenix has some decent options in Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder. The Suns also have length to put on Jalen Brunson, who torched Utah before Doncic’s return. Phoenix swept the season series, but Doncic missed the first two games and the teams didn’t matchup after Dallas’ season-altering Kristaps Porzingis deal.

There is a degree of uncertainty with Booker’s level of play coming off a hamstring injury. Phoenix had to work hard to get past New Orleans. This feels a lot closer than Dallas’ +220 price suggests, making Jason Kidd’s team a good value bet to advance. It should be a classic series — we’re backing it to go seven games.

Pick: Series to go seven games (+195)

Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State Warriors

The Grizzlies overturned three double-digit leads to see off the Minnesota Timberwolves in six games. Their reward is a second round matchup with the Golden State Warriors, who were sensational in their five-game series win over the Denver Nuggets. Steph Curry moved to Finals MVP favorite after returning to the starting lineup for Game 5, and the Dubs have a 48-hour rest advantage coming into this series, having finished the first round on Wednesday.

Memphis once again demonstrated extreme belief, and their depth paid dividends against the Timberwolves. With Minnesota restricting Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr spending the entire series in foul trouble, the Grizz got major contributions from elsewhere on the roster with Desmond Bane and Brandon Clarke standing out. Tyus Jones, Dillon Brooks and Xavier Tillman had big moments, too.

Golden State lost three of its four regular season matchups with Memphis, but those results can be taken with a pinch of salt. The Grizz didn’t face the Dubs at full strength — their defense is in for a real test after seeing the Timberwolves shoot almost 39% from three. Golden State hit 42.2% of their outside shots against Denver.

After being played out of the first round early on, it will be interesting to see if Taylor Jenkins utilizes Steven Adams’ size once he returns from health and safety protocols. Memphis needs to be dominant on the boards to overcome what will be a considerable three-point deficit.

The Dubs deserve to be heavy favorites in this series. The Grizz are always going to be fiercely competitive, but this feels like a step too far. Back the Warriors to win it in five.

Pick: Golden State to win 4-1 (+400)

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