Most of the opening round best-of-7 series will conclude within the next week and there figures to be several upsets.
Boston, Orlando and Dallas were on the verge of advancing as the week began. Both the Celtics and Magic were lower seeded teams in the weaker Eastern Conference and have chances to wrap up their upsets on their home courts in Game 6, should they falter. Sixth seed Boston is leading Indiana while Orlando is leading top seeded Detroit.
The other two series have second seeded New Jersey tied with Milwaukee 2-2 and Philadelphia up 2-1 against New Orleans starting the week.
Dallas, ahead 3-1 against Portland is the one Western Conference team that needs only a victory to advance. Minnesota and the Los Angeles Lakers are tied 2-2, while top seeded San Antonio is also even with Phoenix through four games. The final Western series has Utah trailing Sacramento 2-1 starting the week.
In looking at potential plays, we might first consider those road teams up 3-1 (Orlando and Boston) in Game 6 back at home. The higher seeded road teams (Detroit and Indiana) might be small road favorites based on the ”˜must win’ scenario to force a Game 7. Take the home underdogs in Game 6. These teams demonstrated in the first four games that they now have the best chances of advancing to the next round.
Underdogs in Game 6 and small home favorites of three points or less in a deciding Game 7 should also be considered. Also, the UNDER should be more prevalent than OVER the longer each series lasts.