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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 12:00 AM

THE NBA PLAYOFFS ARE SET - THUMB-NAIL SKETCHES ON ALL 8 SERIES ...

WE PUT A FINAL WRAP ON THE COLLEGE B-BALL SEASON WITH KEY SPREAD STATS AND MORE ...

PLUS, MLB NEWS & NOTES

As they say in the business, the dust has settled ... finally.

And we have eight truly interesting NBA Playoff matchups that begin this Saturday after a rather wild final night of regular-season play that saw icons Dwyane Wade (Miami) and Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas) say their final goodbyes while the final post-season berth was gobbled up by Detroit in the East.

Here's a batch of one-liners on what's to come with more in-depth series analyses in the next couple of editions of Jim Sez:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#1 MILWAUKEE (60-22) vs. #8 DETROIT (41-41) - The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo probably will have to settle for second place in the league's MVP voting (behind Houston's James Harden, of course) but his team's all bulked up for a long run this post-season.

#2 TORONTO (58-24) vs. #7 ORLANDO (42-40) - Let's just say that if Raptors' megastar Kawhi Leonard is gonna be a one-and-done guy North of the Border, then he should make it count; Toronto has all the goodies to make it to the NBA Finals.

#3 PHILADELPHIA (51-31) vs. #6 BROOKLYN (42-40) - All eyes will be on whether or not Sixers' stud Joel Embiid (knee) plays here in Game 1 on Saturday afternoon. Could the overachieving Nets be a playoff dark horse behind All-Star G D'Angelo Russell?

#4 BOSTON (49-33) vs. #5 INDIANA (48-34) - The Celtics will be without defensive demon Marcus Smart for the playoffs and - ouch - that'll hurt. Okay, no sympathy coming from Pacers' team that lost Victor Oladipo weeks ago.

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

#1 GOLDEN STATE (57-25) vs. #8 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (48-34) - Could see the defending champ Warriors being a tad bored in the early rounds, so maybe LA's "other" team makes this a bit sticky. Hail Clips' coach Doc Rivers who earned every dime this season!

#2 DENVER (54-28) vs. #7 SAN ANTONIO (48-34) - Nuggets wrangled their way into the #2 seed on the final night of play but sub-.500 road record (20-21) makes us feel they're vulnerable here. Spurs in "house money" mode, for once!

#3 PORTLAND (53-29) vs. #6 OKLAHOMA CITY (49-33) - Lower-seeded Thunder is counting on a nightly triple-double from G Russell Westbrook but will that be enough to KO Blazers' bunch that finished hot with eight SU (straight-up) wins in its last 10?

#4 HOUSTON (53-29) vs. #5 UTAH (50-32) - Appears to be dead-even series that could favor deeper Jazz team the longer this goes; can the aforementioned Mr. Harden zing in another half-a-hundred a time or two here?


Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers can't wait to rev up this year's NBA Playoffs - they begin this Saturday / Sunday with all eight post-season series on tap and make sure you're cashin' all playoffs long plus get all the daily Major-League Baseball action too at 1-800-323-4453.

 

FINAL COLLEGE B-BALL NEWS/NOTES
Let's put a ribbon the 2018-19 College Basketball Season with a tourney-by-tourney look at how Betting Favorites fared these past few weeks:

TOURNEY BETTING FAVS PCT
NIT14-16-0.467
NCAA Tournament 31-36-0.463
College Insider Tourney10-14-0.417
CBI Tournament 7-10-0.412

As you see, Betting Favorites lost "moolah" in all four of the post-season tournaments played this year while winding up with a collective pointspread mark of 62-76-0 with 2 Pick 'Em games (a wobbly .449 winning percentage). And remember that the NCAA Tournament champion Virginia Cavaliers registered a so-so 3-3 ATS (against the spread) mark in their run through the "Big Dance" with two of those pointspread covers coming in overtime wins against Purdue (80-75 while laying 4.5 points and the 85-77 triumph as 2-point favs in the title tilt against Texas Tech).

Meanwhile, here's the top favorites listed on the big board for next year's national championship ...
Virginia at 5-to-1, Duke at 8-to-1, Kentucky at 8-to-1, Gonzaga at 10-to-1, Michigan State at 12-to-1 and Villanova at 15-to-1.
                                                                            

BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES

The baseball has been jumping out of the parks all 'round the league so far as we're now two weeks into this 2019 MLB campaign but how about these over/under runs stats for a batch of teams? Here's a look through the games of April 10th ...

The Seattle Mariners games have gone over at 11-1-2
Chicago Cubs games go over at 8-2-1
Chicago White Sox games have gone over 9-2-0 and New York Mets game have gone over in nine of 11 tilts.
On the flip side, no surprise that the Tampa Bay Rays have gone under in nine of 12 games with one "push" tossed into the mix.

NOTE: Catch all our quick-hitter NBA Playoff previews in the next couple of Jim Sez columns.

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