2012 NBA Eastern Conference Playoff Odds: First-Round Series Predictions, Expert Picks, and Prices: For the second year in a row, the Eastern Conference was home to the team with the best record in the NBA. For what it’s worth, the conference was also home to the newly-crowned worst team in NBA history, as the Charlotte Bobcats wrapping up a 7-59 campaign. In the end, regular season numbers mean nothing once the playoffs begin, and the Eastern Conference has just three NBA titles to its credit in the last 13 years and has seen the Western Conference win the last three championships. Whichever team is going to try to change that will have to navigate an eight-team field with a little more depth than the conference has been used to in recent years.

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2012 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs Series Predictions and Previews:

No. 1 Chicago Bulls vs. No. 8 Philadelphia 76ers

This series pits two of the top-three defenses in the NBA against each other, but with Chicago ranking first in points allowed and second in field goal percentage defense, Philadelphia will be dealing with a more talented version of itself. The 76ers are an up-and-coming young team, but they wore down at the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Bulls powered their way to the best record in the NBA for the second year in a row despite missing defending MVP Derrick Rose for about a month. Chicago is the more experienced and battle-tested team, and Philadelphia just isn’t prepared for what Chicago is going to bring to the table on both ends of the court.

Prediction: Chicago Bulls Win in 6 Games

No. 2 Miami Heat vs. No. 7 New York Knicks

Forget about all the drama and questions that swirled around Miami during the regular season. The Heat steamrolled through the Eastern Conference last season, and they have a deeper team this year. Granted, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks have finally found a rhythm on offense, but they lost all three meetings with the Heat this season, including a loss in New York on April 15. More importantly, the Knicks aren’t built to exploit the Heat’s biggest weakness. Miami has struggled to score consistently in the half court, and even with Tyson Chandler protecting the paint, New York’s defense is far from stingy. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the high-scoring Heat will run away with this series.

Prediction: Miami Hear Wins in 5 Games

No. 3 Indiana Pacers vs. No. 6 Orlando Magic

Orlando dominated the Pacers during the regular season, but with center Dwight Howard lost for the year, the Magic are dead weight in the postseason. Orlando was built around Howard on both ends of the court, and without him, they just don’t have the interior scoring of defensive presence to compete. Indiana’s Roy Hibbert instantly becomes the best big man in the series, and wing players like Danny Granger and Paul George should find plenty of driving lanes without Howard waiting at the rim. This series could get ugly for the Magic.

Prediction: Indiana Pacers Win in 4 Games

No. 4 Boston Celtcis vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks

These two teams are no strangers to each other in the postseason, but although the Celtics keep getting older, they keep finding ways to beat Atlanta. Boston point guard Rajon Rondo led the NBA in assists this year, and he will have a huge edge on Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague. Meanwhile, the Hawks have basically the same group of guys that have failed to make a deep playoff run the last several years, minus the injured Al Horford. The Celtics are one of the best half court teams on offense and defense, and they control the tempo of games as well as any team in the league. Boston is built to win in the postseason, and more importantly, they are probably the most experienced group. The solid but unspectacular Hawks are destined for another early exit.

Prediction: Boston Celtics Win in 6 Games

2012 NBA Playoffs – Series Prices

Philadelphia 76ers vs Chicago Bulls Series Prices Odds
2905 Philadelphia 76ers +1000
2906 Chicago Bulls -1400

New York Knicks vs Miami Heat Series Prices Odds
2907 New York Knicks +675
2908 Miami Heat -925

Orlando Magic vs Indiana Pacers Series Prices Odds
2909 Orlando Magic +650
2910 Indiana Pacers -900

Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder Series Prices Odds
2911 Dallas Mavericks +400
2912 Oklahoma City Thunder -525

Utah Jazz vs San Antonio Spurs Series Prices Odds
2913 Utah Jazz +1200
2914 San Antonio Spurs -2000

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Series Prices Odds
2915 Denver Nuggets +175
2916 Los Angeles Lakers -210

Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks Series Prices Odds
2917 Boston Celtics -185
2918 Atlanta Hawks +165

Los Angeles Clippers vs Memphis Grizzlies Series Prices Odds
2919 Los Angeles Clippers +175
2920 Memphis Grizzlies -210

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