2019 NFL Divisional Round Preview and Predictions

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Eight teams remain in the NFL playoffs and will battle it out in the divisional round this weekend. A pair of 6 seeds will take on the top teams from the conference, while Houston will look for its first ever conference championship appearance and the Seahawks will take on the Packers in Lambeau.

 

Saturday, January 11th 4:35 PM: #6 Minnesota Vikings @ #1 San Francisco 49ers (-7)

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Jimmy Garropolo will be making his first ever playoff start against Kirk Cousins and Vikings. Minnesota pulled off a huge upset against Drew Brees and the Saints in New Orleans last weekend and will try to knock off another 13 win team this weekend. Dalvin Cook played a huge part in the Vikings win and Kirk Cousins was solid while proving the haters wrong who said he could not win in prime time. Both Stephon Diggs and Adam Thielen are expected to be active for this game which gives the Vikings big play ability. However, the 49ers have a great defense and a balanced offense and have played great all year with the exception of a loss to the Falcons. Their other two losses came against Baltimore and Seattle and were very close. George Kittle has been a game changer this year and the best tight end in the league. I think the 49ers are a very well rounded team and it will be tough to slow them down. Minnesota already pulled off one upset in the playoffs but I don’t see them pulling off another won. San Francisco is simply the superior team. The 49ers win 27-16.

 

Saturday, January 11th 8:15 PM: #6 Tennessee Titans @ #1 Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)

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Lamar Jackson got his first playoff start in last year’s playoffs, and will now be looking for his first playoff win as a starter as the Ravens take on the Titans. Tennessee is coming off an upset win against the Patriots, and hope to keep the moment rolling in Baltimore. Ryan Tannehill was not very effective but a solid defense and a monster game by running back Derrick Henry helped the Titans to victory. They will once again need the defense and running game to step up against the Ravens. Baltimore’s offense has been tough to stop this year with the dual threat of Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram. However, I think Titans coach Mike Vrabel will put together a great game plan on defense to slow down Lamar Jackson. The Ravens haven’t played a meaningful game in a long time and could be vulnerable to rust. I think the Titans keep the momentum rolling and pull off a big upset in Baltimore. Tennessee wins 21-20.

 

Sunday, January 12th 3:05 PM: #4 Houston Texans @ #2 Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5)

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This game will be a battle of two young and exciting quarterbacks as Deshaun Watson and the Texans take on Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Texans went into Kansas City and beat the Chiefs earlier this year, so they will not be afraid in the rematch. Deshaun Watson was the hero last week to get the Texans to this point after pulling off a big comeback against the Bills in the wild card round. Houston also has J.J. Watt back on defense after missing most of the season and being limited in last week’s game. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes is no stranger to the spotlight after coming within an overtime period of the Super Bowl last year. The Chiefs have great weapons on offense with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, and the defense has been playing better as well. I don’t see the Texans beating the Chiefs in Kansas City twice this season since the Chiefs are the more talented team. I think Kansas City has the clear coaching advantage as well. Chiefs win 31-19.

 

Sunday, January 12th 6:40 PM: #5 Seattle Seahawks @ #2 Green Bay Packers (-4)

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Unlike the first game of this day, the Seahawks and Packers have veteran quarterbacks who have each won a Super Bowl and have lots of playoff experience. The last time these teams matched up the playoffs was the 2014 NFC Championship, with the Seahawks pulling off a stunning victory in overtime. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have been up and down at times this year, but running back Aaron Jones had a great season and Rodgers has still been good enough to keep Green Bay competitive. The defense has improved from previous years as well. Seattle took down the Eagles in Philly last week to get to this point and Russell Wilson has been one of the better QBs this season. Seattle has lost both of its running backs to injury but brought back Marshawn Lynch to rekindle some of the old magic. I think this will be a close game since both of these teams are evenly matched, but Green Bay will win 26-23.

 

Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.

Thanks,
Jeff

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2019 NFL Wild Card Weekend Preview and Predictions

2020 wild card weekend

The NFL playoffs kick off this weekend and feature five new teams from the year before. The New England Patriots will start their title defense against Tennessee, the Bills look for their first playoff win in decades, Kirk Cousins will try to engineer a massive upset, and the battle of the birds will go down in Philly.

 

Saturday, January 4th 4:35 PM: #5 Buffalo Bills @ #4 Houston Texans (-2.5)

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The Texans have made the playoffs four out of the last five years but have never advanced past the divisional round. After missing last year’s playoffs, the Bills are making their second appearance in three years. Both of these teams have young quarterbacks with a lot of potential and something to prove on the big stage. Josh Allen has taken a step up for the Bills from his rookie season, and Deshaun Watson is no stranger to big moments having played in the CFP national championship. Both QBs will be looking for their first playoff win. I think the Bills will have the edge in this game due to their defense. Despite being on the road, the old adage that “defense travels” will help the Bills contain Watson and star receiver Deandre Hopkins. I think Buffalo has been a more consistent team this year and played closer games against better teams than the Texans. Buffalo wins 19-16.

 

Saturday, January 4th 8:15 PM: #6 Tennessee Titans @ #3 New England Patriots (-5)

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People have been trying to predict the end of the Patriots dynasty for a decade straight. The fact that they are playing on wild card weekend for the first time since 2009 and 42 year old Tom Brady will be a free agent at the end of the season makes these predictions a little more interesting this year. The defending Super Bowl champions will go up against the resurgent Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans for a spot in the divisional round. The Patriots beat the Titans in the divisional round during the 2017 playoffs, but lost in Nashville to the Titans last season. Former Patriots legend Mike Vrabel will go up against his former coach for the first time on the playoff stage. The key battle in this game will be the Patriots defense against rushing leader Derrick Henry. The Pats defense has been great all season, but more so in the passing game and less so in the running game. They will have to shut down the run early and force Tannehill to challenge the Patriots star cornerbacks of Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson. While the Patriots have looked really bad on offense during the second half of the season, I think the Tom Brady playoff magic will return and the Patriots will win 27-17.

 

Sunday, January 5th 1:05 PM: #6 Minnesota Vikings @ #3 New Orleans Saints (-8)

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Despite winning 13 games, New Orleans will have to begin their playoff run on wild card weekend. These teams matched up in the divisional round during the 2017 playoffs, a game which ended on a miracle touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs in the final seconds. The Saints will certainly use this opportunity to avenge that game. Drew Brees had another outstanding year despite missing games due to injury, and wide receiver Michael Thomas had a record setting year by catching the most passes in a regular season in NFL history. Meanwhile, the Vikings have a talented team with a solid defense and talent on offense. However, Kirk Cousins on the road against teams with winning records has been terrible over the years, and this Saints team will be among the best he has faced. Minnesota will need to utilize Dalvin Cook to have a chance in this game. Cook has faced injuries but Minnesota won’t be able to depend on Cousins alone. I think the Saints are just too good to lose this game. New Orleans wins 31-13.

 

Sunday, January 5th 4:40 PM: #5 Seattle Seahawks @ #4 Philadelphia Eagles (+1.5)

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The NFC West was the best division in football this year and the NFC East was the worst division in football, which is why Russell Wilson and Seattle will have to travel to the east coast to take on Carson Wentz and Philadelphia for their wild card matchup. Carson Wentz has been playing very well for the Eagles, but Philly has endured a historic amount of injuries to their starters on offense which is why they barely squeaked into the playoffs. After losing a tough week 17 matchup to the 49ers, the Seahawks dropped down to the 5 seed. Seattle has been much better on the road this year than they have at home, which is unusual for the Seahawks but may work to their advantage in this matchup. While they lost both of their starting running backs, Russell Wilson has still proven he can be a top tier QB and I think the Seahawks are a much better team than the Eagles. Seattle wins 27-23.

 

Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments below.

Thanks,
Jeff

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2019 Year in Review + 1 Second Everyday Compilation

2019 was another great year for me and a great way to cap off the decade. This year included another Patriot’s Super Bowl parade, significant progress towards my FSA, vacations in Florida and New York, the beginning of my relationship with my current girlfriend, and much more.

The decade of the 2010s was also a great one. This decade I graduated both high school and college, went on several awesome vacations in Las Vegas, Dallas, San Francisco, Nashville and more, began my full time job at Blue Cross and nearly completed my FSA, moved into Boston, celebrated 6 Boston championships including 3 super bowls, made some great friends, and overall grew as a person from a young 18 year old kid into a 27 year old adult. I hope the next decade is even better!

 

2019 Year in Review

 

One Second Everyday Compilation

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2019 NBA Free Agency/Offseason Recap and Reaction

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With the balance of power having shifted from the teams to the players in recent years, NBA free agency has become one of the most important parts of the NBA calendar year. Many superstars are teaming up and signing shorter details to keep their options open, and more and more big name players are hitting free agency each year. The 2019 NBA free agency and offseason period may have been one of the craziest of all of them. Below is my summary and reaction to the biggest moves this offseason.

 

Los Angeles Lakers trade for Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, the draft rights to De’Andre Hunter, two first round picks, a first-round pick swap right and cash. 

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At the time, the Lakers acquisition of Anthony Davis was the most that any team has given up for a star players and simultaneously made LA the title favorites for 2020. It was no secret that both Lebron and AD wanted Davis to be LA, and after a botched attempt prior to the trade deadline it finally happened in June. AD will have a chance to establish himself as a superstar in a big market, and Lebron will be able to take a step back and rest at times during the season to be healthy for the playoffs. I expect the Lakers to be a Top 4 team in the West this year, but they will have to make other moves on the roster besides their two superstars to be a serious contender.

 

Free agent Kyrie Irving signs 4 year $141 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets

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Halfway through the 2018-2019 season it was pretty clear that Kyrie Irving was not a good fit for the Boston Celtics. The only question is whether he would sign with the Knicks or the Nets, ultimately Kyrie returned home to join the team he grew up rooting for. This is a great move for the Nets, although they did sacrifice up and coming point guard D’Angelo Russell to make it work. However, the Nets now have one of the best point guards in the game who is still in his prime, and more importantly set the stage for Brooklyn’s next free agency move….

 

Free Agent Kevin Durant signs 4 year $164 million deal with Brooklyn Nets

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The Nets weren’t done making moves after acquiring Kyrie Irving. Kevin Durant left the Golden State Warriors to join Brooklyn and create a formidable force in the East….when healthy. Durant will miss all of next year with an injury, and now that he’s in his thirties there is some question about his long term health. However, if Durant is healthy when he returns, Brooklyn instantly becomes a title contender. All year everyone was saying that Durant would go to the Knicks, but I never thought that would happen. KD is smart enough to know that it’s never good to be part of a franchise with a horrendous owner. He made the smart move by joining his good friend Kyrie while still remaining in a big New York market.

 

Free agent Kemba Walker signs a 4 year $141 million deal with the Boston Celtics

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Kemba Walker spent his entire career on an irrelevant Charlotte Hornets team. The Boston Celtics had just lost Kyrie Irving. Therefore, it was perfect match for the Celtics to fill their roster needs and for Kemba to join a team that can compete in the East. I think Kemba Walker will be a much better fit for the Celtics offense under Brad Stevens, and will allow players like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to be more involved in the offense. Furthermore, Kemba will not be a distraction off the court and will make the Celtics fun to watch again this season. Boston may not be a top contender in the East, but with Kemba Walker on board they are one move away from being a contender again.

 

Free agent Klay Thompson signs 5 year $190 million max deal to remain with Golden State Warriors

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Six

Although there were rumblings that he might end up on the Lakers, most people expected Klay Thompson to sign the max and remain with Golden State. After losing Durant, this was an important move for the Warriors to lock up Klay and still remain competitive in the West this year. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are still the best backcourt in the league and both are capable of stepping up and replacing the void that Durant left on the team. However, Klay will likely miss all of next season with an ACL injury as well. Curry will have to carry the team and has the potential for another monster shooting season given the volume of shots he will have to take this year.

 

D’Angelo Russell receives four year $117 million deal in sign and trade with Warriors

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Although some are questioning the move long term, it’s pretty clear that the Warriors acquired D’Angelo Russell to replace Klay Thompson for this season. It remains to be seen how Russell will be used when Thompson returns, since it may not work with three shooters and ball handlers on the floor at the same time. However, I still like this move for the Warriors to acquire a young up and coming point guard and I think Steve Kerr will figure out how to best utilize his personnel once all his guards are healthy.

 

Jimmy Butler signs a 4 year $142 million with the Miami Heat

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After a brief stint with Philly, Jimmy Butler decided to take his talents to South Beach and play for Pat Riley and the Miami Heat. Butler reportedly turned down the max offer from the 76ers and very much wanted to go to Miami. Now he will have an opportunity to be the best player on his own team and lead Miami back to the playoffs. However, Butler has now clashed with teammates in Chicago, Minnesota, and Philly, and if he can’t recruit other stars to join him in Miami than the ceiling for the Heat will be a second round exit at best. It is a nice move for the Heat to make them relevant again after the Dwayne Wade era, but they are not going to be a serious threat in the East.

 

Free agent Al Horford signs a four year $109 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers

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The 76ers got a huge pickup when they acquired Al Horford after he opted out of the final year of his contract with the Celtics. Not only can Horford and Embiid be a dominant force under the rim for Philadelphia, but Horford was the key to the Celtics success against the 76ers throughout Embiid’s whole career. This is a significant loss for the Celtics and a great pickup for the Sixers after losing Jimmy Butler. The 76ers can now have one of Horford or Embiid on the court at all times and can become one of the best defensive teams in the NBA this year if both stay healthy.

 

Free agent Malcolm Brogdon signs a 4 year $85 million deal with the Indiana Pacers

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Malcolm Butler may be one of the most underrated players in today’s game. He put up a 50/40/90 season last year for the Bucks and was a key role player to the success of that team. This will certainly be a key loss for Milwaukee and a good pickup for the Pacers. Brogdon will join a core of Oladipo, Myles Turner, and Domantas Sabonis, a team that grabbed the 5 seed last year despite losing Oladipo to injury. I don’t think this moves makes the Pacers a contender by any means, but they could be one of those sneaky young teams that gives a contender trouble.

 

Khris Middelton signs a five year $178 million deal to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks

Toronto Raptors v Milwaukee Bucks

It was expected that Middleton would stay with the Bucks but it was important enough nonetheless. Milwaukee had the best record in the NBA last year and now ensures that it’s two stars will stay together for the long term. I expect the Bucks to be dominant again this season as both Giannis and Middleton continue to improve.

 

Tobias Harris signs a five year $180 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers

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After trading for him in the middle of the season, the 76ers made sure to keep Tobias Harris around. Harris has emerged as a solid perimeter option to complement Simmons and Embiid, and may be able to take on a bigger role now that Jimmy Butler is gone. The 76ers will certainly be among the top three teams in the East year, although bench depth is still a concern.

 

Kawhi Leonard signs 4 year $142 million deal with Clippers, Thunder trade Paul George to Clippers for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and five first round picks

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Perhaps the most stunning and impactful move of the entire offseason was the Los Angeles Clippers managing to land both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Kawhi had been linked to the Clippers as a possible destination, but it wasn’t until he convinced Paul George to ask for a trade that the final decision was made. The Clippers have now overtaken the Lakers as title favorites, and will be one of the best defensive teams in recent memory. Kawhi and Paul George are arguably the two best two-way players in the game today, and pose a deadly threat to opposing offenses. L.A. certainly gave up a lot in the trade, but it was worth the risk to go all out especially given that the Lakers had already made their big splash with Anthony Davis. I do think the Clippers should be the favorites right now and I expect them to reach at least the Western Conference Finals where there may very well be an all-LA showdown.

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder trade Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and multiple first round picks.

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After Paul George was traded, it was inevitable that Russell Westbrook would follow suit as the Thunder execute a full rebuild. Although Westbrook’s contract is certainly not ideal, Houston was unable to unload Chris Paul and add a former MVP that is still in his prime. The Rockets should be just as competitive as ever now with Westbrook and Harden reunited. The two LA teams have gotten most of the attention but with Golden State no longer a threat it wouldn’t surprise me if the Rockets made it out of the West this year.

 

Let me know your thoughts on free agency and the NBA offseason in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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TV Review: Chernobyl (2019)

HBO’s Chernobyl is a gripping five part miniseries based on the events that occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on the night of April 26, 1986. The series begins on the night of the explosion, and details the aftermath of the events that took place following the explosion. Jared Harris stars as Valery Legasov, a prominent Soviet chemist who played a critical role as chief of the commission investigating the Chernobyl disaster.

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HBO did an absolutely phenomenal job in all aspects of Chernobyl. The series really made you feel the intensity and fear of a situation that was completely unprecedented. They did a great job of showing both the physical disaster that the radiation was causing, as well as the emotional burden of those who lost loved ones due to radiation poisoning. Some of the scenes showing those who experienced severe radiation poisoning were absolutely terrifying. It was almost hard to believe this was something that really happened, since the disaster seemed like straight out of a movie. I thought Jared Harris turned in an incredible acting performance portraying Professor Legasov, who was the main hero of the story.

The first three episodes kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time while hundreds of men fought to prevent a global nuclear disaster. The last two episodes did a great job explaining both the scientific events and human decisions that actually caused the disaster. It was really fascinating listening to the detailed version of what happened hour by hour and second by second once the Chernobyl commission was able to figure out everything that happened. The series did a great job of answering every single question that pops into your head throughout the series. They spend the end of the last episode giving you all of the facts on the aftermath of Chernobyl and where things stand today.

Overall, this is one of the best TV series I’ve seen probably since Breaking Bad. Chernobyl is an all around terrifying but gripping masterpiece of the events that occurred on the night of April 26, 1986.

IMDB: 9.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
My Rating: 9.8/10

Let me know what you think in the comments down below.

Jeff

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2019 NBA Finals Preview and Prediction

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The 2019 NBA Finals features Kawhi Leonard and the Eastern Conference Champion Toronto Raptors against Stephen Curry and the 5 time defending Western Conference Champion Golden State Warriors. Here is my preview and prediction for the final NBA series of the season.

 

#2 Toronto Raptors @ #1 Golden State Warriors (-300)

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The Raptors are making their first Finals appearance in franchise history under first year head coach Nick Nurse. Meanwhile, the Warriors are appearing in their fifth consecutive Finals and looking to win their fourth title in five years. The only man preventing this series from being an absolute blowout is Kawhi Leonard, who is a former Finals MVP and one of the only Raptors with Finals experience. Kawhi has been lights out this postseason and has singlehandedly carried the Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, the Raptors bench has finally started to chip in as well. Fred Van Vleet shot 82% from three point range in the final four games of the Eastern Conference Finals. Vanvleet, Lowry, and Siakim will have to take some of the burden off of Kawhi if Toronto wants a chance to win this series.

Steve Kerr and the Warriors have been in this position before, but the uncertainty surrounding Kevin Durant’s injury has made things more interesting for Golden State. Durant had been on fire this postseason before his injury, but the Warriors are also an incredible 30-1 in their last 31 games without Kevin Durant. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green stepped up huge in the four game sweep of Portland in the Western Conference Finals, reminding everyone that these Warriors were still champions before Kevin Durant joined the team. The Warriors biggest challenge will be stopping Kawhi, and they will likely have to throw multiple bodies at him in order to wear him down. The Raptors did a great job defensively against Giannis and the Bucks, but face a much bigger challenge on defense against the Warriors. I think the combination of Steph, Klay, and Draymond will be too much for Toronto to handle, and if Durant and/or Cousins returns during the series then forget about it. Warriors win the series in 6 games, and Steph Curry wins Finals MVP.

 

Let me know your predictions in the comments down below.

Thanks,

Jeff

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2019 NBA Conference Finals Preview and Predictions

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The NBA Playoffs are down to the Final Four. Kawhi takes on Giannis for the Eastern Conference title and Damian Lillard and the Blazers will try to dethrone the four time defending Western Conference champion Warriors. Here is my preview and predictions for the Conference Finals.

 

#2 Toronto Raptors @ #1 Milwaukee Bucks (-275)

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The Raptors have advanced to the conference finals and will not have to face Lebron. However, they may face a bigger challenge against Giannis and the NBA’s best team the Milwaukee Bucks. Kawhi has been lights out throughout the playoffs, single handedly carrying the Raptors to the conference finals with some help from Pascal Siakim. However, Kyle Lowry will need to step to ease some of the offensive pressure on Kawhi against one of the NBA’s best defensive teams. Kahwi and Giannis are obviously the two stars, so this series may come down to role players. Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe for the Bucks along with Lowry and Siakim for the Raptors may be the x factors in this series. Both teams have solid depth and good coaching. However, I think coach Mike Budenholzer for Milwaukee has the coaching advantage over first year Raptors coach Nick Nurse. Giannis will be too much to overcome and home court for the Bucks is key. Milwaukee wins a hard-fought series in 7 games.

 

#3 Portland Trail Blazers @ #1 Golden State Warriors (-530)

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With Kevin Durant sidelined due to injury for at least the first two games, this series may very well be a battle of two of the best backcourts in the league. The splash brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will battle Portland’s duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in what should be a very entertaining West Finals. The Warriors have been here five straight times now, while the Blazers are making their first appearance since 2000. I think Lillard and McCollum will not be afraid of the spotlight and will play great for Portland. The key for the Blazers may be the play of big man Enes Kanter, who has filled in nicely during the playoffs for the injured Jusuf Nurkic. However, if Durant returns in this series and is healthy, I think Golden State will simply be too much to overcome. Warriors win in 6 games.

 

Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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