Very few people thought that either of these teams would be in the position that they are, but both the New York Knicks and Miami Heat pulled off upsets in the first round and will meet in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
NBA Odds: Knicks Are Favored In Series Against Heat
“[Jimmy Butler] will go down in this series. The Garden is a different animal.”@stephenasmith is riding with the Knicks vs. the Heat ✍️ pic.twitter.com/oWtjmbtK36
— First Take (@FirstTake) April 27, 2023
The Heat may have had the more impressive showing in Round 1. They had a middling regular season, in which they were able to sneak in to the play-in tournament, where they lost their first game. But they eventually qualified for the 8th seed, which earned them a date with the Milwaukee Bucks, who were the title favorites entering the post season.
But thanks to an untimely injury for Giannis Antetokounmpo coupled with God-like performances from Jimmy Butler, the Heat became just the sixth 8-seed to ever upset a 1-seed.
The Knicks pulled an upset as well, but their seeding wasn’t as impressive as Miami’s. They took on the Cleveland Cavaliers, and were able to advance in five games by holding their opponents to under 100 points in every game.
The two teams advancing is a nostalgic dream for those of us who grew up watching the smash mouth NBA basketball of the 1990s. There are plenty of memories and images of the rivalry from those times, and fans are excited to have a meaningful matchup between the two again.
Neither Team Taken Seriously In Title Odds
As for the oddsmakers, they like the Knicks chances, considering that they are the higher seed. The folks over at BetOnline.ag have New York as the favorite, and they are currently listed at -158. The Heat come in with a designation of +138.
Knicks vs Heat meet again in the NBA Playoffs.
Just like old times 😂😂😂
— Randy Cruz (@randyjcruz) April 27, 2023
Neither team is getting any love when it comes to NBA title odds, though. Despite both of them qualifying for the Eastern Semis, they are the 7th and 8th teams listed in terms of likeliest champion, with the Knicks at +2200 and the Heat at +2800. Only the Sacramento Kings sit behind the two of them, though that could change depending on the result of their Game 7 on Sunday.
Those numbers are quite an improvement from when the postseason started, though. Before the Heat tipped off against the Bucks, they were sitting at +10000 while the Knicks came in at +9000. For reference, the title-favored Bucks were listed at +230.
The series will start Sunday at 10am inside Madison Square Garden.
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