By Darren Cooper
Just like in basketball, your starting five is important. It can lead you to the promised land.
DraftKings Sportsbook has a new promo available for new customers in Illinois where your starting five – an initial $5 bet – will reward you with six free $25 bets to use on the NBA playoffs.
The promotion is open from now until April 30. It is only open for new customers, and you have to be over 21.
All you must do is make a deposit of $5 or more into your sportsbook account, then place your first bet on the NBA. If the bet wins, you get the proceeds. No matter what though, it unlocks six $25 dollar bets for you to use within the next seven days.
There is plenty of NBA action to consider. The first round of the NBA playoffs is underway. Here’s a look – as of Wednesday afternoon – at where things stand and the favorites. You can bet on all of the action at online sportsbooks in Illinois.
2022 NBA Playoff odds
No. 1 Phoenix Suns vs. No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans. Series is tied at 1-1.
There is no favorite on the DraftKings board at the moment because Suns star Devin Booker was injured Tuesday night. The surprising Pelicans got a huge game from Brandon Ingram to win Game 2. The series shifts back to New Orleans on Friday.
No. 4 Dallas Mavericks vs. No. 5 Utah Jazz. Series tied 1-1.
(Jazz are -215 to win series)
The Mavericks have been without star Luka Doncic with a calf injury, but he is expected to return for the series at some point. The Jazz won Game 1 99-93 powered by Donovan Mitchell. The Mavericks have lost 11 straight games in Utah. Are the Mavericks in danger?
No. 3 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 6 Denver Nuggets. Warriors lead 2-0.
Hampered by injuries in the regular season, Golden State has been on fire in the playoffs. Steph Curry came off the bench to score 34 points in the Game 2 win Monday. This series has already gotten chippy. Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was ejected from Game 2 for arguing with the officials.
No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves. Series tied 1-1.
The young T-Wolves stunned Memphis in a Game 1 win behind 36 points from Anthony Edwards, but Memphis came back with a 124-96 beatdown in Game 2 as star Ja Maront had 23 points and 10 assists. It was the largest margin of victory for Memphis in the playoffs.
No. 1 Miami Heat vs. No. 8 Atlanta Hawks. Heat leads 2-0.
The Heat have stopped Hawks star Trae Young. He was limited to just eight points in Game 1, and Heat star Jimmy Butler put up a playoff-high 45 points in Game 2. Miami appears to have too much for the Hawks to contend with.
No. 4 Philadelphia 76ers vs. No. 5 Toronto Raptors. 76ers lead 2-0.
On paper this looked like the best series in the first round, but it has been all Philadelphia so far. Joel Embiid had 31 points in a Game 2 win and Tyrese Maxey has come out of nowhere to spark the Philadelphia offense.
However, the 76ers will be without defensive wizard Matisse Thybulle for games in Canada because he’s not fully vaccinated.
No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks vs. No. 6 Chicago Bulls. Bucks lead 1-0.
Chicago fans know the story of the Bulls this season. The Bulls were 38-21 on February 21 but ended the regular season 8-15 and have not been sharp for over a month. The Bucks are defending NBA champs and have beaten the Bulls in 17 of the last 18 meetings.
No. 2 Boston Celtics vs. No. 7 Brooklyn Nets. Celtics lead 1-0.
Game 1 between these two teams was an instant classic with Celtics star Jayson Tatum scoring on a spinning lay-up at the buzzer. The game also featured Nets star Kyrie Irving shooting the bird at the Celtics crowd. Remember, Brooklyn had injury issues all year and they are better than a seven seed, especially when Kevin Durant gets going.