2013 NBA Playoff First Round Odds: Eastern Conference

We might have three blow-outs, but Brooklyn/Chicago should be a fight to the death.

Make sure you check out our Eastern Conference preview as well!

(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) Milwaukee Bucks

Most Likely Result: Miami Heat in 5

4 Games5 Games6 Games7 GamesTotal Win Odds

Stat to Know: Rebounding Percentage

According to basketball stats god Dean Oliver's Four Factors, rebounding percentage accounts for about 20 percent of a winning team. But in Miami's case, they seem more than willing to give up that 20 percent in order to perfect the other 80 percent. Miami's 22.2 percent offensive rebound rate sits No. 26 in the league; their 73.0 percent defensive rebound rate sits No. 24. In every single one of their other six Four Factors categories (three offensive and three defensive), Miami sits in the top 13 of the NBA.

It's been a running refrain among the Statosphere that "If you're going to beat the Heat, you're going to have to control the glass!" If that's truly the case (and I'm skeptical), it's not a good thing that Milwaukee's about as adept at rebounding as it is at warm weather. Milwaukee's defensive rebound percentage sits at an extremely poor 71.8 percent, good for 28th in the NBA. Only the Bobcats and Kings snatched less of their defensive rebound chances this season. And while their 27.9 percent offensive rebound rate does sit No. 11 in the NBA, that figure's not exactly enough to be considered an overwhelming strength.

(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) Boston Celtics

Most Likely Result: New York Knicks in 5

4 Games5 Games6 Games7 GamesTotal Win Odds
New York11.21%21.23%17.17%18.51%68.12%

Stat to Know: Post-Rondo Efficiency

Much has been made of the Celtics' Defensive Renaissance since Rondo left, the most celebrated Renaissance in Boston ever since that good-for-nothing Da Vinci guy. You've probably heard some variation on the numbers by now: the Celtics allowed 104.7 points per 100 possessions with Rondo on the court this season and 102.3 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench. Opponents shot a .492 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) against Rondo's lineups and only .469 eFG% with him off the court.

But that's not the full extent of Rondo's absence. For me, the real intrigue is on the offensive side of the ball. At 103.6 points scored per 100 possessions over the entire season, the Celtics' offense ranked No. 24 in the NBA in overall efficiency. That's not good. But that number has strangely gotten slightly better without Rondo on the floor, with the Celtics averaged 104.7 points per 100 possessions without him in the game. That's... well, still not good, but at least better than it was. Without Rondo, they also shot a slightly better .502 eFG%, up from .494 eFG% with him on the floor.

(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks

Most Likely Result: Indiana Pacers in 5

4 Games5 Games6 Games7 GamesTotal Win Odds

Stat to Know: Atlanta's Effective Field Goal Percentage

At the end of the day, it's all about putting the ball in the bucket, and the Atlanta Hawks make shots as well as anybody. Atlanta's .517 eFG% this season ranked sixth in the NBA and second in the Eastern Conference behind only Miami. Every single position on the floor shot at least .500 eFG% except for Atlanta's point guards... which shot .497 eFG% (oh no!). Winning that eFG% battle has also been crucial to Atlanta's success: over their last 20 games, the Hawks went 9-0 when having a higher eFG% than their opponent and 1-10 when their eFG% was lower.

I suppose this would probably be a good time to mention, then, that the Pacers have the best defensive effective field goal percentage in the entire NBA at .453 eFG% allowed. No other team is within .015 percentage points of the Pacers' low mark (the Thunder are second at .469 eFG% allowed). Even breaking it down by position, the Pacers don't have a weak point. Their highest effective field goal percentage allowed to an opposing position is centers, who hit only .470 eFG% against them. Good luck, Hawks shooters; you'll need it.

(4) Brooklyn Nets vs. (5) Chicago Bulls

Most Likely Result: Chicago Bulls in 6*

4 Games5 Games6 Games7 GamesTotal Win Odds

*Note: Bulls in 6 is the most likely outcome of series length, but overall, the Nets hold a slightly better chance at taking the series.

Stat to Know: Free-Throw Factor

Another one of Dean Oliver's Four Factors is a stat he likes to call "Free Throw Factor", a nifty way to compute how often a team gets to the line or lets other teams get to the line by dividing free throws made by field goals attempted. The Bulls, for example, made .201 free throws for every field goal they attempted this season, good for only 18th in the NBA. But they also allowed .206 free throws made for every field goal an opponent attempted, 16th in the NBA. Down the stretch, this disparity became even worse: the Bulls held a higher FT factor than their opponents in only five of their final 20 games. It's a legitimate weakness for a team that doesn't have many sore spots.

The Brooklynites, though, are no ordinary free throw shooting team. In keeping with the recent Brooklyn tradition of getting things as cheaply as possible, the Nets received .219 points from the charity stripe for every field goal they attempted, a ratio that sat eighth in the NBA. Perhaps even more impressive, though, was how they kept from fouling on the other end: the Nets held a defensive FT Factor of .174, second-best in the NBA. Especially in playoff games that are expected to be close, this ability to get to the line could be a major advantage for Brooklyn in the end.