As the second half of the NBA season kicks off, teams start battling for a playoff position. Let’s take a look at the most recent playoff odds and championship odds for the Eastern and Western Conference contenders. These playoff projections were calculated by Basketball Reference.
Eastern Conference Playoff Odds
There are six teams that have an over 82% chance to make the playoffs. They are Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston, Indiana, Philadelphia and Brooklyn and we will count these teams as locks at this point. The final two spots will come down to Orlando, Detroit, Miami and Charlotte.
• Detroit Pistons – 78.1 % – Made some key acquisitions at deadline by adding Thon Maker and sharp shooter Wayne Ellington. Have a top ten scoring defense.
• Charlotte Hornets – 56.3 % – Play six games in ten days to start the second half. We will have a better understanding of their playoff chances over the next two weeks.
• Orlando Magic – 45.8 % – Have won seven out of eights games and only eight of their final 23 games against teams with a winning record.
• Miami Heat – 29.3 % – Currently ninth in the Eastern Conference and have a brutal schedule down the stretch.
If I was a betting man, which I am, I would go with the Magic and Pistons to lock up the final two spots in the Eastern Conference.
Western Conference Playoff Odds
In the west, we have seven teams that have at least a 91% chance to make the playoffs including Golden State, Denver, OKC, Portland, Utah, Houston and San Antonio. This leaves us with three teams for one spot. Minnesota is in striking distance, but I can’t see them overtaking three teams for the final spot. The three teams in contention are below along with their playoff probabilities.
• LA Clippers – 82.7 % – Traded away Tobias Harris at the deadline. Plus, important to note due to a past trade the Clippers would lose their first round pick this year if they make the playoffs.
• Sacramento Kings – 27.4 % – Young exciting team as they are ninth in the league in points per game.
• LA Lakers – 3.9 % – They are four games behind the Clippers in the win column and have an extremely difficult schedule over the final 25 games. However, can you really take the Clippers, who would benefit from not making the playoffs, and the Baby Kings over the best player on the planet in LeBron James?
In my eyes, it’s a toss up between the Kings and Lakers for the 8th seed in the West. I just can’t bet against LeBron not making the playoffs. The Lakers will find a way to snag the eighth seed.
NBA Championship Odds
The Eastern Conference playoffs will be must-watch television with four of the top six teams residing there. The problem is Golden State at this point doesn’t seem to have a viable threat in the West and should cruise to the NBA Finals. Below are the most recent odds to win the title from the best betting sites.
• Golden State Warriors – 230
• Toronto Raptors + 750
• Boston Celtics + 950
• Milwaukee Bucks + 950
• Philadelphia 76ers + 1000
• Houston Rockets + 1400
• Oklahoma City Thunder + 1600
The second round in the East should be incredible drama with Toronto, Boston, Milwaukee and Philly doing battle. But whomever survives and advances to the finals will be beaten up and drained with one of the best teams ever laying in wait. Don’t be afraid to lay the juice on the Warriors in the finals.