Ready to bet on the NBA playoff bubble while inside the NBA Bubble? DraftKings recently updated its prop bets for the #8 seed and lists the Brooklyn Nets as the favorite in the East at -250 odds, and the Memphis Grizzlies the favorite in the West at -143 odds.

NBA Bubble Playoff odds 8 Seed #8 Memphis New Orleans
Pelicans big man Zion Williamson and Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant are fighting for the #8 seed in the West. (Image: Sean Gardner/Getty)

With the return of the NBA set for Thursday, the league continues to operate in a healthy environment inside the Disney Bubble in Orlando, Florida. Teams will play eight more games to finish up the regular season and determine playoff seeding and eligibility.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver halted games on March 10 when Rudy Gobert from the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus. Basketball fans around the globe have been anxiously awaiting the day when pro hoops tips off to officially end the shutdown.

Brooklyn Nets -250
Orlando Magic +225
Washington Wizards +1400

Memphis Grizzlies -143
New Orleans Pelicans +300
Portland Trail Blazers +400
Sacramento Kings +1100
San Antonio Spurs +1300
Phoenix Suns +6000
Dallas Mavericks +50000

There’s not much of a race for the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference, where the eight playoff teams have been established and the Orlando Magic are lingering on the bubble.

The wild Western Conference, on the other hand, has multiple teams fighting for the #8 seed, including the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, and Portland Trail Blazers.

East: Magic Illusion

The shallow Eastern Conference included only two potential bubble teams invited to the NBA restart in Orlando. More teams in the east have a losing record than a winning record. Only six teams were above .500 when the season shut down in March. Unless the Brooklyn Nets or the Orlando Magic go on a heater, it looks like at least two playoff teams from the east will enter the postseason with a losing record.

At present, the Brooklyn Nets hold down the #7 seed and the Orlando Magic are in the #8 slot. The Nets fired their head coach, Kenny Atkinson, shortly before the shutdown. The Nets were already missing Kyrie Irving (shoulder surgery) and Kevin Durant said he wouldn’t be ready in time (Achilles surgery) to play his first game with the Nets. Brooklyn’s key vets, Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan, both contracted coronavirus and opted out of the restart.

  • (7) Brooklyn Nets 30-34
  • (8) Orlando Magic 30-35
  • Washington Wizards 24-40

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a DFS number cruncher to know that the Nets face an uphill battle against the Magic.

The Nets are lucky that the Wizards have a slim chance at catching them for the #8 seed. The Wiz’s two best scorers will miss the restart. Davis Bertans opted out, while Bradley Beal has a nagging shoulder injury that hasn’t healed properly. The Wiz are really screwed without Beal, the NBA’s second-best scorer (30.5 ppg).

It looks like the Brooklyn Nets are destined for the #8 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, which means they will have to play the Greek Freak and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round. If the Magic secure the #7 seed, they’ll square off against the defending champion Toronto Raptors in the first round.

West Rookies: Ja or Zion

As a hoops fan, I’d love to see a play-in game between Memphis’ Ja Morant and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson to determine the #8 seed.

If I were an NBA suit or a TV executive, then I’d want Zion and the New Orleans Pelicans as the #8 seed. A LeBron James/ Zion playoff battle sells itself. Think of how many Big Macs and mobile phones corporate America will sell thanks to the first-round matchup.

The Western Conference is much deeper than the weak-sauce bottom end of the Eastern Conference. Six teams in the west are jockeying for a spot in the postseason. The winner of the #8 seed will get awarded with a first-round date to play LeBron and the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers.

  • (8) Memphis Grizzlies 32-33
  • Portland Trail Blazers 29-37
  • New Orleans Pelicans 28-36
  • Sacramento Kings 28-36
  • San Antonio Spurs 27-36
  • Phoenix Suns 26-39

The #8 seed is the Grizzlies’ to lose, but they’ll have to fend off the Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans were starting to gel as a team just before the pandemic hit. Zion looked good in his short stint since joining the team midway through the season. He missed more than half the season recovering from a knee injury. The team didn’t want to rush him back, but he’s looked good averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in the 19 games he played.

Morant, the favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year, averaged 17.6 points and 6.9 assists per game. If Zion didn’t miss 47 games, he could have challenged Morant as the best rookie.

Blaze On at #8

The Blazers are more experienced than both the New Orleans Pelicans and the Grizzlies, which gives them an edge.

The Blazers had a rough season. They were banged-up all season and so thin at power forward that they were desperate enough to call Carmelo Anthony. Melo took advantage of the opportunity to show everyone he still has gas left in the tank.

After a lengthy shutdown, many of the injured Blazers were able to heal up. Don’t forget about last year’s Blazers. In the 2019 playoffs, led by the savage scoring duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, the Blazers went all the way to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Golden State Warriors.

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