Oddsmakers at DraftKings released their series odds for the NBA playoffs. As expected, the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors are huge favorites to win their opening-round matchups in the Eastern Conference. Things are a little closer in the wild and unpredictable Western Conference, where the Los Angeles Clippers are the biggest favorite in the west to win their series. Meanwhile, the LA Lakers have a tough matchup against smoking-hot Damian Lillard and the surging Portland Trail Blazers.
The Bucks locked up the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Lakers held on to the top seed in the Western Conference.
The top-heavy east had six strong teams, with two sub-.500 teams advancing to the postseason in the #7 and #8 seeds. The potential play-in game in the east never came close. The Brooklyn Nets (35-37) and Orlando Magic (33-40) were jockeying for position to avoid landing the #8 seed and an opening-round matchup against the Greek Freak and the Bucks.
In the Western Conference, five teams rumbled for a shot at the play-in game. The Phoenix Suns ran the table and posted a perfect 8-0 record, but they bubbled the #9 seed. The Portland Trail Blazers also went on a heater to secure the #8 seed and a play-in game against the #9 Memphis Grizzlies. The Blazers edged out the JJJ-less Grizzlies over the weekend to secure a first-round matchup against the #1 Lakers.
If you hate the Lakers, or love an underdog, then keep an eye on Portland. The Blazers are +365 odds to upset the Lakers in their playoff series. They’re a legit live dog and one of the most dangerous #8 seeds in recent memory.
The Bucks were the favorites to win the east from the start of the preseason. They struggled in the restart with a 3-5 record, and the Greek Freak lost his cool in one game, but the #1 Bucks are still a massive favorite. The Orlando Magic slipped to the #8 seed and come into the opening round as 160/1 odds, or +1600 to win their series.
The defending champion Toronto Raptors are also huge favorites to advance. The #2 Raptors are -5000 over the banged-up Brooklyn Nets. The Nets went 5-3 in the restart under interim head coach Jacque Vaughn. They also played without Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan (COVID-19), and were missing stars Kyrie Irving (shoulder surgery) and Kevin Durant (torn Achilles).
NBA EAST SERIES ODDS
#7 Brooklyn Nets +1400
#2 Toronto Raptors -5000
#6 Philadelphia 76ers +305
#3 Boston Celtics -400
#8 Orlando Magic +1600
#1 Milwaukee Bucks -10000
#5 Miami Heat -335
#4 Indiana Pacers +250
The #4 Indiana Pacers are +250 underdogs against the #5 Miami Heat. TJ Warren (19.8 ppg) earned a spot on the All-Star Bubble Team. He dropped 53 points in the opening game and never looked better. Warren is nursing a sore foot. He’s listed as day-to-day, but he’s expected to suit up.
The Sixers were a tale of two teams this season. They boasted one of the best home records in the NBA, but struggled on the road. The Sixers went 4-4 on a neutral court at Disney during the restart. They’re in trouble without Ben Simmons, who needed surgery to repair of subluxation of his kneecap. He’ll miss the remainder of the NBA playoffs.
Wild West: Thunder/Rockets and Lakers/Blazers
The Clippers come into the playoffs as a slight favorite to win the NBA championship over the slumping Lakers.
The #2 Clippers face the #7 Dallas Mavericks in the opening round. The Unicorn and Luka Doncic will get their first taste of the postseason. You can expect Doncic to post a triple-double, but the Mavs don’t have enough firepower to keep pace with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and the Clippers.
The Houston Rockets are still favorites over the OKC Thunder, despite Russell Westbrook missing an unknown amount of time with a quad injury. Chris Paul would love to get revenge against his old team after the Rockets traded him to the Thunder in the offseason after a highly-publicized spat with ex-teammate James Harden.
NBA WEST SERIES ODDS
#6 Utah Jazz +220
#3 Denver Nuggets -278
#7 Dallas Mavericks +380
#2 LA Clippers -530
#5 OKC Thunder +120
#4 Houston Rockets -148
#8 Portland Trail Blazers +365
#1 LA Lakers -500
If you’re the Lakers, you really didn’t want to see Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers make a late run to seize the last postseason spot in the Western Conference. The Blazers were dinged-up all season, but they’re healthier now. In addition, Carmelo Anthony meshed well with the team as a valuable third-scorer behind Lillard and CJ McCollum.
The Blazers offer tremendous value at +365 to upset the Lakers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It’s rare to see an actual good team as a #8 seed. Let’s not forget though that the Blazers lost to the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 Western Conference Finals.