Let’s hold it actual, there are solely 4 groups who’ve a shot at profitable the title this yr, until one thing loopy occurs (accidents). In the East it’s the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors, and in the West it’s going to come down to an epic collection between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors. Whereas I really like the Philadelphia 76ers, they’re younger and wish to undergo the playoff ring of fireside earlier than they will make any noise.
After making an allowance for the Vegas odds, 538%, and my eye check, right here’s my rating of each playoff staff’s possibilities to win the title:
Group, Vegas odds to win the title, 538 probability of profitable the title
16. Washington Wizards, +12,500, < 1%
The Wizards come into this recreation dropping 5 out of their final 6, 9 out of their final 12, together with their season-finale vs. the Orlando Magic. Puke. Even with John Wall coming again, I see them getting rolled in the first spherical.
15. Miami Warmth, +17,500, < 1%
The Warmth had a strong yr in case you take into accounts their damage state of affairs and general roster. That may be a testomony to coach Erik Spoelstra and his employees. And whereas they did play the Sixers robust throughout the common season (2-2), Philly is simply too scorching proper now to be stopped.
14. Minnesota Timberwolves, +20,000, < 1%
I’m glad to see some previous Bulls get into the playoffs, however they haven’t any probability towards the Rockets of their first spherical matchup. I’ll maintain it easy:
thirteen. Milwaukee Bucks, +15,000, < 1%
I had excessive hopes for this workforce coming into the yr, as they seemed strong on paper. However watching them play, their inconsistency will drive you loopy. Aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo, everybody else is so up and down from recreation to recreation. The one factor they’ve going for them on this matchup vs. the Celtics is that they’re the more healthy workforce. Brad Stevens is one in every of my favourite coaches in the recreation. He’ll provide you with a means to knock the Bucks out of the first spherical.
12. Indiana Pacers, +12,500, < 1%
I’ve to give Victor Oladipo props for the season he simply had, as I didn’t assume he can be this good. Whereas I really like what the Pacers are placing collectively, the Cavs are lastly hitting their stride. There isn’t any method LeBron James loses in the first spherical, nevertheless it ought to be a enjoyable collection to watch.
eleven. New Orleans Pelicans, +20,000, < 2%
Regardless that the Pelicans haven’t any shot at profitable the chip, can we take a minute to recognize simply how good Anthony Davis is? Since DeMarcus Cousins’ damage, AD has placed on a present. He led the league in scoring (30.2 ppg) and blocks (three.2 bpg), ranked sixth in rebounding (eleven.9 rpg), third in steals (2.1 spg) and shot an insane fifty one.four% from the area. He ought to end the season as a prime-5 MVP candidate. Please come to the Chicago Bulls! Must be an amazing first spherical collection, however both means, their season will finish quickly.
10. San Antonio Spurs. +eight,500, three%
How superb would that be? Even when Kawhi Leonard does comeback this Spurs staff has appeared previous and sluggish all yr lengthy. Gregg Popovich has achieved one other terrific teaching job getting them again into the playoffs, however their street stops right here. Will probably be an fascinating low season for the Spurs with all the Leonard rumors. Let’s simply say the place there’s smoke, there’s hearth.
9. Boston Celtics, +10,000, 2%
Are you able to think about how harmful this staff would’ve been if Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward weren’t injured? Coach Stevens has completed a masterful job with the roster he has, and whereas I do see them profitable their first spherical matchup, they haven’t any shot at profitable the title this yr. Must be a terrific studying expertise for Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Look out for this workforce subsequent yr, these Celtics vs. 76ers video games are going to be enjoyable to watch.
The Massive Lead Employees 2018 NBA Playoffs Predictions
eight. Portland Trailblazers, +5,000, three%
The Blazers come into this recreation on a bit of little bit of chilly streak, dropping four of their final 5 video games. They cut up their season collection vs. the Pelicans at 2-2. Whereas Damian Lilliard has been a legit MVP candidate this yr, and C.J. McCollum can get buckets, they only don’t have sufficient firepower to compete with the huge weapons.
7. Utah Jazz, +7,350, 5%
Donovan Mitchell is the man, Rudy Gobert is a defensive beast, and coach Quin Snyder has been terrific. They’ll end in the prime three in ROY, DPOY, and COY voting, and have a official probability at sweeping these awards. This Jazz workforce has been enjoyable to watch and they are going to be a troublesome out in the playoffs. That being stated, they’re nonetheless younger and can want a while to contend.
6. Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder, +four,000, 5%
The Thunder solely gained yet one more recreation this season than final in any case the hype of including Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Whereas the Jazz pose a troublesome first spherical matchup for them, I feel their expertise wins out. Russell Westbrook averaged a triple double once more. Love him or hate him, the dude goes arduous. I can’t wait to see him and Donovan Mitchell go at one another.
5. Philadelphia 76ers, +2.500, eleven%
#TrustTheProcess foo! It makes me so pleased to see Sam Hinkie’s plan come collectively, as most anticipated it to fail. The Sixers are scorching and rolling into the playoffs. Ben Simmons has been an absolute monster, and hopefully Joel Embiid can be a part of the celebration quickly. The one factor holding them again is expertise. Most title groups want to undergo some robust playoff battles first, earlier than they will ultimately win all of it. I can’t wait to see how good they’re subsequent yr. On a aspect observe, don’t overlook all the Hassan Whiteside and Embiid beef. This primary spherical matchup ought to be a enjoyable one, on and off the courtroom (social media).
four. Toronto Raptors, +800, 17%
Can the Raptors lastly recover from the hump? This has been their greatest season to date, and Dwane Casey ought to be in the COY mentions. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have an incredible chemistry collectively, and Fred Van Vleet has been enjoyable to watch. Although I personally assume the Cavs will beat the Raptors in the second spherical, Vegas and 538 each love the Raptors in that matchup. It sucks that their reward for such a superb season is to face the Cavs in the second spherical. If they will lastly defeat LeBron, they’ll make their first NBA Finals.
three. Cleveland Cavaliers, +650, four%
I used to be a King James hater, now I’m a defender. What else are you able to say after what LeBron has finished the previous few seasons? He introduced a chip to Cleveland, and it doesn’t seem like he has misplaced a step this season, simply dunking on individuals’s heads. Whereas 538 provides them solely a four% probability of profitable, by no means rely out the King. Dealing with the Raptors in the second spherical will probably be a troublesome check, however LeBron will go into superman mode. I’m choosing them to make the Finals over the Raptors. Wanting ahead to Lebron’s tweet today about going darkish for the playoffs.
2. Golden State Warriors, +one hundred thirty five, four%
Everybody is aware of whoever wins Rockets vs. Warriors goes to win the title. Whereas the Warriors are the Vegas favorites to win all of it, 538 provides them a surprisingly low four% probability at profitable the title. Sure, I had to triple verify that to be certain. The lengthy submit seasons are lastly getting to them, and the accidents are beginning to pile up. The Steph Curry stuff scares me, as having a layoff for that lengthy will certainly have an effect on his recreation. Until he comes again like his MVP-self, I see the Rockets lastly getting over the hump.
1. Houston Rockets, +230, forty four%
The Rockets come into the playoffs as 538’s darlings, with a forty four% probability at profitable the title. And why wouldn’t they after profitable sixty five video games this yr. James Harden had a MVP season, and his chemistry with Chris Paul has been higher than most individuals anticipated. Whereas I’ve by no means been a CP3 fan, I do assume he’s the proper cog for this workforce and the way they run their offense. Clint Capela is the X-issue for me. The best way they run the decide and roll with him makes them unstoppable. The Rockets went forty two-three in video games during which James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela performed. Sure, you learn that proper. If they will’t do it this yr, they by no means will.
Can’t watch for the playoffs to tip-off tomorrow, let’s go!