It’s about a third of the way through the NBA season, and it’s never too early to start looking at the playoff picture. Almost half of the league is clearly on the playoff bubble – PointsBet has 14 teams with +500 to -500 odds to reach the final eight of their conference.
A lot can change, but there is value. Here’s a look at a few of our favorite NBA playoff picks.
NBA playoff pictures and predictions
Atlanta Hawks to miss the playoffs (+300, PointsBet)
The Hawks have star power, but they haven’t played like a playoff team. Atlanta is 14-15, sitting in 9th place in the Eastern Conference and lucky to be hovering around .500. They sit 23rd in Net Rating (-1.8) and in the bottom half of the league in offensive and defensive rating.
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They have played worse lately. Like one of the worst teams in the NBA, actually. The Hawks are 27th in the league in scoring over their last 15 games — ahead of only the Magic, Hornets and Spurs — teams out of the playoff picture. It won’t get any easier anytime soon, either, as DeJunte Murray is out for at least two weeks with an ankle injury.
The drama surrounding the team is likely due to their recent misfortune on the court. Head coach Nate McMillan and star point guard Tre Young were reportedly traded, resulting in Young not playing in the game against the Denver Nuggets on Dec. 2 at State Farm Arena. did not, raising questions about McMillan’s job security and tenure. Youth leadership skills.
At least two teams from the Knicks, Pacers, Raptors, Heat and Hawks are likely to miss the playoffs. I’m betting the team at 3/1 with question marks around the locker room.
Utah Jazz make the playoffs (+215, PointsBet)
Vegas still doesn’t believe in the Utah Jazz, but we do. By the end of the year, Utah was expected to be part of the Victor Vembanyama lottery.
They have already played the borderline.
The Jazz are off to a 16-14 start despite trading away All-Stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert in the preseason. They rank 8th in the NBA in Net Rating, largely due to their high-powered offense. Jazz – Top ten teams in Effective Field Goal Percentage, True Shooting Percentage, Three Point Percentage, Assist Rate and Offensive Efficiency. They are looking for the truth.
They are a team of professionals led by players such as Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Kelly Olynyk and Collin Sexton. But the emergence of All-Star and Most Improved Player candidate Lauri Markkanen took them to the next level. The 25-year-old player averaged 22.1 points and 8.6 rebounds this season while shooting 52.7 percent.
According to Tankathon.com, they have the second easiest remaining schedule in the West. Unless Danny Ainge and the Jazz front office decide to sell, this team will be in the crowded playoff hunt. At +215, they’re as good a bet as any to sneak into the depths of the West.
Minnesota Timberwolves miss the playoffs (-160, PointsBet)
The Wolves are a complete mess, which makes this a must bet even on the downside.
After taking the Memphis Grizzlies to six games in the first round last season and acquiring three-time MVP Rudy Gobert in the offseason, Minnesota had high hopes. year.
It didn’t go according to plan. The Wolves are 13-14 and wouldn’t even be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Despite adding one of the best defenders of all time in Gobert, their defensive rating is worse this season (112.1) than last season (111.0). Injuries didn’t help either. Karl-Anthony Towns has been sidelined since late November with a sore calf and is expected to miss another two to four weeks.
There are only better playoff teams in the Western Conference this season. The aforementioned Jazz and Kings have been surprisingly competitive. The Trailblazers have recovered their skills and are in the race. Even the Lakers, who are just 1.5 games behind the Wolves, have shown signs of life lately. This team just isn’t coming together and time is running out if they want to make a run.
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New York Knicks make the playoffs (+165, PointsBet)
Given the state of the Eastern Conference, I’m surprised to see the Knicks at such high odds. As mentioned above, five teams are currently fighting for the last three spots in the East, barring the Chicago Bulls’ resurgence (doubtful).
Despite an up-and-down start, the Knicks appear to be at the top of this group. Currently riding a five-game winning streak, New York ranks 13th in Net Rating (1.0) thanks to a slightly above-average offense and defense. They are alone in the sixth seed in the East thanks to their current five-game winning streak.
Jalen Brunson looks like the player he was last year in the Mavericks’ postseason run. Racer is averaging career highs in both points (20.4) and assists (6.3) as the main driver of the team’s offense. The Knicks are also enjoying a rebounding campaign from Julius Randle, who is scoring more points and shooting at a higher rate this year while handing distribution duties to Brunson.
The Knicks are an average team, but an average team will get you to the playoffs in an Eastern Conference that lacks the firepower of mediocre teams.