April 16, 2024

NBA betting: Which teams should you bet on in the Western Conference playoff race?

The backside of the Western Conference playoffs race is scorching, with eight teams legitimately in play for the final 5 playoffs spots with 10 video games left in the season. It’s an enormous recreation of musical chairs, the place three teams shall be disregarded when the music stops.

From a futures perspective, the race of curiosity is not simply who makes or misses the playoffs, but in addition who makes the play-in. The Rockets have received 9 straight video games to shut inside a recreation of the Warriors for that tenth and ultimate play-in slot. From the different finish, teams as soon as thought of favorites like the Clippers are in hazard of sliding right down to the play-in, which places them in danger to overlook the playoffs totally.

Let’s take a more in-depth take a look at all eight teams, and whether or not their greatest futures values are to make the playoffs, make the play-in or miss the playoffs altogether.

LA Clippers: +1200 to take part in Western Conference play-in match

From the begin of December by means of the All-Star Break in late February, the Clippers have been arguably the greatest crew in the NBA when Kawhi Leonard performed. During that stretch, they went 25-5 with a +8.8 PPG scoring margin with Kawhi on the court docket, each marks that may’ve challenged the Celtics’ at the time for the prime of the league if extrapolated for the season. Had the Clippers continued at that tempo, there was a great probability they might earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

The major query at the time was one among well being: Leonard and Paul George each have in depth histories of damage absences, and at the time each had been accessible to play in most video games. The excellent news, is, each have remained largely wholesome and accessible in the video games since. The unhealthy information, is, the Clippers have fallen right into a tailspin even with their greatest gamers on the court docket.

The Clippers are Sept. 11 in their previous 20 video games with a -2.9 PPG scoring margin, and that is with Leonard taking part in in 18 and George taking part in in 17 of the 20 video games. Their greatest situation hasn’t been well being, however as an alternative a startling lack of protection. In these 20 video games, the Clippers have given up 114.6 PPG (beneath the league common of 114.5 PPG), in comparison with the 112.3 PPG they have been permitting opponents by means of the first 51 video games. Their defensive score has slid to nineteenth in the NBA (116.2 factors allowed per 100 possessions).

The excellent news for the Clippers’ playoffs hopes is they’d constructed such a big lead for the Pacific Division race that they nonetheless have a stable probability to carry on. They have a 2.5-game lead over each the Kings and the Suns with solely 11 video games left to play, and in the event that they win the division they’re mechanically in the playoffs.

With that mentioned, the Clippers nonetheless have three video games left towards these two teams and the Kings, in explicit, have been taking part in a lot better than the Clips of late. Since each the Kings and the Suns are at the moment in the play-in vary, if both overtake the Clippers that may probably imply the Clips would fall into the play-in themselves.

Put one other manner, in their final 12 video games, the Kings are 8-4, the Suns are 7-5 and the Clippers are 5-7. If all three teams play at that very same tempo for the remainder of the season, there’s a a lot better than 12-1 probability that both/each of the Kings and Suns would possibly overtake the Clippers and push them down into the play-in. So, I discover stable long-shot worth in the Clippers at +1200 to take part in the play-in.

New Orleans Pelicans: -3500 to make playoffs, -110 to win Southwest Division, +1000 to overlook playoffs, +260 to take part in play-in

Dallas Mavericks: -2500 to make playoffs, -110 to win Southwest Division, +800 to overlook playoffs, +240 to take part in play-in

The Pelicans have received 9 of their final 12 video games to maneuver as much as the fifth seed in the Western Conference, they usually nonetheless maintain the lead in the Southwest Division…barely. But the Mavericks are sizzling as fish grease proper now (shoutout Mark Jones), winners of 5 straight video games and 9 of their final 10 and are solely a recreation again.

The Pelicans have a two-game lead over each the seventh-seeded Kings and the eighth-seeded Suns, with all three teams having 10 video games remaining. According to the Basketball Power Index (BPI), all three have very troublesome schedules remaining with the Suns as the most troublesome (0.363 BPI Strength of Schedule, projecting a 36.3 win share for a mean crew towards their schedule), Kings fourth-hardest (0.444 BPI SoS) and Pelicans fifth-most troublesome (0.455 BPI SoS). The Mavericks have a better remaining schedule than their opponents, with a BPI SoS of 0.494 that ranks 14th.

In addition, the Pelicans shall be with out star Brandon Ingram for many of the remainder of the season resulting from a bone contusion in his knee. In the three video games since Ingram went down, the Pelicans are solely 1-2 with their lone win over the lottery-bound Pistons. The Mavs are wholesome, with Luka Doncic taking part in MVP-level ball, Kyrie Irving stepping up at All NBA stage (together with an iconic left-handed hook buzzer beater from 18 ft over Nikola Jokic) and their newly-traded-for massive males offering stability on protection and on the glass.

I see affordable worth in Pelicans to take part in play-in at +260 however higher worth in Pelicans to overlook the playoffs at +1000. If they have been to slip sufficient down the stretch to fall into the play-in, their odds of dropping two extra video games towards motivated, playoffs-caliber competitors in the play-in could be higher than 4-to-1.

The Mavericks are mirrors to the Pelicans proper now. I discover it comparatively unlikely that the Mavericks slide down the stretch, however every part adjustments with the risk of damage. With that caveat, I might be impartial to the Mavericks taking part in the play-in or lacking the playoffs at +240 and +800, respectively. I see worth in the Mavs to with the Southwest at -110.

Sacramento Kings: -280 to make playoffs, +210 to overlook playoffs, +1400 to win Pacific Division, -275 to take part in play-in

Phoenix Suns: -260 to make playoffs, +200 to overlook playoffs, +2000 to win Pacific Division, -550 to take part in play-in

The Kings and Suns have virtually matching futures profiles proper now, with the identical report in the identical division and at the moment residing in the top-two play-in seeds. Both have troublesome schedules remaining, although the Suns’ is extra brutal. Both are usually taking part in higher than the Clippers, however path them by 2.5 video games for the Pacific Division. The Clippers have benefits in the season collection towards each, a 2-1 report towards the Kings (with another head-to-head remaining) and a 2-0 towards the Suns (with two extra H2Hs left).

There is not a lot juice in both crew making the playoffs or taking part in the play-in. Both are getting plus cash to overlook the playoffs totally and longshot odds to win the Pacific Division, and I see some worth for each teams for both bet. But, for lacking the playoffs, I see extra worth in the Suns at +200 as a result of they’ve the most troublesome common season schedule in the NBA which makes it probably they keep in a play-in spot. And in the event that they do, the Suns have dropping information this season towards the teams they might be probably to face. They are 2-2 towards the at the moment seventh-seeded Kings with another H2H left in Sacramento, and the Kings have outscored them by 16 factors in the collection up to now. The Suns are 2-3 towards the at the moment ninth-seeded Lakers. The Kings are 4-0 towards the Lakers, having received by a mean of 10.8 PPG, so if the present seeds held true they might nonetheless have a great probability of taking part in themselves into the playoffs.

With the remaining schedules, and given the relative ranges the Kings and Clippers are at the moment taking part in, I feel the odds of the Kings catching the Clippers are a lot shorter than 14-to-1, perhaps extra like three or 4 to 1. I subsequently discover good longshot worth in the Kings to win the Pacific at +1400.

Los Angeles Lakers: -125 to make playoffs, -105 to overlook playoffs, -1600 to take part in play-in

The Lakers are virtually assured a spot in the play-in. They are in the ninth spot, three video games behind the sixth-seeded Mavericks and three.5 video games forward of the Eleventh-seeded Rockets with 10 video games left. With an especially sizzling end they might probably overtake the Kings or Suns, each of whom they path by two video games. The probably eventualities have them at eighth or ninth, proper in the center of the play-in — the place they haven’t any juice at -1600.

The extra fascinating query is whether or not the Lakers usually tend to make or miss the playoffs, with near even cash odds in both course. They are taking part in effectively proper now, winners of six of their final eight video games with all eight towards teams at the moment slated to make the postseason. The Lakers’ remaining schedule will get a bit simpler, with a 0.510 BPI SoS that ranks sixteenth in the NBA. But, the play-in shall be all about matchups, and the Lakers have had various levels of success towards their probably opponents.

The Lakers are 0-4 with a -10.8 PPG scoring margin towards the Kings who, like the Nuggets (towards whom the Lakers are additionally winless with a double-digit common scoring deficit), run their offense by means of a do-it-all heart that has confirmed too bodily for Anthony Davis to decelerate. The Lakers are 3-2 towards the Clippers, 2-1 towards the Pelicans, 1-2 towards the Mavericks, 3-2 towards the Suns and 1-2 towards the Warriors. If the Lakers can play themselves as much as the eighth seed and the Kings might sneak into the sixth seed, the Lakers would have an affordable probability to win the 7-8 recreation and earn the seventh seed. But if the Kings keep in the play-in and the Lakers keep in the ninth spot, the Lakers might have a really powerful highway, having to defeat two teams towards whom they at the moment have dropping information to make the playoffs.

I lean towards the Lakers making the playoffs, and their BPI odds to make the playoffs are 52.1%..making this as near a toss-up as you can get.

Golden State Warriors: +290 to make playoffs, -450 to overlook playoffs, -3500 to take part in play-in

Houston Rockets: +800 to make playoffs, -2500 to overlook playoffs, +375 to take part in play-in

I discover the distinction in odds for these two teams fascinating. The Rockets have received 9 straight video games and closed to inside a single recreation of the Warriors for the tenth seed and ultimate play-in spot. The Warriors have misplaced six of their previous 10 and 7 of their final 12 video games; they appear susceptible. Yet, they’re nonetheless the overwhelming favorites to take part in the play-in. Meanwhile, the Rockets are nonetheless getting massive plus cash to even make the play-in.

There are good causes for the Warriors to be favored to carry off the Rockets. The Rockets have the far more troublesome remaining schedule, with a BPI SoS of 0.430 that’s third-hardest in the NBA. The Warriors’ BPI SoS is 0.513, 18th-hardest. The Rocket’ win streak is spectacular, however solely two of these wins have been towards teams with a greater than .500 report.

The Warriors even have a dramatic expertise and star-power benefit, and that might assist them navigate these previous few weeks to get into the play-in. The Warriors have additionally already received the season collection, with a 2-0 H2H report towards the Rockets and just one H2H remaining. Plus, the Rockets are with out arguably their greatest participant in Alperen Sengun, who injured his knee and is out for the season.

With that mentioned, Sengun’s damage appears to have allowed Jalen Green to flourish. The second total decide in the 2021 NBA Draft has exploded to 30.7 PPG (50.0 FG%, 80.0 FT%), 7.1 RPG, 4.7 3PG and three.4 APG in the final seven video games to spark the Rockets. And whereas their competitors hasn’t been the strongest, they’ve been dominant with a mean scoring margin of +15.9 PPG throughout the seven video games with out Sengun.

As such, I discover worth in the Rockets to take part in the play-in at +375. I agree with the Warriors being favored, however the Rockets are proper on the doorstep and taking part in at a really excessive stage. If the Rockets can win their subsequent matchup towards the Warriors subsequent week, this race turns into primarily a toss-up the place the Rockets are getting vital juice.