Are the Brooklyn Nets going to come out of the Eastern Conference? Will the much-hyped ‘super team’ get taken down by conference rival Philadelphia or Milwaukee first and foremost?
Out west, are the prohibitive favorite LA Lakers in trouble? Will LeBron and company get beat out by surging Phoenix, a Utah Jazz team that has led the league all season long or the in-arena rival LA Clippers?
With just over 10 games remaining for the majority of teams and the 2020-21 NBA regular season steamrolling toward a fast and furious finish in both conferences, it’s time to take a fun-filled look at the top favorites, dark horses and potential upset winners as we get set for the quickly-approaching postseason. With that in mind, let’s get right to it so you can make your bets against their NBA Playoffs odds.
Upsets, Dark horses, and Favorites | NBA Playoffs Betting Predictions
Analysis: I’m sorry, but I don’t care how many points Brooklyn can put on the board. Until I see the Nets actually start to play some sort of defense – any kind of defense – I’m not backing them to win it all. Besides, Kyrie Irving is a nut job, Kevin Durant is a thin-skinned cry baby and James Harden, well, there’s actually nothing negative to say about the former league MVP.
As far as the Lakers are concerned, I have no faith in the defending champs whatsoever. The recent return of Anthony Davis and the impending return of LeBron James notwithstanding, I just don’t see LA getting past a handful of more cohesive Western Conference counterparts.
I like the LA Clippers, just not enough to back them to come out of the Western Conference. Paul George has been highly impressive, but Kawhi Leonard hasn’t been. Plus, the Clips have a penchant for the untimely head-scratching loss.
I love the Utah Jazz this season and their chances of winning the Western Conference eat the very least – if they can get Donovan Mitchell back on the court in time to e-find the groove that has made him one of the game’s very best players this season.
As far as the Milwaukee is concerned, I’m going to say the Bucks have a great chance to win the Eastern Conference over both, Brooklyn and Philadelphia. Milwaukee just handed Philly consecutive losses last week and they’ve played Brooklyn tooth and nail this season as well. In the end, I like Utah, first and foremost out of this group, followed by Milwaukee.
Analysis: I don’t give a damn what anyone says…for me, Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns are more than legitimate contenders. I think it’s quite possible the underrated and underappreciated Suns could win the Western Conference crown this season.
As far as my hometown Philadelphia 76ers are concerned, I think it’s quite possible that Philly could come out of the Eastern Conference, although I like Milwaukee’s bench better than Philly’s. The 76ers are the best defensive team out of the trio of top conference favorites and have an unstoppable superstar in center Joel Embiid.
When it come to the Denver Nuggets, I also believe the Nuggets could challenge to come out of the Western Conference, although the loss of point guard Jamal Murray is a huge loss I don’t think Denver will be able to overcome as we move later into the playoffs. Still, the Nuggets have been very good without Murray and have the look of a team that won’t go quietly into the night, even without the sweet-shooting Murray.
My Top Dark Horses
Analysis: When it comes to dark horse title contenders, the Heat, Blazers and unheralded Atlanta Hawks have the look of teams that could definitely pull off an upset – or two- over a higher seeded opponent. The Heat don’t look nearly as daunting as they did last season, but then again, it wasn’t until the playoffs that Miami really took off, so theoretically, it could happen again. Still, Tyler Herro has regressed this season and Duncan Robinson isn’t shooting the rock quite as efficiently as he did a year ago with opponents playing him to shoot the three ball.
I love Damian Lillard, but Portland is the most maddeningly inconsistent team in the league. Still, Portland seemingly has everything it takes to beat one or two of the higher seeded teams out west – and Lillard is arguably the biggest late-game shot-maker there is in the league today.
Last, but not least, the Atlanta Hawks have taken off since naming Nate McMillian as head coach a couple of months ago. Atlanta has one of the game’s best perimeter shooters in Trae Young and a plethora of talent at almost every other position with underrated players like Clint Capela, John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic. Atlanta is playing defense at a high level under McMillian and seemingly has a newfound belief they can beat anyone.