NBA Playoffs: Western Conference Predictions

    Published on Friday, April 15th

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    Final Season Standings with Futures Market (odds from Barstool Sportsbook)

    SeedTeamRecordPctTo Win WestTo Win NBA
    1Phoenix Suns64-18.780-121+225
    2Memphis Grizzlies56-26.683+550+1400
    3Golden State Warriors53-29.646+350+800
    4Dallas Mavericks52-30.634+1800+4000
    5Utah Jazz49-33.598+1000+2500
    6Denver Nuggets48-34.585+1400+3300
    7Minnesota Timberwolves46-36.560+5000+10000
    8New Orleans Pelicans36-46.439+6000+15000

    Series Previews & Predictions

    #1 Phoenix Suns vs. #8 New Orleans Pelicans
    Series Spread & Odds: Suns -2.5 (-250), Pelicans +2.5 (+185)
    Key Injuries: Zion Williamson (NOP) hasn’t suited up all season due to a fractured foot and remains out.

    Series Outlook: The Suns 64-18 regular season record was an NBA-best, and they are the heaviest favorites against the Pelicans of any Round 1 series. The time is now for Phoenix, and it’s truly championship-or-bust for a team that blew a 2-0 lead to the Bucks in the NBA Finals last year. Chris Paul is still seeking his first ring in his 17th NBA season and he has the supporting cast to make it happen. I’m predicting the Suns to cruise in 5 with the Pelicans stealing a home game, but could also see them advancing with the sweep at +150 odds.

    Series Value Picks
    Spread – Series OutcomePHO -2.5 (-250)
    Total Games Played in SeriesUnder 5.5 (-250)
    Series Correct ScorePHO 4-1 (+175)
    Series PredictionPHO in 5

    #2 Memphis Grizzlies vs. #7 Minnesota Timberwolves
    Series Spread & Odds: Grizzlies -1.5 (-150), Timberwolves +1.5 (+115)

    Series Outlook: Memphis remains underrated in the futures market, and despite finishing with the 2nd-best record in the NBA (56-26), 6 teams are more heavily favored to win it all (Memphis is +1400). The Grizzlies continue to fly under the radar likely because of their youth and lack of exposure in primetime games. Look for the Grizzlies to make a statement this postseason and gain some well-deserved respect from the public. Ja Morant is molding into a superstar, and the scary part is that this team immediately went 7-0 when Morant was sidelined in March. Get out the brooms for this one, I see Memphis making quick work of the Timberwolves in Round 1.

    Series Value Picks
    Spread – Series OutcomeMEM +1.5 (-150)
    Game 1 / Series DoubleMEM / MEM (-200)
    Total Games Played in SeriesUnder 5.5 (+111)
    Series Correct ScoreMEM 4-0 (+550)
    Series PredictionMEM in 4

    #3 Golden State Warriors vs. #6 Denver Nuggets
    Series Spread & Odds: Warriors -1.5 (-114), Nuggets +1.5 (-114)
    Key Injuries: Steph Curry (GS) has been sidelined since March 16th with a foot injury but is expected to make his return in Game 1.

    Series Outlook: The Warriors stumbled to the finish going 6-7 in the absence of Curry, but appear close to full-strength heading into the postseason. The Nuggets should pose a tough challenge for Golden State, lead by defending NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, who is a huge mismatch for any team to deal with. I see this series going deep, but the biggest factor will be the effectiveness of Curry, after being out of action for a month. There is value on the Nuggets to win the series straight up at +200, but I think the Warriors get it done in 7 games, and advance to a captivating Round 2 showdown with the Grizzlies.

    Series Value Picks
    Series WinnerDEN (+200)
    Spread – Series OutcomeDEN +1.5 (-114)
    Game 1 / Series DoubleDEN / GS (+450)
    Series Correct ScoreGS 4-3 (+350)
    Series PredictionGS in 7

    #4 Dallas Mavericks vs. #5 Utah Jazz
    Series Spread & Odds: Mavericks +1.5 (+120), Jazz -1.5 (-157)
    Key Injuries: Luka Doncic (DAL) is out for Game 1 with a calf injury and his status is uncertain for Game 2 and beyond.

    Series Outlook: The Mavericks look to have made a colossal mistake by playing their starters in the regular season finale to improve playoff seeding, losing Doncic to a calf injury in an otherwise meaningless game. His injury has had massive implications on the series lines and odds, as Dallas is now an underdog to advance at +215. I’m anticipating Utah making a big statement on the road in Game 1, and for Donovan Mitchell (27 PPG) to steal the spotlight in this series. While there is value on the Mavericks winning outright, I think the Jazz advance to face the top-seeded Suns in 6 or 7 games.

    Series Value Picks
    Series WinnerDAL (+215)
    Game 1 / Series DoubleUTA / UTA (-118)
    Total Games Played in SeriesOver 5.5 (-139)
    Series Correct ScoreUTA 4-2 (+330)
    Series PredictionUTA in 6

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