Last week, Caesars Sportsbook released its projected win totals for all 30 NBA teams ahead of the upcoming 2019-20 regular season. On Wednesday, Caesars released yes/no odds on whether each team will qualify for the playoffs. The Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, widely considered to be the two best teams in a watered-down Eastern Conference, checked in with the best 2019-20 NBA Playoffs odds. The Phoenix Suns, meanwhile, own the worst odds of qualifying.
The Bucks are listed at -5000 to finish in the top 8 of the Eastern Conference. Considering Milwaukee won an NBA-high 60 games last season, the Bucks look like a near-lock to make it to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. Milwaukee lost a key cog in Malcolm Brogdon in free agency, but they did manage to retain the likes of Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton on new long-term contracts. The team also signed veteran free agents Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver, so the Bucks will have no shortage of three-point shooting surrounding reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The 76ers also lost a star in Jimmy Butler via free agency, while J.J. Redick left for New Orleans. However, Philly countered by signing big man Al Horford away from the Celtics while keeping Tobias Harris on a new max-level contract. With a young tandem in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons already in place, there is no reason to expect Philly to drop off after winning 51 games a season ago. The Sixers currently check in at -4000 for 2019-20 NBA Playoffs odds.
Oddsmakers believe the Boston Celtics (-1000), Indiana Pacers (-900), Miami Heat (-300), Brooklyn Nets (-340), Toronto Raptors (-400), and Orlando Magic (-160) will join Milwaukee and Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The lone playoff team from last season without minus-odds to qualify in the east next season is Detroit (+140). The Heat, who signed Butler, missed the playoffs a season ago.
The top half of the Western Conference is even more clear-cut according to oddsmakers. The Los Angeles Clippers (-2500), Utah Jazz (-1600), Houston Rockets (-1400), Denver Nuggets (-1200), and Los Angeles Lakers (-1200) all have their 2019-20 NBA Playoffs odds at -1000 or better. That leaves the Golden State Warriors (-400), Portland Trail Blazers (-280), and San Antonio Spurs (-250) as the remaining three teams pegged to finish in the top 8 out west.
The Oklahoma City Thunder, who traded both Paul George and Russell Westbrook this summer, are the only Western Conference team that qualified last year who are not expected to make it back. The new-look Thunder are way down at +850 to qualify after their roster overhaul. The Lakers, who revamped their roster for a second consecutive offseason, are the team expected to take their place in the 2019-20 NBA Playoffs.
The teams that appeared in the most recent NBA Finals are both expected to make the playoffs, but both teams have taken serious hits this offseason. The Raptors, fresh off of their first-ever NBA championship, lost Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the Clippers. Toronto should still be able to make the playoffs in a bad conference, but most believe their hopes of repeating as champions are slim at best.
The Warriors, who have appeared in the NBA Finals in each of the last five years, are now at -400 after losing Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Iguodala, and a few other key players this summer. Golden State still has Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, but Klay Thompson is expected to miss the first several months of the season after tearing his ACL in the last game of the Finals. The Warriors traded for D’Angelo Russell, but it remains to be seen how he’ll fit in a crowded backcourt with Curry and Thompson moving forward.
While the Warriors aren’t quite the same team we have seen in recent years, they are still reportedly attracting plenty of betting interest. Jeff Sherman, the Vice President of Risk Management at the Westgate SuperBook, told ESPN,
“We took a respected bet on the Warriors to win the Pacific Division.”
Despite a depleted roster, Sherman added that the Warriors have attracted more bets than any team other than the Lakers to win the championship next season.
Last year, the SuperBook listed the Warriors as high as -20000 to make the playoffs. One particularly bold bettor did take the bait, as he placed a $67,000 bet on Golden State qualifying at -10000 odds. Once the Warriors made the playoffs, the bettor collected his $670 profit.
The SuperBook posted its own yes/no 2019-20 NBA Playoffs odds on Monday. Per ESPN, Sherman said that several bettors bet on the Nets missing the playoffs (+300), with the Chicago Bulls (+375) and New Orleans Pelicans (+300) attracting “yes” bets.
The Phoenix Suns and Memphis Grizzlies, who are both listed at -5000 to miss the playoffs, are the least likely teams to qualify per oddsmakers.
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