Bucks, 76ers strongest favorites to make playoffs

The Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are the strongest favorites to make the playoffs, while the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns have the longest odds to reach the postseason.

Caesars Sportsbook on Tuesday released Yes/No odds on each team’s playoff chances. The Bucks at -5,000 are the biggest favorites to make next year’s postseason, followed closely by the 76ers at -4,000.

The Boston Celtics (-1,000), Indiana Pacers (-900), Toronto Raptors (-400), Brooklyn Nets (-340), Miami Heat (-300) and Orlando Magic (-160) round out the eight teams favored to reach next season’s Eastern Conference playoffs.

In the Western Conference, the LA Clippers (-2,500), Utah Jazz (-1,600), Houston Rockets (-1,400), Denver Nuggets (-1,200), Los Angeles Lakers (-1,200), Golden State Warriors (-400), Portland Trail Blazers (-280) and San Antonio Spurs (-250) are favored to reach next year’s playoffs.

Despite several superstars changing teams in the offseason, the playoff picture in both conferences is similar to last season. Fourteen of the 16 teams that reached last year’s playoffs are favored to return this season. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Detroit Pistons are the only teams that are underdogs to reach the playoffs this season after making the postseason in 2019. Caesars has the Thunder at +850 and the Pistons at +140 to make the 2020 playoffs.

The Warriors are expected to be back in the playoffs, but their odds have been tempered compared to previous years. Entering last season, Golden State was a massive favorite to make the playoffs, listed as high as -20,000. A bettor at the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas placed a $67,000 bet that the Warriors would make the playoffs at -10,000 odds and was rewarded with a $670 profit when the Warriors did indeed reach the postseason.

Things have changed with Golden State, though. With Kevin Durant off to Brooklyn and injured Klay Thompson expected to miss the bulk of the regular season, the Warriors are not nearly as convincing of favorites to make the playoffs this year. However, there are still believers in Golden State.

“We took a respected bet on [the Warriors] to win the [Pacific] Division,” Jeff Sherman, SuperBook vice president of risk, told ESPN on Tuesday, adding that only the Lakers had attracted more bets to win the NBA title than the Warriors at the Westgate.

The SuperBook posted Yes/No NBA playoff odds on Monday. Sherman said bettors backed the “No” on the Nets at +300, and the “Yes” on the Chicago Bulls (+375) and New Orleans Pelicans at +300.

The Suns and Grizzlies are each 15-1 to make the playoffs, the longest odds of any team to start.

The New York Knicks are +500 underdogs to make the playoffs at Caesars Sportsbook.

Sherman said the SuperBook moved the Knicks’ odds to win the NBA title to 1,000-1 after free agency played out. Since moving their odds to that price, the SuperBook has taken two bets on the Knicks to win the NBA title.

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