[Get Exclusive Tips on our Patreon, Ad-Free]
We have reached the 1/4th mark of the NBA season and things are as we thought, but also a bit different. The top two teams in the East are the Celtics and Cavaliers, the top two teams in the West are the Rockets and Warriors. This was to be expected. Where things get weird is behind that.
The Raptors could reasonably be expected to contend in the East, but following them are the Bucks and Pacers. Both of those lesser teams are on win streaks right now and could threaten for the third seed. Milwaukee has looked especially impressive of late with the MVP performance of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
At times it’s looked like the Sixers and Pistons were ready to join the ranks of competent East teams, but long losing streaks have cost both teams and it’s not unreasonable to think one of them will miss the playoffs. While Washington has to be the biggest wild card of all. They often look like one of the top teams in the East, but they haven’t played like that this year. With John Wall out, they are at .500 and in need of a jolt.
In the West, things get really weird. Kawhi Leonard is yet to play a game for San Antonio, but the Spurs are still the #3 seed in the West. They are followed by the Timberwolves who are playing their core eight way too many minutes and that could catch up with them. The Nuggets, Pelicans and Jazz are currently in the playoff mix, but all have had some injury issues this year and are vulnerable.
While Portland is currently the sixth seed, they’ve had one of the weirdest seasons of all. They are having a great defensive season, but a poor one on offense which is pretty much the inverse of their last few seasons. They don’t quite have an identity right now which is worrisome.
The craziest story of the West is if the playoffs started today, there would be no Oklahoma City Thunder. Despite having the reigning MVP in Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, this team just hasn’t been able to figure it out. It’d be a shame to see them out of the playoffs so hopefully they figure things out going forward.
NBA Betting Tips:
The Wizards are on the tail end of a long road trip tonight, but they are very close to home and draw a great match-up. They’ll face the Brooklyn Nets on the road and while the Nets have been a spunky team this year, they haven’t been great with a -3.1 Net Rating on the year. The Wizards come into this one with relatively good rest and they should be excited at the prospect of sleeping in their own beds. Washington -4 is the play here.
San Antonio just continues to get things done. They haven’t had their best player all season and they are third in the Western Conference. Well, tonight they face one of their best punching bags in the Dallas Mavericks and they get back Kawhi Leonard. This should be a slaughter. Spurs -6.5.