The NBA’s regular season and Play-In Tournament have completed and now it’s time for the playoffs! Here, we take a look at all the Round 1 matchups in the Western Conference and provide our series prediction and best bet. Good luck to everyone following us in the post-season!
NBA Playoffs Betting Picks: Western Conference Round 1
Dallas Mavericks (5th) vs Los Angeles Clippers (4th)
Dallas Mavericks didn’t have the smoothest of regular season’s but hit their straps at the right time to finish in the top six. Luka Doncic upped his intensity in the final couple of weeks and it was necessary with Kristaps Porzingis seemingly always battling some sort of injury.
Los Angeles Clippers went about their business this season and flew under the radar somewhat. Paul George had a fantastic regular season to silence some haters after his performance in the Bubble, carrying his team while Kawhi Leonard missed plenty of games.
The Mavericks will be out for revenge from last year’s first round loss to the Clippers, but unfortunately we don’t believe they’ve added enough to their team to turn the tide. It should be a fun series to watch, but the Clippers to win in five or six games is the most likely outcome.
Portland Trail Blazers (6th) vs Denver Nuggets (3rd)
Portland Trail Blazers had a sneaky good season to finish in the top six despite dealing with constant injuries to key players. Once again it was Damian Lillard leading his team from the front, particular in the finally couple of weeks where he scored 30+ points in 8/9 games to finish the season.
Denver Nuggets were one of the Championship fancies around the midway point of the season, but a serious leg injury to star guard Jamal Murray really hurt their chances. Nikola Jokic filled the void for the most part with what will likely be an MVP season, but he’ll need to be play like a superhero if they’re to go deep into the playoffs without Murray.
These teams have a knack of playing in big games against each other and should play out a very entertaining series over the next fortnight. We expect Jokic and the Nuggets to put up a good fight, but the elite guard play of the Trail Blazers should be too much for them to handle without Murray, thus leading to a Trail Blazers win in six or seven games.
Los Angeles Lakers (7th) vs Phoenix Suns (2nd)
Los Angeles Lakers secured their spot in the playoffs via a clutch win over the Warriors in the Play-In Tournament. They certainly weren’t at their best, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis found a way to get their team over the line and now have a chance to defend their Championship.
Phoenix Suns surprised everyone this season with just how good they are. After over 10 years of not making the playoffs, the Suns were able to clinch the second seed in the West and finish with one of their best win percentages in franchise history.
A Chris Paul led team will always put up a good fight, but it’s impossible to bet against LeBron James in a best-of-seven first round series given his track record. Once again, it should be an entertaining series, but we have to give the Lakers the edge here.
Memphis Grizzlies (8th) vs Utah Jazz (1st)
Memphis Grizzlies went the hard route to make the playoffs, knocking off both the Spurs and the Warriors in back-to-back elimination games. The Grizzlies are now the youngest team to make the playoffs in 10 years since the Thunder when they had the likes of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden.
Utah Jazz were clearly the best team over the course of the regular season and thoroughly deserved to finish up with the best record in the league. Even without Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley playing over the last couple of weeks, the Jazz managed to continue to tick over the win column, showing just how deep their roster is.
While Ja Morant and his young Grizzlies teammates have been fun to watch and deserve their playoff berth, it’s impossible for us to envisage them taking it up to the Jazz over seven games. We see it as very likely that a full strength Jazz team records a series sweep.