NBA Odds: Which bubble teams will make the 2020 playoffs?
We are getting close to the start of the NBA playoffs. While the top teams are fighting over playoff seeds, there are a few bubble teams that are on the edge of a playoff berth.
As usual, things seem a bit more competitive in the Western Conference, but the Eastern Conference has a few teams with a chance as well. Both conferences seem to have the top seven playoff teams all but confirmed. The real battle remaining is who will get the 8th seed playoff spot for each conference.
In the Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies are top bears at the moment, with +170 odds on FoxBet to make the playoffs. The Grizzlies are being led by rookie sensation Ja Morant, a particular favorite of mine, who is just a blast to watch.
Morant is averaging 17.7 points per game with just under 50% field goal percentage. Add 7 assists per game to that and he is a clear front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Grizzlies are ahead in the standings, but not by much, so though they are talented the young team may falter in the final stretch with injuries to Jaren Jackson Jr. and rookie Brandon Clarke.
Otherwise the Western Conference has the New Orleans Pelicans, at +250 on FoxBet, and the Portland Trail Blazers +200 on FoxBet. Both of these teams have the talent to catch the Grizzlies and honestly were both seen as better teams even just a short time ago. If the Grizzlies drop a few games then this race will be blown wide open, so it might be time to take advantage of the odds and bet on a team like the Pelicans to go on a run.
The Pelicans of course have the other Rookie of the Year contender, the 2019 No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. Williamson is just hitting his stride after starting the season with an injury. Williamson is averaging 24.1 points on 59.3% shooting.
In the Eastern Conference things are not quite as competitive. The Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic look like they have things wrapped up, however, the recent season-ending surgery to Nets star Kyrie Irving may change things.
The Washington Wizards are +700 on FoxBet and their star, Bradley Beal, has been unreal so far this season. He has carried the team all year, averaging 30.4 points per game and 6.1 assists per game. They could give the Nets a run for the final playoff spot if the Nets begin to collapse after Irving's injury.
The Chicago Bulls also have a shot to grasp the final playoff spot, given +800 odds on FoxBet. Another young team that could certainly capitalize with a late season run behind stars such as Zach LaVine. This seems unlikely, though, as LaVine has recently criticized the team’s culture, as he feels they should be doing better. Perhaps his tough words will spark a late-season push for a playoff spot. But probably not.
James Allen / March 2nd 2020