NBA Playoffs 2019: 1st-Round Predictions and Odds for All 16 Teams

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2019

The explosive shooting of Stephen Curry will make the Warriors very difficult to beat in the playoffs once again.
The explosive shooting of Stephen Curry will make the Warriors very difficult to beat in the playoffs once again.Scott Threlkeld/Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors finished the regular season with an uninspired performance and a 132-117 loss on the road to the Memphis Grizzlies, and the Milwaukee Bucks followed suit with a double-digit loss at home to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The size of the losses for both teams was notable, but they will have no impact in the long run. Golden State goes into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and as -210 favorites to win its third consecutive NBA title, while the Bucks are the No. 1 seed overall and +600 to win the championship.

A bettor wagering on the Warriors would need to risk $210 to win $100, while a $100 bet on the Bucks would return a profit of $600 if successful.

Here's a look at the odds to win the NBA title for all 16 teams in the playoffs, per Oddschecker:


NBA Championship 

Golden State Warriors, -210
Milwaukee Bucks, +600
Toronto Raptors, +1100
Houston Rockets, +1200
Philadelphia 76ers, +1700
Boston Celtics, +2300
Denver Nuggets, +3200
Oklahoma City Thunder, +4400
Utah Jazz, +5500
Portland Trailblazers, +8000
San Antonio Spurs, +8000
Los Angeles Clippers, +18000
Indiana Pacers, +21000
Brooklyn Nets, +24000
Orlando Magic, +25000
Detroit Pistons, +25000

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Eastern Conference

Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs. Detroit Pistons (8)

The Bucks have been a sensational team from the start of the season, and they were good enough that losses in two of their last three games didn't matter since they had the No. 1 seed in both the conference and the league clinched for quite a while.

The Pistons fell apart down the stretch and nearly blew their playoff opportunity, but they beat the Memphis Grizzlies and the New York Knicks in the last two games of the season to gain the Eastern Conference's last playoff spot.

The chances of the Pistons beating the Bucks are remote, as Milwaukee is a powerful team that leads the league in scoring with 118.1 points per game and is also the top rebounding team with 49.7 boards per night.

They are led by likely MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is scoring 27.7 points per game and collecting 12.5 rebounds per night while connecting on 57.7 percent of his shots. Khris Middleton is supporting his teammate with 18.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per night.

The Pistons will depend on the power game of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond to try to pull off the upset.

Griffin did not play in the playoff-clinching win over the New York Knicks Wednesday night because of an injured left knee, but he must feature here for the Pistons to have a remote chance.

Prediction: Milwaukee 4, Detroit 1


Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Orlando Magic (7)

The Raptors chased the Bucks for most of the season, but they could not catch Milwaukee and had to settle for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Magic won four in a row and eight of their last 10 to close the season.

Still, it will be tough for Orlando to stay with the versatile Raptors. Kawhi Leonard made his first (and perhaps only) season in Toronto a tremendous success as he has averaged a team-high 26.6 points per game while also coming down with 7.3 rebounds per night.

Serge Ibaka leads Toronto with 8.1 rpg, and Kyle Lowry has done a tremendous job of setting up his teammates with 8.7 assists per night.

Toronto appears to have too many options for the Magic, despite their late-season run. Orlando is averaging 107.1 points per night, which ranks 24th in the league. However, the Magic are much more proficient with their defense, as they allow 106.5 points per night, which is fifth in the league.

Nikola Vucevic is their go-to guy, averaging 20.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per night.

Prediction: Toronto 4, Orlando 2


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Philadelphia (3) vs. Brooklyn (6)

The Sixers had a tremendous season as they bypassed the Boston Celtics and showed off their power and consistency.

As well as Philadelphia played, though, it is going to get tested by a much-improved Brooklyn team that played well enough to clinch a playoff spot in the final days of the regular season.

The Sixers were fourth in the league in scoring and rebounding, and when big man Joel Embiid is on his game, Philadelphia is going to dominate on the interior.

The Cameroonian is averaging 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds per game, and he gets plenty of help from Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons and J.J. Reddick.

However, Embiid may miss the start of the playoff series with knee and back issues that have been bothering him since the All-Star break, Philadelphia general manager Elton Brand told reporters.

The Sixers may have too many options for the Nets, but Brooklyn will battle with a solid threesome that includes D'Angelo Russell, Caris LeVert and Spencer Dinwiddie.

Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown knows the Nets can be dangerous. 

"Brooklyn has always bothered us. Their style of play has bothered us," Brown said, per Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Multiple pick-and-roll players that can shoot threes really effectively, those type of teams bother us."

But not enough to win the series.

Prediction: Philadelphia 4, Brooklyn 2


Boston (4) vs. Indiana (5)

The Celtics did not meet regular-season expectations, as many thought they would have the best record in the Eastern Conference after Gordon Hayward returned from a brutal ankle injury and LeBron James left Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Boston did just enough to get homecourt advantage in the opening series, and it has a formidable lineup with Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Jayson Tatum leading the way. Hayward was an All-Star with Utah prior to his injury, but he was an up-and-down performer this year.

If the Pacers are going to get the job done in this series, they will do it with defense. The Pacers allow 104.3 points per game and that ranks first in the league. Bojan Bogdanovic lead Indiana with an average of 18.0 points per night.

The Celtics may finally wake up and play their game in the postseason. Whether they do or not, they have enough to get by the Pacers.

Prediction: Boston 4, Indiana 2


Western Conference

Golden State (1) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (8)

This is the Warriors' time of year, and if they had a few games this year when they did not appear to be as cohesive as they normally are, it's perfectly understandable because this team has accomplished so much with three titles in the last four seasonsand the potential to make it three in a row and four out of five.

There have been some distractions this year involving Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. However, when Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Durant are on the court in the postseason, it generally means the Warriors win and do it by big margins.

Curry is one of the game's all-time great outside shooters, and he leads Golden State with an average of 27.3 ppg while shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Durant is averaging 26.1 points per night, while Thompson contributes 21.6 points and is one of the best one-on-one backcourt defenders in the league.

The Clippers fought hard to make the playoffs and are clearly a scrappy team that should not be taken lightly.

Lou Williams is a fine scorer who averages 20.0 points per game, and the Clippers are a solid offensive team, averaging 114.8 points per night. They are the fifth-highest scoring team in the league.

Prediction: Golden State 4, Los Angeles 1


Denver Nuggets (2) vs. San Antonio Spurs (7)

The Nuggets nearly let the second seed in the West slip away, as they trailed the Minnesota Timberwolves by 11 points with about 3:30 to play in the regular-season finale.

After playing in a listless fashion for more than 44 minutes, they outscored Minnesota 15-0 in the closing minutes to score a 99-95 victory and earn the No. 2 seed.

Denver will have to regather against the veteran Spurs, and if their concentration is on point, they have enough to get by San Antonio. 

The unselfish Nuggets (27.4 assists per game, second in the NBA) play a creative game and can string points together as they did against Minnesota at key moments in the game. Nikola Jokic is leading the team with 19.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game, and Jamal Murray is contributing 18.2 points per game.

The Spurs will try to counter with DeMar DeRozan and big man LaMarcus Aldridge.

DeRozan is averaging 21.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per night, while Aldridge is contributing 21.2 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Prediction: Denver 4, San Antonio 3


Portland Trail Blazers (3) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (6)

While the Nuggets rallied in the final minutes for their regular-season-ending victory, the Trail Blazers put on a monster 38-18 comeback in the fourth quarter to beat the Sacramento Kings 136-131 and rise to the third position in the Western Conference playoff structure.

Their reward will be a series with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and that may be more taxing than taking on the Utah Jazz would have been had they remained in the fourth seed.

The Blazers want to use their strength on the boards to gain an advantage on the Thunder as they average 48.0 rebounds per game (2nd in NBA) to go along with their 114.4 scoring average (7th). 

If the Thunder are going to come up with the win in the series, they are going to have to slow down Damian Lillard, who is averaging a team-high 25.8 ppg for Portland. 

Of course, Oklahoma City is led by the tremendous 1-2 punch of Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

George is scoring 28.0 points per game, while Westbrook remains a remarkable stat filler. He averaged a triple-double for the third straight season, putting up 23.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.7 assists per night.

This should be a back-and-forth series, but look for the Blazers to prevail by the slimmest of margins.

Prediction: Portland 4, Oklahoma City 3


Houston Rockets (4) vs. Utah Jazz (5)

What a shocker for the Rockets, who appeared to be on their way to the No. 2 seed as the Nuggets were trailing by double digits against the Timberwolves with just minutes remaining.

Instead, Denver rallied down the stretch and the Trail Blazers pulled off their own comeback, leaving the Rockets to slip to the fourth seed.

Houston and James Harden may use that as motivation, and if they are successful against the Jazz, they will face the Warriors in the second round. 

If Utah is going to come up with the win in the series, it is going to have to slow down Harden, who is averaging a league-high 36.8 ppg. That seems to be an unlikely scenario.

The Jazz will fight hard in this series, with Donovan Mitchell leading the scoring with 23.8 points per game and Rudy Gobert contributing 15.9 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, but Houston will progress.

Prediction: Houston 4, Utah 2


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