The second round of the NBA playoffs has blessed us with a visually beautiful statistic: One of every seed 1-8 is represented. However, this convenient seeding doesn’t paint a wholly correct picture of the teams remaining in the championship hunt. So, let’s re-seed them, if not officially then just for something to do!
It brings me no pleasure to write this, but it’s not the Knicks year. I don’t predict them falling easily to the Heat, but I’m not sure they have an answer for the soul-crushing menace of Jimmy Butler. I would love to be proven wrong! If you are a Knicks fan who has a convincing argument, please feel free to tell me (nicely, obviously).
Odds to win series vs. Heat: +120 (Bet $10 to win $12 profit if they win the series — they're underdogs)
Leave me alone Philly fans, I don’t want to hear it. I am ASSUMING Joel Embiid will be either severely limited in minutes or somewhat limited in production as he battles yet another post-season injury. It’s a bummer! Whether or not Embiid plays, the onus is now on James Harden to lead this 76ers team against the reigning Eastern Conference champs. Call me a hater, but I am just not fully bought into it.
Odds to win series vs. Celtics: +420 (Bet $10 to win $42 in profit if they win the series — they are big underdogs!)
Yeah, it DOES feel bad and wrong to list a Kevin Durant team this low, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. The Suns looked…bad against the Nuggets. Deandre Ayton was giving “I don’t want to be here” vibes, and while he claims the Suns will be a “different team” in game two, I’m not entirely convinced they can. Unless Durant decided to go supernova (and, to be clear, he could) this feels exactly like who the Suns are: Not quite put together enough to make it.
Odds to win series vs. Nuggets: +144 (Bet $10 to win $14.40 profit if they win. They're underdogs!)
Unless you have the personal cell number of Father Time himself, it never feels right to bet against Lebron James. That being said, the Lakers weren’t truly tested against the Grizzlies, and it’s fair to say a lot of their success relies on both James and Anthony Davis’ ability to stay on the floor, which hasn’t always been consistent. Will Austin Reeves continue his magnificent play? Can D’Angelo Russel score consistently? I don’t know! And that’s why the Lakers sit in the middle of the pack.
Odds to win series vs. Warriors: +134 (Underdogs! Bet $10 to win $13.40 in profit if they win the series)
Jimmy Butler is a scary dude! After leading the Heat past Giannis (albeit, injured) and the Bucks, who dares to stand in his way? Add in Kevin Love playing like he means it, the emergence of Max Strus, and solid play from Kyle Lowry and Gabe Vincent (?), and the Heat seem poised to make the Knicks hate life. Earlier this season, Katie Heindl questioned whether or not the Heat were wasting Butler’s prime. Now we know, the answer is no, because Butler won’t allow them to.
Odds to win series vs. Knicks: -145 (Favorites to win — Bet $14.50 to win $10 profit)
The Celtics’ series against the Hawks was certainly lackluster, and perhaps worrying to Boston fans who likely expected their team to dominate a weird Atlanta team. However, Jayson Tatum certainly has the opportunity to be the best player on the floor in this series against the 76ers, especially if Joel Embiid does in fact miss games with a knee injury. They made it all the way to the finals last year, so lack of experience shouldn't be a factor any more.
Odds to win series vs. Sixers: -560 (Bet $560 to win $100 profit — they are heavy favorites!)
*Insert picture of Steph Curry smiling like a maniac here.* Did you feel the chill run through the collective spine of the NBA when the camera caught Steph Curry grinning like someone who understands exactly how unstoppable they are? Curry has decided to go full Michael Jordan these playoffs, and his determination to win coupled with Kevon Looney’s paint presence feels familiarly electric. The Warriors are as good as Curry wills them to be, and as of now that is very, very good.
Odds to win series vs. Lakers: -158 (Bet $15.80 to win $10 profit!)
Honestly, the Nuggets embarrassed the Suns in game 1. Predictably, Phoenix had no real answer for Nikola Jokić, who put up 24 points and 19 rebounds against DeAndre Ayton, who seemed to forget he was a part of the game in moments. Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray are proving themselves as an unstoppable offensive threat, and as the rest of the pieces fall into place, Denver’s path to the finals seems as sure as ever.
Odds to win series vs. Suns: -172 (Bet $17.20 to win $10 profit!)