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We're only three weeks out from the NBA restart in Orlando, which will feature eight games to determine the final playoff seeds in each conference. Three teams are fighting for two spots in the East, while the Grizzlies are trying to stave off five other teams out West.
Here are the full playoff odds for the nine teams yet to lock up a playoff spot, with our three favorite bets on the board:
|New Orleans Pelicans||+250||-310|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+420||-550|
|San Antonio Spurs||+1700||-3500|
Memphis owns a 3.5-game lead in the West for the final playoff spot and could only need to win one of two games in the play-in tournament to make the postseason. But laying -140 odds on such a scenario is a fool's errand, especially since the Grizz face one of the toughest schedules of any team in the bubble.
It seems more likely than not that Memphis will slide into a play-in, at which point the Grizzlies might not even be favored - they're a combined 2-5 against the Pelicans, Trail Blazers, and Kings this year. Getting plus-money on "no" makes this an easy call.
So if you're not betting the Grizzlies in the West, who takes the final spot? For a while, we were favoring the Blazers, who return two key pieces to their frontcourt and have a perceived inside track for the No. 9 seed thanks to a convoluted tiebreaker. Then the schedule came out, and New Orleans became the easy choice.
The Pelicans have the easiest schedule of any play-in contender out West, with just two games against teams above .500 - a welcome sight for a team that went 3-7 against teams .500 or better since Zion Williamson entered the lineup. They were 7-2 against lesser competition with the seventh-best net rating overall through the final two months of the season, and they're a strong value here at +250.
It's hard for anyone to look at -1900 odds and think "great value," so I can't fault you for passing on this one. But, objectively, it's great value. The Ringer ran 2,500 simulations when the NBA schedule was released and gave the Wizards a 98% chance of missing the playoffs - meaning implied odds of roughly -5000 - thanks to the 5.5-game deficit and the hardest remaining schedule of the three East teams in limbo.
That was before star guard Bradley Beal opted out of the restart, which all but tanks Washington's chances of making any sort of run. With Davis Bertans shelved, too, the Wizards will be lucky to win two games in Orlando, which would almost certainly mean watching the playoffs from home.
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.