As the NBA playoffs draw nearer, punters should turn away from some teams. A few don’t care and others don’t want to win. The Lakers might tick both boxes. As predicted at the beginning of the season, the purple and gold aren’t where we fill our pockets.

Here’s how the week looked for punters:

First To Fifty

Nobody was picking it in October, but the Bucks just became the first team to 50 wins for the 2018-19 NBA season.

They’ve been incredible this season with Giannis Antetokounmpo playing at an MVP level and Mike Budenholzer proving a massive difference on Milwaukee’s lacklustre 44-38 record from their 2017-18 season.

Despite their surprising rise to the 1st seed in the East, the Bucks are still behind the Raptors ($2.60) to win the East at $3. While relying on them to get through the playoffs to win the conference in their first season as genuine contenders might be risky, the Bucks are otherwise a goldmine for punters.

Milwaukee’s 61.9% cover rate is the best in the NBA.

Celtics Coming To Life

Are the Celtics…back?

After losing four on the bounce out of the All-Star break, the Celtics have won four of their last five including a massive 128-95 win over the $1.45 favourites for the NBA championship, Warriors.

It’s the sort of result that can snap this so far underwhelming Celtics outfit into action. They’re still on the fourth line of betting for the Eastern Conference ($4.20), but that could all change if Boston can climb the ladder. The Celtics are now just 1.5 games back on the Pacers for the 3rd seed.

Rising Rockets

The Rockets have won seven games in a row to be 3rd in the Western Conference.

On the back of James Harden averaging 37.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.5 rebounds per game throughout the stretch, the Rockets have shot up the standings. They’re back to being considered Golden State’s biggest threat to the conference to sit on the second line of betting to win the West at $8.

Harden has been in the MVP conversation all season but is no longer the favourite. At $1.60, Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the way in the market with Harden just behind at $2.20. It appears to be a two-horse-race with Paul George the next in line way back at $10.

If Harden can somehow step his game up even further and take hold of the MVP, the Rockets might just be a chance at an upset in the West.

NBA Against The Spread Ranking

Forget the Lakers as a punter and as a fan – they’re terrible.

With their season on the line and LeBron James’ ‘playoff mode’ allegedly activated, the Lakers have lost seven of their last eight games straight up without covering the spread once. In their five games as favourites, the Lakers won just once.

They’re injury-depleted and James is on a minutes restriction.

Forget them.

Trail Blazers37-29Lakers26-39-1