The 2020-21 NBA playoffs have tipped off, and the post-season is off to a flier! We’re already seeing some significant movement in the championship market with the Clippers and Nuggets both already under pressure.

Playoff Basketball

The NBA playoffs are here!

It has been a long, strange and, at times, boring NBA regular season, but the post-season is here and has already produced the goods.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors played out a thriller to somewhat justify the introduction of the play-in tournament. The Warriors then went onto lose their do-or-die clash against the Memphis Grizzlies as the-NBA-won’t-let-the-Warriors-lose conspiracy theorists lost their minds.

Playoffs Day 1:

The Portland Trail Blazers upset the Denver Nuggets 123-109, and the Dallas Mavericks handled the LA Clippers 113-103. The Miami Heat pushed the Milwaukee Bucks to overtime before losing 109-107 in their series opener to lay the foundations for an exciting start to an intriguing Eastern Conference playoff picture. Although, the Brooklyn Nets showed they’re well and truly the team to beat with a big 3rd quarter on their way to a 104-93 win over the Boston Celtics.

Playoffs Day 2:

Washington Wizards ($3.56) @ 76ers ($1.30/-7.5)
Los Angeles Lakers ($2.20) @ Phoenix Suns ($1.68/-3)
Atlanta Hawks ($2) @ New York Knicks ($1.80/-1.5)
Memphis Grizzlies ($4.20) @ Utah Jaz ($1.23/-8.5)

Lakers Loosening Up

The Los Angeles Lakers made a bit of a meal of it before beating the Warriors and advancing to the First Round of the NBA playoffs.

They were slow to start the game and allowed Steph Curry to finish up with 37 points. Still, the Lakers made sure to get some good practice in with LeBron James and Anthony Davis both on the court throughout the 103-100 win. James ended up with 34 minutes and a big-time bucket in the clutch as the 36-year-old registered yet another triple-double. Davis is clearly ready for the rigours of playoff rotations with 42 minutes for his 25 points and 12 rebounds.

The Lakers have come in from $6 to $5 after getting past the Warriors. While the Suns are favourites to win Game 1 in Phoenix, the general consensus is that the Lakers advance to the Second Round with relative ease.

It has been easy to forget about the Lakers while James and Davis sat on the sideline, but as we get to the pointy end of the season and the pair look somewhat healthy, they look like Brooklyn’s most likely opponents when the NBA Finals tip off in July.

The Forgotten Contenders

If the Lakers have been forgotten, it isn’t because the Utah Jazz have occupied the conversation in front of them.

The Jazz won 52 games to end the NBA regular season as the number one seed in the Western Conference. They have been excellent all season to be 3rd in offensive rating with 117.6 points per 100 possessions, while their 108.3 points conceded per 100 possessions is good for 4th in the league. Meanwhile, no team shoots a higher proportion of three’s than Utah’s 48.8% of field goal attempts from beyond the arc. Only three teams shoot better than their 38.9% from three-point range.

Still, the Jazz are on the second line of betting – behind the Lakers – at $3.40 to win the West and $6.50 to take out the NBA Finals.

They’re barely being talked about as championship contenders, but the numbers say otherwise.

Now is the time to get on the Jazz.

Championship Odds Update

We’ve already covered the Lakers shortening from $6 to $5, but their Staples Center flatmates have gone the other way. The Clippers’ series-opening loss to the Mavericks has seen their price for the NBA championship drift out to $8 from $6.50 last week. Similarly, the Nuggets are out to $51 from $34.

End of Regular Season -> Current

Eastern Conference
Western Conference
Nets – $3.10 -> $3Lakers – $6 -> $5
Bucks – $8.50 -> $8Clippers – $6.50 -> $8
76ers – $8.50 -> $8.50Jazz – $6.50 -> $6.50
Heat – $26 -> $31Suns – $21 -> $17
Knicks – $71 -> $51Nuggets – $34 -> $51
Hawks – $91 -> $91Mavericks – $36 -> $26
Celtics – $151 -> $151Trail Blazers – $51 -> $26
Wizards – $251 -> $276Grizzlies $251 -> $276