The NBA’s West still has a lot to be settled in the final week of the season, and 2-8, the playoff standings are far from set. The NBA Odds will be very close between all of these teams come playoff time, so will their be any Cinderella stories?
(7) vs. (8)
Although I don’t think we will see the 7th and 8th seed in the Western Conference Finals, this year’s playoffs on that side of the bracket could have plenty of drama, and maybe a few first round upsets. Although I’m not sure where it will come from (mostly because the standings are still shuffling) I do think there will be one first round upset, even if it’s just the 5th beating the 4th seed.
One team that could be particularly vulnerable is the Oklahoma City Thunder. Even though they look strong at times, they still lack a valuable post presence on offense, and if their shots aren’t falling, a lesser team can beat them.
If the playoff started today, the Mavs would be OKC’s opponent, and they are playing their best basketball of the season right now. Don’t go betting the farm on the Thunder to win the title just yet, because by the looks of things, their road back to the Finals would be as tough as any team in the playoffs.
Another one of the reasons I think the Thunder could be a good fade is their chemistry issues. Russell Westbrook has played only half of the Thunder’s games this season, and while they could easily turn things around, they are not playing their best basketball right now, and I think Westbrook’s absence and midseason return could have a lot to do with it.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one of those people who say the team would be better without Westbrook. We can debate until the end of time whether or not they should have kept James Harden instead of Westbrook, but they have made their bed, and a Thunder team without Westbrook is not winning the Finals either.
All this said, I think one of the better bets this postseason might be a game-to-game fade of the Thunder. The sportsbooks, and the public will almost certainly overvalue them on the betting odds board.
I said above there could be some Cinderella teams, and one team that has shown their ability to be a dark horse in the playoffs is the Blazers. They could not only be a good bet ATS, they could also be solid as an underdog against a team like the Rockets or Clippers in the 1st round. Portland was playing like a title contender to start the season, and as long as they can play at least some defense, they could move onto the second round.
Another team I am looking at is the Grizzlies. Even though they aren’t currently in the playoffs, they have an easier schedule down the stretch than the Suns do, and if Memphis sneaks into the 8th spot and plays the Spurs, we all know they can beat them from that position.