NBA Playoffs to Date, Updated Odds and Draft Lottery

Written by:
Tyrone Black
Published on:
May/13/2024

The 2024 NBA playoffs were off to an exciting start as of this (Monday) writing, with the drama of the opening round intensifying in the second round. It’s two of the four conference semifinals deadlocked to at this juncture, with two other series sitting at 2-1.

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So, no sweeps to be found in this round, but injuries could impact some outcomes. It’s not a stretch to say each team has had some adversity at this point of the season/postseason,

With two games a day or night in this second round, there’s typically at least one competitive pairing offered.

Here’s a look at where things stand, along with some other news (through this past Sunday).

Viva the ABA

In the Western Conference, it’s been the defending-champion Denver Nuggets exhuming themselves. Denver lost the first two games at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves, routed in the second contest.

Denver then went to the Target Center and returned the favor, blowing out the Wolves in Games had 3 and 4 by a combined 35 points. Aaron Gordon (11-of-12 field goals, 27 points) led the way in Game 4. Game 5 shifts back to Denver Tuesday night, where the Nuggets are four-point favorites, according to NBA odds.

Another team born in the red, white and blue American Basketball Association, the Indiana Pacers, also dug itself out. Indy, after a gutty home win over the New York Knicks Friday night, torched the visitors right away Sunday afternoon. Building a 20-point lead after the first quarter en route to a 32-point 121-89) blowout, the Pacers evened the series at two each.

Heading into Game 5 at the Madison Square Garden Tuesday evening, the Knicks are working around some injury issues. This isn’t a deep team, with its core playing major minutes in each game (except Sunday’s rout).

Regarding the Boston Celtics, a short-priced choice to win the title, they stumbled at home in Game 2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in this round the same way they stumbled at home in Game 2 against the Miami Heat in the opening round. Then the C’s again reasserted themselves on the road. Boston was a baker’s dozen (106-93, Jayson Tatum 33 points) better than the Cavs in Cleveland Saturday evening, and are sizable faves to win Game 4 in Ohio Monday evening.

Then, it’s back to Boston and Game 5 Wednesday.

The other Western series has the Dallas Mavericks with a 2-1 series lead over the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The teams remain in Dallas as Game 4 goes this (Monday) evening.

It’s back to OKC Wednesday.

Favorites in Green

As was mentioned, it’s the Boston Celtics as minus-money (-130) favorites to win the title, as per NBA championship odds.

Denver, dead and buried before flipping in its series with the Minnesota Timberwolves, are priced at 4-1 (+400) to defend their title. Minny is listed as 15-2 (+750) third choice, with the remaining quintet at…

Dallas Mavericks         17-2 (+850)
Oklahoma City Thunder     12-1 (+1200)
New York Knicks         33-1 (+3300)
Indiana Pacers         40-1 (+4000)
Cleveland Cavaliers         250-1 (+25000)

Lottery to Hawks

There’s not a generational prospect to be plucked in this draft, but still some quality to be had.

As was the case a year ago, the Detroit Pistons had the best odds to land the No. 1 pick in the lottery. They failed again.

Instead, the Atlanta Hawks, with just a three-percent chance to land the prize, did just that. Atlanta was actually in the play-in tournament this season, the last qualifier at 36-46.

Adding insult to (league-worst 14-68) incompetence here, Detroit fell to No. 5.

Here’s how the lottery unfolded Sunday…


Atlanta Hawks     (36-46 in 2023-24)
Washington Wizards    (15-67)
Houston Rockets    (41-41)
San Antonio Spurs    (22-60)
Detroit Pistons        (14-68)
Charlotte Hornets    (21-61)
Portland Trail Blazers    (21-61)
San Antonio Spurs     (via Toronto Raptors)     
Memphis Grizzlies    (27-55)
Utah Jazz        (31-51)
Chicago Bulls        (39-43)
Okla, City Thunder    (57-25, via Houston Rockets)
Sacramento Kings    (46-36)
Portland Trail Blazers    (via Golden State Warriors)

The draft is June 26th-27th in New York.

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