As the NBA discusses a potential return, we have betting lines up on prospective playoff series. That’s because the general consensus is that the league will be heading straight to the playoffs when they’re back. If the playoffs do get underway right away, here’s a look at what the matchups will look like based on previous standings along with odds that are up from sportsbooks.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS VS. ORLANDO MAGIC
BUCKS -5000, MAGIC +1550
This series will be a short one. The Bucks had one of the best records in the NBA and a big reason for that is their star player Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis is one of the best all-around players this year and the way he effects the game is just ridiculous. The Bucks have surrounded him with two other All-Star caliber players in Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton, and given them a great supporting cast of shooters to dish it out too. The Magic, meanwhile, do not have many weapons offensively and are only getting into the playoffs because of how weak the Eastern Conference is towards the bottom. The Magic simply are not going to be able to stop Giannis throughout the series and do not have the offensive weapons to keep up. The Bucks win this one in four.
TORONTO RAPTORS VS. BROOKLYN NETS
RAPTORS -1050, NETS +675
The Toronto Raptors have been proving people wrong all season. Many believed that when Kawhi Leonard left last offseason, they could possibly miss the postseason entirely. Instead, they have seemingly rallied thanks to significant improvements from the rest of the cast. Norman Powell has been playing outstanding, performing like a quality starter, which is growth from where he was as a bench player last year. Meanwhile, Pascal Siakam, who was already emerging as a star, is now looking like the type of player you can build a franchise around. Even guys like Fred VanVleet have taken their game to another level.
The Brooklyn Nets, on the other hand, are not exhibiting the team chemistry that the Raptors have shown. With Kevin Durant (Achilles) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder) both out this season with injuries, there is not much talent left on this team to compete with the depth that the Raptors have. This should be a relatively quick series with the Raptors winning in five.
BOSTON CELTICS VS. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
CELTICS -275, 76ERS +230
This is most likely going to be the most entertaining series to watch in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have looked far improved from last season with Kemba Walker at the helm of the offense and taking a back seat scoring-wise to Jayson Tatum. Both Tatum and Jaylen Brown have had tremendous jumps in their offense and defense from last year to this year and is a big reason why they are favored to win this series.
The 76ers have struggled at times this year, with Al Horford not really fitting in as expected and Ben Simmons inability to take that next step (as a shooter). Along with their star players injury history with Joel Embiid constantly missing time, it will be incredibly hard for them to win four games against a very well rounded and defense-oriented team. Celtics win in 6.
MIAMI HEAT VS. INDIANA PACERS
HEAT -280, PACERS +235
This series will also be a fascinating one. The Pacers had recently just gotten their star player Victor Oladipo back from injury after missing about a year and he was very rusty in his first couple games back. The Pacers are a team that can seemingly compete with anyone in the East – at times – but they struggle to maintain that high level of play.
Meanwhile, the Heat have been one of the most surprising and great teams in the East. With Jimmy Butler leading this team, they have become a force to be reckoned with. They have a lot of young talent as well as Tyler Herro has looked like a star in the making in some games and Bam Adebayo has become an All-Star this season. They also added Andre Iguodala who is bound to provide great postseason experience and defense for this team.
Both teams are intriguing because either could conceivably win the East or lose in the first round. The Heat are the pick here, though. As long as their youngsters continue to deliver in the postseason, they should advance in six.