2018 NBA Playoffs: Odds, trends and picks

No Steph Curry in Round 1 for Golden State. Patrick Smith/Getty Images

With 82 games down and an added 5 minutes of overtime for the final spot in the West brings us here. The NBA Playoffs, let the games begin.

Updated Playoff NBA Championship Odds

2017-18 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS                  

Golden State Warriors    +135

Houston Rockets    +160

Cleveland Cavaliers    +650

Toronto Raptors    +850     

Philadelphia 76ers    +1500

Oklahoma City Thunder    +2500

Portland Trail Blazers    +3300

Utah Jazz    +4500

San Antonio Spurs    +6000

Boston Celtics    +7000

Minnesota Timberwolves    +9000

Washington Wizards    +10000

New Orleans Pelicans    +10000

Milwaukee Bucks    +10000

Indiana Pacers    +10000

Miami Heat    +15000

As expected. Houston and Golden State lead the way paying out substantially less than the rest of the field. The next team up in term of betting odds, Cleveland, sits at +650 leading the East, although they finished fourth in the conference. Before the season started, the inevitable finals clash between the Warriors and Cavaliers had LeBron James and company priced at +500, now after all the turmoil of this season, you can get greater odds.

The sleeper on everyone's radar seems to be Philidelphia sitting at +1500. While this might seem like a decent price for a team playing as well as anyone in the league, the truth is someone is sitting out there with a pre-NBA season ticket with the 76ers at +15000. In this year's field, there are a few preseason longshots, before the season tipping off the Blazers, Jazz, Timberwolves, and Pacers were all +15000 to win the title.

The hometown Houston Rockets odds dropped considerably from the beginning of the year, where preseason they could be had at +700, now you're getting +160/+190.

While some teams overexceeded expectations and lost odds, others played under the radar and pay out larger amounts than betting them at the beginning of the year leaving backers scratching their heads.

             Current  | Pre Season

Spurs      +6000   +1500

Celitics   +7000   +2000

Wizards  +10000   +5000

Bucks      +10000 +7500

Heat        +15000 +12500

Series odds

Eastern Conference - First Round

Boston vs. Milwaukee

Celtics (-150)

Bucks (+130)

Philadelphia vs. Miami

76ers (-550)

Heat (+420)

Toronto vs. Washington

Raptors (-650)

Wizards (+480)

Cleveland vs. Indiana

Cavaliers (-650)

Pacers (+480)

Western Conference - First Round

Oklahoma City vs. Utah

Thunder (-135)

Jazz (+115)

Portland vs. New Orleans

Trail Blazers (-225)

Pelicans (+190)

Golden State vs. San Antonio

Warriors (-1500)

Spurs (+900)

Houston vs. Minnesota

Rockets (-6000)

Timberwolves (+2000)

ATS Trends

Boston vs. Milwaukee

Boston 50-30-2 ATS

Boston 22-17-2 ATS at home

Boston 30-25-2 ATS as the favorite

Milwaukee 35-44-3 ATS

Milwaukee 22-18-1 ATS on the road

Milwaukee 15-18-1 ATS as a dog.

Philadelphia vs. Miami

Philadelphia 47-33-2 ATS

Philadelphia 27-14 ATS at home

Philadelphia  34-21 as the favorite

Miami 40-36-6 ATS

Miami 24-15-2 ATS on the road

Miami 22-15-3 ATS as the dog

Toronto vs. Washington

Toronto  43-38-1 ATS

Toronto 21-19-1 ATS at home

Toronto 34-33-1 ATS as the favorite

Washington 37-44-1  ATS

Washington  21-20 ATS on the road

Washington 18-11 ATS as the dog

Cleveland vs. Indiana

Cleveland 32-49-1 ATS

Cleveland  13-27-1 ATS at home

Cleveland 19-44-1 ATS as the favorite

Indiana 47-35 ATS   

Indiana 23-18 ATS on the road   

Indiana 22-22 ATS as the dog   

Oklahoma City vs. Utah

Oklahoma City   34-47-1 ATS

Oklahoma City  16-24-1 ATS at home

Oklahoma City   27-41-1 ATS as the favorite

Utah  43-38-1 ATS

Utah  21-19-1 ATS on the road

Utah 20-17 ATS as the dog

Portland vs. New Orleans

Portland 45-31-6 ATS

Portland 22-14-5 ATS at home

Portland 28-20-4 ATS as the favorite

New Orleans  45-36-1 ATS

New Orleans  19-21-1 ATS on the road

New Orleans  18-18 ATS as the dog   

Golden State vs. San Antonio

Golden State 34-47-1 ATS   

Golden State 16-24-1 ATS at home

Golden State 33-42-1 ATS as the favorite

San Antonio 40-38-4 ATS

San Antonio 15-24-2 ATS on the road

San Antonio 10-12-1 ATS as the dog

Houston vs. Minnesota

Houston 41-39-2 ATS

Houston 17-23-1 ATS at home

Houston 39-34-2 ATS as the favorite   

Minnesota 37-42-3 ATS

Minnesota 17-23-1 ATS on the road

Minnesota 13-18 ATS as the dog

Weekend Picks

Thunder vs Jazz Game 1

Under 205

Rockets vs. Thunder Game 1

Rockets Team Total over 114

Warriors vs. Spurs Game 1


Blazers vs. Pelicans Game 1

Over 217

Blazers Team Total over 111

76ers vs. Heat Game 1

76ers 1st quarter -2

76ers first half -4

Celtics win series

Thunder win series

For any questions or comments reach me @JerryBoknowz on Twitter


Photo credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Rockets are opting not to renew associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik's contract for next season. Bzdelik was brought to Houston in 2016 to be a defensive counterpart to head coach Mike D'Antoni and briefly left the team for personal reasons this year before returning in late November. It is unknown the official reason he was let go, but Bzdelik was famously non-committal about returning to the Rockets next season.

"That's a really good question. I don't know the answer to it," Bzdelik said to Feigen last month. "First of all, none of us have any guarantees on tomorrow. Second, you have to ask my wife. I don't think it's that big of a deal."

When asked why Bzdelik was let go, Morey told Feigen, "We're looking for any way to improve. That goes for players, coaches, front office, everything."

So while Morey acknowledged that Bzdelik did a "fantastic job" with the Rockets, it seems that the organization wants to make a meaningful upgrade at associate head coach. Not renewing Bzdelik contract is quite the move, but this is an organization known for their careful decision making (Bzdelik himself was hired after a month-long coaching search). Given their track record, it's likely the move wasn't made hastily. Trying to discern how much credit Bzdelik should be given for Houston's turnaround defensively this season is difficult as the Rockets were largely the same defensively after he returned to the bench.

Houston Rockets Defensive Rating:

Before Bzdelik Returned: 109.8

After Bzdelik Returned: 110.2

However, ignoring the impact that Bzdelik had on Houston's defensive culture would be naive. Bzdelik had a large part in implementing Houston's switch-heavy scheme over the past couple seasons that kept Houston competitive against the Golden State Warriors. The Rockets now have a large hole in Bzdelik's absence at associate head coach that needs to be filled and it'll be interesting to see which direction they go in. There are a couple candidates that stick out though based on Houston's prior dealings.

1) Roy Rogers (current Houston Rockets assistant coach)

The Rockets are no strangers to promoting from within and Rogers took the interim associate head coach job in Bzdelik's absence this season. While the Rockets were fairly mediocre defensively in that time, Rogers was given short notice to prepare for the role and responsibilities that came with it. With ten years of NBA coaching experience under his belt and three with the Rockets, Rogers profiles as an obvious candidate to take over the position should the Rockets choose to give it to him. Rogers has seen time in New Jersey, Boston, Detroit, Brooklyn, and Washington before he took the position in Houston in 2016. He stems from the Lawrence Frank/Doc Rivers coaching tree and played professional basketball for eight years (four of those in the NBA) so his ability to relate to players has always been an asset.

2) Lionel Hollins (former Brooklyn Nets head coach)

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has considered hiring Lionel Hollins at several points in the past decade. In 2014, Houston wanted to add Hollins to Kevin McHale's coaching staff as an assistant, but he was hired by the Nets to be a head coach soon after. Two years later, they were interested in bringing Hollins on as a lead assistant for Stephen Silas, but opted for the pairing of D'Antoni and Bzdelik instead. Hollins has decades of coaching experience under his belt and is known for placing a heavy emphasis on the defensive side of the ball.

3) Jeff Hornacek (former New York Knicks head coach)

It's likely Hornacek wants a shot at being a head coach again, but the 56-year-old is no stranger to being an assistant coach. Hornacek saw time in Utah and Golden State as an assistant and sitting on the bench for a team like Houston could help raise his profile when another head coaching opportunity opens up elsewhere. Hornacek was also a candidate for the Rockets head coaching job in 2016.

4) Ime Udoka (current San Antonio Spurs assistant coach)

Udoka has been with the Spurs for seven years and in that time he has earned a sterling reputation around the NBA for his ability to communicate with players. Udoka may still be a few years away from landing interviews for a head coaching position, he may be seasoned for a shot at an associate head coaching job.

"He exudes a confidence and a comfort in his own skin where people just gravitate to him," Popovich said of Udoka in 2016. "He's a fundamentally sound teacher because he's comfortable with himself, he knows the material and players read it."

5) Stephen Silas (current Dallas Mavericks associate head coach)

This may seem like a bit of curveball (and difficult to pull off), but Silas was actually a finalist for the head coaching job in 2016. Silas came away impressing the Rockets enough to earn a second interview and the Rockets even considered making Silas the lead assistant for D'Antoni. It would be tricky to lure Silas away from Dallas as he would essentially be signing on for a job he already has and the Mavericks were able to secure him to a multi-year deal back in May. It would likely require the Rockets seeking permission from the Mavericks.

There is no shortage of coaching talent around the league and the Rockets will have a lot of time to replace Bzdelik's services before training camp this August.

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