The first round of the NBA playoffs of the 2020/21 season is now almost over and interesting prospects are already starting to emerge on the teams that will reach the Finals.
In this article, we will see which are the favorites and why, remembering that there are many betting sites offering the opportunity to bet, even in-play, on all NBA playoff games.
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So much uncertainty in the Western Conference
In the West, the NBA playoffs are already at risk of seeing a major casualty. It's the reigning champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, who are on the verge of being eliminated. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have battled injuries throughout the year, and Phoenix seems to want to take advantage of this moment of weakness.
The Kawhi Leonard and Paul George-led Los Angeles Clippers remain one of the favorites in the Western Conference but will have to surpass Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavs to hope to reach the finals.
The most enticing series out West is the one between Denver and the Portland Trail Blazers. These two teams have played magnificently thus far and it's known that the presumed MVP Nikola Jokic and the Blazers' star Damian Lillard are ready to put on a show.
The favorite teams for the Finals
As for the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and Milwaukee Bucks are the favorites to make the cut for the playoffs and reach the Finals. But credit should be given to the New York Knicks.
After several years of internal crisis and continuous coaching changes, the Knicks have decided to hire Leon Rose as the president of the organization and appoint Tom Thibodeau as the new coach, thus bringing a wind of revolution never seen before. The results were immediately visible, managing to enter the playoffs for the first time since the Carmelo Anthony era, against everyone's expectations. The dream could be short-lived as Danilo Gallinari's Hawks quickly took the lead in the first round.
As for the Western Conference, there are many high-level teams vying for playoff spots this year, as mentioned in the previous paragraph. Nothing seems to be hampering the Utah Jazz (who enter the playoffs with a record of 52-20) and the Phoenix Suns (with a record of 51-21), as evidenced by their first-round victories over the Lakers.
The next few weeks will tell us whether these two teams will be able to win a sweep and continue their journey or whether their rivals will be able to overturn all the odds and make the series more competitive than ever.
Successfully making predictions in basketball is always difficult, especially when it comes to playoffs. But one thing is for sure: seeing the teams squaring off in the various arenas and witnessing the return of the fans fills us all with indescribable joy.