Last Friday saw the big battle in the NBA, as the top of the Western Conference took on the top in the Eastern Conference with The Lakers beating the Bucks 113-103.
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The win makes it 1-1 in the head-to-head series between the NBA’s best. A prelude to the 2020 Playoff final? Let’s hope so.
We now have two teams booking their place in the NBA post-season. But who else will manage to make the big show in April?
Washington Wizards (8.00)
The Wizards sit ninth in the East, with a record of 23-40 for the season so far. They are six wins off 8th spot, with the Nets and Magic just ahead on 29 wins, and will be hoping to close the game over the next couple of weeks.
Washington has struggled this season and it mainly comes down to their leaky defence. The Wizards are allowing a shocking 119.7 points per game on average, which is the highest in the league and a spot they’ve occupied throughout the 2019/20 campaign.
However, the Wizards have a roster of elite offensive players like Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans (averaging 15.5ppg), and Rui Hachimura (averaging 13.4ppg).
Though it’s Bradley Beal that steals the show for the Wizards. He’s averaging 30.4 points per game, which is good enough for second-most average points per game. He’s assisting the highest number in the team too, averaging 6.1 per game.
Take the Wizards to make it to the Playoffs.
New Orleans Pelicans (21.00)
We recently spoke about the Pelicans and their chances of making it to the post-season. They’ve shot up the NBA scoring tables in the past month or so, now occupying the fourth spot in average points per game, putting up 116.2.
Zion Williamson has been back for less than a month and already finds himself second in average points per game for his team, putting up 23.6. His physicality and agility on the court make him a nightmare to defend and his dominance around the rim is unique.
Though, much like the Wizards, it’s on defence where the Pelicans really need to improve. They’re allowing the fourth-highest points per game with an average of 117.0, even with the quality of players like Jrue Holiday.
But between Brandon Ingram (averaging 24.3ppg), Jrue Holiday (averaging 19.6ppg), JJ Redick (averaging 14.9ppg), Lonzo Ball (averaging 12.4ppg), and Zion, they have ample firepower to force their way into the NBA postseason.
Pick the Pelicans to make it to the Playoffs.
Sacramento Kings (13.00)
The Kings currently sit tenth in the Western Conference, with a record of 28-36 for the season overall. Sacramento has found form at the right point in the season, winning 7 of their last ten games.
The Kings are putting up 110.9 points per game on average and are led in attack by Fox De’Aaron (averaging 20.4ppg) and Buddy Hield (averaging 19.8ppg).
The two of them have held things down for the Kings, but they will need to push on if they are to make the Playoffs. Things are tight in the West, and with Blazers, Pelicans, Grizzlies and Trail Blazers all competing for that 8th spot, it’ll go right to the wire.
Choose the Sacramento Kings to make it to the Playoffs.
- March 2nd Predictions
Wins for the Lakers and Bucks mean they’re still both clear favourites to win their respective Conferences. The Lakers did lose out to the NBA Playoff hopefuls the Memphis Grizzlies in a low-scoring game, losing out 105-88.
It’s all to play for as we approach the last 20 games of the season. Numerous teams are on the fringe of the Postseason positions. We will cover those teams and assess their chances in the bookmakers’ eyes, as well as our own.
Who will make it to the NBA Playoffs in 2020?
NEW ORLEANS PELICANS
The Pelicans have been revitalized since the return of rookie star Zion Williamson. His presence and athleticism on the court have gone beyond expectation, putting up an average of 24.1 points per game.
The Pelicans sit ninth in the Western Conference, three-wins behind the eight-placed Grizzlies. They lost their last game to the Pelicans in what was an excellent match. Zion put up 35, while LeBron managed 34 and took the game 122-114.
Making the best use of Zion, Ingram (averaging 24.6 points) and Holiday (averaging 19.1 points) in the tail-end of the season will be key to making the NBA Playoffs.
The Pelicans are fast becoming one of the best offensive teams in the NBA. They are now putting up an average of 115.8 points per game, though they’re allowing 116.9 points per game. They need to tighten things up in defence and hope Zion and the rest of the offence continue to shine.
The Brooklyn Nets are eighth in the Eastern Conference, going 26-33 for the season outright. Losses in their last four games mean they need to turn things around quickly if they are hoping to play in the Postseason.
The Celtics fixtures don’t look kind, playing the Celtics, Lakers and Clippers in the next couple of weeks. The Nets are putting up an average of 110.6 points per game, while they allow 111.2 points per game.
The Nets have high hopes for the 2020/21 season, as MVP Kevin Durant will be back to play alongside Kyrie Irving. For now, though, Irving is carrying the team on his shoulders on offence, putting up an average of 27.4 points per game.
If the Nets can snap this losing skid, then they still have ample time to make a push for the Playoff spots. They have the roster to do it, but will they make it? We shall see.
The Grizzlies are having a steady season. They go 29-31 for the season overall, going 4-6 in their last ten games. A huge win over the Western Conference leaders the Lakers will be a big confidence boost going into the latter stages of the regular season.
In the win over the Lakers, it was Dillion Brooks (24p), Jonas Valančiūnas (22p) and star rookie Ja Morant (27p) who put up the points at the FedExForum.
Ja Morant has been a sensation for the Grizzlies. The 20-year old has helped them to manage an average of 112.5 points per game, while Morant is putting up an average of 17.7ppg.
Defensively they’ve been poor this season. The Grizzlies defence is allowing an average of 114.7 points per game. They’ve had a terrible run of fixtures lately and don’t face the Bucks til the 20th, so before then they should look to get a run of wins together.
- February 24th Predictions
NBA Playoff Predictions 2020 - Who will make it?
The Milwaukee Bucks is the first team to secure their ticket to the 2020 NBA Playoffs, as they go 48-8 for the season in the Eastern Conference. The reigning NBA champions the Toronto Raptors aren’t far behind them, on 42-15.
While in the West, it’s still the Lakers on top. They’re closely-tailed by the Nuggets, Jazz, Clippers and Rockets, who all have a chance of going all the way in the Playoffs if some of these teams can turn things around in the off-season.
The odds for teams to make the 2020 NBA Playoff haven’t been released yet. But as soon as the odds come online, we’ll ensure this page is the first one updated.
We know which teams will likely end up in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, but which fringe teams will make it? There are a number of teams on the periphery of the Playoff positions and we will dig deeper into that here.
The Dallas Mavericks is 34-23 for the season overall. They lost out in their last match against the Atlanta Hawks 107-111, with Hardaway Jr. putting up 33 and Steph Curry 22 points.
Starman Luka Doncic missed out on the game because he is still nursing an ankle injury he picked up a few months back. Though he has been playing for the last couple of weeks and will be in their next game against Playoff contenders the Timberwolves.
We predict the Nuggets, Clippers, Rockets and Jazz to make it, while the Thunder, Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Pelicans and Mavs must tussle for the remaining Playoff spots.
Keeping Doncic fit is pivotal to their success. Ensuring he is getting minutes and able to conduct the Dallas attack, who are putting up an average of 116.4ppg by the way.
The Magic has had a tough road this season. They go 24-32 for the season and are 3-7 in their last ten games, which isn’t much to shout about.
However, the teams around them contending for those Playoff spots are not doing much better. It’ll turn into a real dogfight as the regular season progresses, with the Bulls, Wizards, Nets, Hornets and Magic all vying for a spot.
Orlando may not be making waves in the Eastern Conference, but they boast the best defensive unit in the NBA for the 2019/20 campaign. They are allowing just 105.7ppg, but they fairly dismal on offence.
The Magic is putting up 104.0ppg, which is only better than the Hornets for the season. But, if Steve Clifford can get his team to kick-on as we approach the tail-end of the season, this Orlando team is more than capable.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City sits sixth in the Western Conference, going 35-22 for the season outright. They’re in great form at the moment, having won 7-3 in their last ten and currently going on a three-game win streak.
Oklahoma is a fairly well-balanced team. They’re defensive and offensive stats sit in about the middle of the pack in the NBA this season.
The young Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is now leading the scoring tables for the Thunder, putting up 19.4ppg. He’s been a sensation for the Thunder at both ends of the court and will be key on their road to the Playoffs.
- February 17th Predictions
Who will the NBA Eastern and Western Conference 2020?
The 2020 All-Star event was a special one, an event that paid homage to the incredible career and influence Kobe Bryant had on the NBA. Team LeBron won the All-Star main event 157-155, with Kawhi Leonard taking the MVP prize.
As we speculate over who will make it to the 2020 NBA Playoffs, we also look to see who will be crowned champions in the Eastern and Western Conferences. There’s still a lot to play for and as we’ve seen time and time again in the NBA, expect the unexpected.
Will anyone stop the Bucks in the East?
Western Conference Winner - LA Lakers (2.75)
The Lakers have been atop of the Western Conference since the league began back in October. They have had several fairly long win streaks this season, which has ensured there is always some light between them and the rest of the pack.
The Lakers have made light work of the weaker teams in the league this season and have been prolific from the beyond the 3-point line, boasting the highest Field Goal % in the league, with .488%.
The Anthony Davis-LeBron James combination seems to be working as was intended. They have formed a formidable duo, effective at both ends of the court. The Lakers have featured in most of our NBA free picks this season, given how good they are to watch.
We expect the Lakers to continue in this vein of form for the rest of the season. They’ve had a few bumps along the road, but when the big tests have come they’ve answered. Wins over the Rockets, Nuggets, Clippers, Mavericks, and Jazz, show who’s king in the West.
Take LA Lakers to win in the West.
Western Conference Underdog Winner - Denver Nuggets (10.00)
The Denver Nuggets currently sit second in the Western Conference and have sat consistently around the top-end of the table, with 38-17 for the season outright.
Denver has been excellent this season, particularly in defence. They have one of the best defences in the league, allowing an average of just 106.7 points per game, which is better than the Lakers.
All-Star Nikola Jokic leads the line for the Nuggets, putting up a team-high average of 20.6 points per game. He has been a dominant force on the court this season. Most Denver plays go through the big Serb - his strength, physique and technical ability make him a nightmare to handle.
Denver will need to continue to close the gap between the Lakers at the top of the West if they are to have a chance of taking the league. Denver’s consistency in the league has led them to sit fifth in the NBA power rankings.
Nuggets to win in the West.
Eastern Conference Winner - Milwaukee Bucks (1.55)
The Milwaukee Bucks are heavy favourites to win in the Eastern Conference at 1.55, while their nearest rival sits around 7.0 in the bookmaker’s eyes. The NBA betting odds are unlikely to change unless we see the Bucks slip up.
The unstoppable Giannis Antetokounmpo leads the scoring tables for his team, putting up an average of 30.0 points per game. His influence in offence and defence makes him the most likely candidate for the NBA MVP 2020.
But the difference between last years’ Bucks and this year’s, is the fact Giannis has the likes of Khris Middleton (averaging 20.4ppg), Eric Bledsoe (averaging 15.7ppg), and Brook Lopez (averaging 10.6ppg) putting up the numbers too.
Milwaukee has the highest offensive output in the league. They are averaging 119.6ppg while allowing just 107.5ppg. If they can continue to post these numbers, they’ll almost impossible to catch.
Expect the Bucks to win in the East.
Eastern Conference Underdog Winner - Philadelphia 76ers (7.00)
Of all the NBA teams to choose to go far this year, we really fancy the 76ers. Both the 76ers and the Mavericks have been the most interesting teams this year, and we hope to see them go far in the Playoffs.
There are few who can challenge the Bucks for the Eastern Conference title, but if they do somehow start throwing games, we peg the 76ers to be there to step up.
Philadelphia has one of the most effective defensive units in the league. Throughout the season, the likes of Embiid, Richardson, Harris, and Horford have managed to allow just 106.2 points per game.
Though it’s in offence where Philadelphia struggle. The 76ers are putting up an average of 108.6ppg, which is good enough for 22nd in the NBA overall - this needs to improve. They’re fifth now but have time to climb the Conference.
Take the Philadelphia 76ers to win in the East.