Four of the eight first round series will begin on Saturday, with the other four starting on Sunday. The NBA ended another regular season on Wednesday, with eight teams from each conference and the matchups for the first round complete with a few last minute details falling into place on Wednesday the regular season’s final day.
The NBA playoffs are set to get underway on Saturday with the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers set to host the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their first round series.
Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers -165
A third straight NBA Finals matchup between the Warriors and Cavaliers is still considered the most likely outcome according to online sportsbooks. Golden State is listed at -150 to win the NBA title while Cleveland is right behind them at +350 odds. The Cavaliers finished second in the Eastern Conference standings. However, all five LeBron-led teams that finished second in the East went on to reach the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, the Warriors undoubtedly have the tougher road to the championship series but are still expected to go all the way in the West. Home court advantage combined with the best offense in the NBA should help the two time defending Western Conference champions find their way back to the NBA Finals.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Cleveland Cavaliers +736
The Spurs are right behind the Warriors and Cavaliers at +700 odds to win it all this season. In order to get there, San Antonio will have to overcome a difficult road to the NBA Finals. The Spurs will open with a first-round matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, followed by a potential second round series against the Houston Rockets. If San Antonio reaches the Western Conference Finals, there is a good chance Golden State will be there waiting for them.
The Spurs are shooting for their first title since 2014. If they can navigate their way through a brutal Western Conference path, they will be tough to stop in the NBA Finals.
Golden State vs. Boston Celtics +968
While the Warriors remain the championship favorites, the Celtics could be the most likely team to upset Cleveland and reach the NBA Finals out of the East. Boston took advantage of the Cavaliers struggles down the stretch in order to clinch the best record in the East and home court advantage through the Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics are short on experience but that home-court advantage will come in handy.
If Cleveland slips, it could be the Celtics that take advantage once again. Boston won in Golden State earlier this season but it’s hard to imagine them actually beating the Warriors in a seven-game series. The Celtics have a tough road beginning with the Chicago Bulls in the opening round and likely including Cleveland if they get that far. It makes sense that this is the most unlikely of the likely NBA Finals matchups we could see. Possible final matchup odds are available at Heritagesports