After a long and gruelling season, the playoffs come into view. For the teams that have clinched or are on the brink of securing a spot in the postseason extravaganza, they will be harbouring hopes of clinching the NBA Championship.
The NBA Playoffs are one of the most lucrative postseason tournaments in the US, and expectation levels ratchet up a notch. The Milwaukee Bucks are the reigning NBA champions, and last season, they raised the bar.
But who will usurp them? We look ahead to the NBA Playoff Finals and assess the chances of some of the main contenders.
The Suns have some unfinished business. Last year, they reached the Finals, only to fall at the final hurdle to the Bucks, who stormed to a 4-2 series win. With the play-in tournament bracket set to determine who the Suns will play in the first round of the Western Conference, the Suns, won’t fear anyone.
For the majority of the season, the Suns have stood heads and shoulders above their rivals, leaving the likes of the Memphis Grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors trailing in their wake. And if there’s one player to watch out for as far as the Suns are concerned, then it is Devin Booker. He has been magnificent, and he could even be in the running for the postseason MVP (Most Valued Player) if the Suns go deep.
Currently, the Suns are trading as the favorites with BetMGM at +300, and they will take some stopping.
The Bucks, as mentioned are the defending NBA champions, and they will fight tooth and nail to defend it. Once again, Giannis Antetokounmpo aka the ‘Greek Freak’ has been a metronome for the Bucks, and he can wreak havoc at any time.
While Giannis is their go-to player, they possess plenty of firepower through the likes of Khris Middleton and Bobby Portis, and they will be tested at every turn.
Currently, the Bucks are sitting at the +500 mark with BetRivers, which seems like a fair price, and they could get to the Finals once again.
Golden State Warriors
Only a few years ago, the Warriors were building a dynasty that looked set to reign supreme for years. Indeed, between 2015 and 2018, they won three titles, and they even reached the Finals against Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. It has taken some time to get the Warriors back to the levels of yesteryear, but Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has to take plenty of credit for reviving their fortunes.
The Warriors have looked formidable in the Western Conference, and once again, Steph Curry has been the star player. Although he has had a few niggling injuries, he has a penchant for draining three-pointers, and if the Warriors are going to do well in the playoffs, then Curry will need to be fully fit and firing.
As things stand, the Warriors are priced at the +900 mark with BetMGM, and they will be the ones to watch in the playoffs.
Arguably one of the surprise packages of the regular season, the Miami Heat have been a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference, and they could make serious inroads in the playoffs.
There will be some pressure as the No.1 seed from the Eastern Conference, and the only thing you question, is how much their regular-season exploits will have taken out of them.
While the Heat starting roster may not boast the same quality as the Suns or the Warriors, there are a couple of players that could tear things up, including Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo.
Anyway, the Heat are outsiders at +1100 with BetMGM, and while that is a long price, if they can get through the first couple of rounds, they could be a threat.