Playoff Value (10/23/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Which NBA team should you back to make the playoffs?



We are less than a week away from the start of the NBA season and every team still has aspirations to hoist the Larry O'Brien Trophy. As such, bookmakers have set odds for each squad to make the 2015 NBA playoffs. Below, utilizing our NBA Preview, we look for value in each team reaching the postseason.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to make the playoffs and compare that to our projected odds to reach the postseason. For example, Washington is listed at 1/5 to make the playoffs; in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Wizards they would need to reach the postseason 83.3% (which is 5/(1+5)) of the time. We project Washington to make the playoffs 92.5% of the time, meaning there is value in placing a bet at 1/5 odds.

Indiana Pacers
Odds: 1/1
Implied Chance: 50.0%
Projected Chance: 82.7%

Paul George is good, really good, and if healthy he is a fringe top ten player in the league. Indiana won't have the league's best defense after losing Roy Hibbert and David West but it'll still be solid. The Pacers are 13th in our Power Rankings and the fifth most likely team in the East to reach the postseason.

Boston Celtics
Odds: 1/1
Implied Chance: 50.0%
Projected Chance: 78.9%

The Celtics shocked everyone with 40 wins and a trip to the playoffs last year. This is a young, rebuilding team and even though it lacks a true star, another postseason run is in the cards. Plus, it's the East and a losing record can get you the same seed as a 50 win team out West.

New Orleans Pelicans
Odds: 5/13
Implied Chance: 72.2%
Projected Chance: 80.0%

This team will go as far as Anthony Davis carries them. The Brow could win the MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year. If Davis lives up to expectations, the Pellies slide into the playoffs, even with all the preseason injuries.

Additional teams with value: Hawks, Bulls, Cavs, Warriors, Rockets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Bucks, Thunder, Spurs, Raptors, Jazz, Wizards.

2015 NBA Playoff Value Bets

Team Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Cleveland Cavaliers 1/40 97.6% 100.0%
Golden State Warriors 1/40 97.6% 100.0%
San Antonio Spurs 1/40 97.6% 100.0%
Los Angeles Clippers 1/25 96.2% 99.6%
Houston Rockets 1/18 94.7% 99.3%
Oklahoma City Thunder 1/40 97.6% 99.1%
Chicago Bulls 1/20 95.2% 98.1%
Atlanta Hawks 1/18 94.7% 95.6%
Washington Wizards 1/5 83.3% 92.5%
Memphis Grizzlies 1/8 88.9% 91.8%
Toronto Raptors 1/8 88.9% 91.4%
Indiana Pacers 1/1 50.0% 82.7%
Milwaukee Bucks 1/3 75.0% 80.2%
New Orleans Pelicans 5/13 72.2% 80.0%
Boston Celtics 1/1 50.0% 78.9%
Utah Jazz 21/20 48.8% 74.2%
Miami Heat 1/6 85.7% 63.9%
Phoenix Suns 9/5 35.7% 32.2%
Dallas Mavericks 12/5 29.4% 21.7%
Orlando Magic 5/1 16.7% 8.4%
Detroit Pistons 12/5 29.4% 7.5%
Sacramento Kings 5/1 16.7% 1.0%
Portland Trail Blazers 23/4 14.8% 0.8%
Charlotte Hornets 4/1 20.0% 0.5%
Brooklyn Nets 10/1 9.1% 0.3%
Denver Nuggets 15/1 6.3% 0.1%
Los Angeles Lakers 9/1 10.0% 0.1%
Minnesota Timberwolves 9/1 10.0% 0.0%
New York Knicks 5/1 16.7% 0.0%
Philadelphia 76ers 25/1 3.8% 0.0%