NBA Playoff Odds

Last Updated: 8/19/2014 10:04 PM ET

The Predictalator uses current rosters and strength-of-schedule and pace-adjusted team and player stats, to play, one possession at a time, every game 50,000 times before it's actually played. For this analysis, we are tracking how likely a team is to make it to any level of the NBA Playoffs. Each playoff is played individually, with the team that wins the series in each unique instance advancing. The percentages in the table below represent the team's likelihood of advancing to that round.

The Miami Heat, two-time defending NBA champions and the East's second seed, are the favorites to win the title at 25.3% and are followed by the top three teams in the West - Oklahoma City Thunder (17.8%), Los Angeles Clippers (13.2%) and San Antonio Spurs (11.3%). This essentially an exercise in probability as the Thunder and Clippers would be clear favorites in a best-of-seven series against the Heat and the Spurs would be essentially 50/50 versus Miami. The main reason why the Heat finish as our favorites is that Miami makes it to the NBA Finals more than 50% of the time, while the ultra-competitive Western Conference does not have a champion more than 27.3% likely to face the East winner. As a matter of context, last year at this time, Miami was both a clear Eastern Conference favorite and favored in every NBA Finals series, making the team more than 50% likely to win it all before the playoffs started.

Even with shuffling of seeds in the final few nights of the regular season, no team pulls off an upset by seed in the first round of the playoffs, though Toronto vs. Brooklyn, Los Angeles vs. Golden State and Houston vs. Portland are likely to go the distance. The "Super Six" teams oft-discussed on this site - Miami, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Houston and the Indiana Pacers - combine to win 85.7% of all championships. Among other teams, only the Chicago Bulls even have a greater than seven percent chance to make the NBA Finals. Despite Miami leading all teams in championship odds, the Eastern Conference is 57.5% likely to win the NBA Championship. The only four teams without at least a one percent chance to win the title are from the Eastern Conference.

NBA Playoff Odds (based on 2014 NBA Playoffs played 50,000 times):

Region Seed Team Conf Semifinals Conf Finals NBA Finals Champ.
Eastern 1 Ind 82.8% 48.3% 20.2% 7.1%
Eastern 8 Atl 17.2% 3.4% 0.3% 0.0%
Eastern 4 Chi 66.9% 35.1% 12.6% 4.0%
Eastern 5 Was 33.1% 13.2% 2.8% 0.5%
Eastern 3 Tor 59.7% 15.9% 7.2% 1.8%
Eastern 6 Bkn 40.3% 9.4% 3.8% 0.9%
Eastern 2 Mia 89.6% 71.5% 52.0% 28.2%
Eastern 7 Cha 10.4% 3.2% 1.1% 0.1%
Region Seed Team Conf Semifinals Conf Finals NBA Finals Champ.
Western 1 SA 68.2% 40.0% 19.7% 11.3%
Western 8 Dal 31.8% 11.6% 3.4% 1.3%
Western 4 Hou 66.5% 35.2% 15.3% 8.1%
Western 5 Por 33.5% 13.2% 4.2% 1.7%
Western 3 LAC 66.5% 34.4% 20.6% 13.2%
Western 6 GS 33.5% 13.5% 6.3% 2.9%
Western 2 OKC 74.1% 44.0% 27.3% 17.8%
Western 7 Mem 25.9% 8.1% 3.1% 1.2%