Basketball

NBA playoffs are here. What are the odds?

Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, center, shoots over Los Angeles Lakers’ Julius Randle, left, during the second half of an NBA game Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Oakland, Calif.
Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, center, shoots over Los Angeles Lakers’ Julius Randle, left, during the second half of an NBA game Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. AP

The NBA playoffs tipped off Saturday, and while virtually everyone acknowledges the Golden State Warriors are big favorites to win it all, the percentages vary based on who you’re asking.

So, what are the odds?

That’s a good question. These days, odds come in different shapes, sizes and websites. Here’s a sampling of a few of the numbers being thrown around as the 2016-17 playoffs open.

Simulations

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index put Golden State at 71.9 percent to win the title, Basketball Reference set the odds at 61.4 and FiveThirtyEight’s forecast said 60.

San Antonio was the next closest pick at 14.0, 13.5 and 15 percent, respectively at those three sources, which arrived at the numbers by running simulations thousands of times. These percentages were calculated in advance of the Spurs’ 111-82 rout of Memphis on Saturday night.

The simulations put less stock in the Eastern Conference. BPI gives the Cleveland Cavaliers a 3.7 percent chance to repeat as champions, and FiveThirtyEight lists their chances even lower at 2 percent, even after Saturday’s 109-108 win over Indiana.

Before the start of the first round, the BPI gave the Warriors a 99 percent chance to advance past Portland – and 82 percent to do it in five games or less – in a series that begins Sunday. The No. 1 seed advancing is no surprise, though, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

FiveThirtyEight favors Boston over Cleveland, giving the Celtics a 5 percent chance to win their franchise’s 18th championship.

Chicago, Indiana, Portland, Oklahoma City, Atlanta and Memphis all have less than a fraction of 1 percent chance to win the title in all three predictions.

Speaking of 1 percent, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton arrived at that figure to be roughly the Warriors’ chances of sweeping the field, a perfect 16-0, not accounting for factors like resting players late in the playoffs.

Betting Odds

Computer simulations are one thing. What does Las Vegas have to say?

According to Vegas Insider, Golden State entered as the favorite to win the NBA Finals with odds set at 5-11 as of Thursday. The site listed Cleveland next at 19-5, followed by San Antonio at 9-1.

Unlike the simulated predictions, Vegas Insider gave better odds to Cleveland than San Antonio.

Golden State’s first-round opponent, Portland, is this year’s long shot at 300-1. For comparison, no NHL team in the Stanley Cup playoffs – also in the midst of the first round – is listed as worse than a 30-1 underdog.

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