Like the Sixers at 25-1?
These are the odds posted by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook:
- Warriors 6-5
- Rockets 5-4
- Cavaliers 8-1
- Raptors 12-1
- 76ers 25-1
- Blazers 50-1
- Jazz 50-1
- Thunder 50-1
- Celtics 100-1
- Spurs 100-1
- Heat 200-1
- Pacers 200-1
- Wizards 200-1
- Wolves 200-1
- Bucks 300-1
- Pelicans 300-1
Same thing at BetDSI, where Philadelphia is given the fifth-best chance to come out on top:
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) April 12, 2018
Pretty crazy when you think about it.
On the surface, I look at the Eastern Conference and see a straightforward path to the third round.
Beating Miami in round one? It should happen. The Sixers are favored and holding home court advantage.
Beating Boston on the road without Kyrie Irving? They’ve done that once before. I do think they can get past both the Heat and Celtics.
But beyond that I…. I don’t know. I just don’t see the Sixers taking out playoff LeBron in a seven-game series, even with home court. I don’t see them beating the Raptors in seven without home court. And if either of those squads makes it that far, they’ll have already shrugged off questions about whether they’re good enough to get over the hump (Toronto) or stay over the hump (Cleveland).
Without overthinking it, and just going with my gut, this is how I think it plays out:
You could really go either way with the Warriors and Rockets. That’s my NBA finals right there, and whoever comes out of the west is surely winning it all. I don’t see anybody in the east beating a healthy Golden State or Houston.
But there’s a lot of intrigue on that side of the bracket. I love that Oklahoma City and Utah 4/5 matchup. OKC won the season series 3-1 but the teams haven’t played since late December, long before Donovan Mitchell starting acting like a butt head.
Portland and New Orleans is interesting. The Blazers are the better team, but I don’t know if they have an answer for Anthony Davis. This is a 3/6 matchup between teams separated by just one game in the standings. I don’t see Houston having any trouble with Minnesota and Golden State might get off to a slow start before taking out the Spurs.
The east looks rather boring to me. Toronto was excellent again this year but once again has to go through LeBron to get to the finals. Indy is good, but they aren’t world beaters. Miami is sound and solid and the Celtics are lame ducks. Milwaukee doesn’t have it and I don’t know if Washington does, but I doubt it. This sounds like a future Jason Kelce speech, I know, but I just look at the Western Conference and see infinitely more mystery over there. If we’re being honest, I think the Sixers are probably the most interesting team on the other side of the bracket.
I could conceivably see a path to the finals for the Sixers, but it’s hard to bet against LeBron in the postseason. If the Sixers and Cavs do meet up in the playoffs, I predict Philadelphia sports talk to go something like this: