Let’s get right to it. We think the Warriors to repeat.
Now let’s explain how it will all unfold. We’ve simulated all possible postseason games — and we’ve predicted each team’s possibility of winning the title:
Toronto Raptors (1) – Washington Wizards (8)
An uneven series based on predictions. Toronto has over 90% probability to win this series and the most probable outcome is 4-1 (36%) to the Raptors. There’s also a 25% chance that Toronto will sweep Washington in four games.
Boston Celtics (2) – Milwaukee Bucks (7)
The Milwaukee Bucks have star power in Giannis Antetokounmpo, while Boston’s Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are out. The Celtics should cruise to second round relatively easily with 87% win probability. The most probable result of this series is 4-1 (31%) to Boston.
Philadelphia 76ers (3) – Miami Heat (6)
The Miami Heat just barely outscored their opponents during the regular season, while Philadelphia posted a third best points difference among all teams. The 76ers are 81% favorite to proceed to the next round. Based on simulations, the series result is 4-1 (29%), but it won’t be a great surprise if the series will be extended to game seven, as the second most probable result is 4-3 for Philadelphia with 20% probability.
Cleveland Cavaliers (4) – Indiana Pacers (5)
Both teams won seven out of their last 10 games during the last weeks of the regular season, but the Cavaliers should cruise to the second round. Cleveland’s series win probability is 92%, which doesn’t leave the Pacers much of a chance. There is over 60% probability that this series will end with the Cavaliers win by 4-0 or 4-1.
The Western Conference
Houston Rockets (1) – Minnesota Timberwolves (8)
The Rockets are 95% favorite to take this series and most probably (35%) it will be in five games, but quick sweep in four games is not out of question.
Golden State Warriors (2) – San Antonio Spurs (7)
The last year champion Golden State will start this year’s postseason campaign without Stephen Curry. That doesn’t slow down the Warriors too much as they have 78% win probability over the Spurs. Based on the simulations this series will end in 5 games (28%).
Portland Trail Blazers (3) – New Orleans Pelicans (6)
Tight series? Maybe, as favorite Portland has a 63% win probability — while the Pelicans’ chances for an upset are 37%. There are almost equal probabilities for 4-1, 4-2 and 4-3 outcomes of this series for Portland.
Oklahoma City Thunder (4) – Utah Jazz (5)
This is the most interesting matchup in the first round of playoffs. Utah is one of the hottest teams in the league as they put together run during lat 35 games where they lost only 6. Simulations predict game 7 with 33% probability. The winner looks to be the Thunder as their win probability is 57%.
Even though Vegas shows Golden State and Houston pretty equal in terms of title odds, our predictions present a clear favorite. As shown on the table below, the Warriors are a clear favorite to win the championship.
When comparing these numbers to Vegas odds, only few teams provide some value for bettors. Philadelphia is the Eastern Conference winner and the Boston Celtics are another team that gives value for bettors even without Kyrie Irving. The complete playoffs bracket can be seen below.