2024 NBA Playoffs: First-Round Series Odds

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
nba series odds

NBA Playoffs odds begin this weekend, but we do not know all of the matchups, with play-in odds set to determine the others. Still, NBA series odds are open for No. 3 vs. No. 6 and No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchups, and prices for the others will open soon after matchups finalize.

Use the odds below to find the best prices across betting sites for each NBA series odds, and click any of those odds to make a wager. As more matchups become final, they’ll be added to this article. We’ve also assembled the best NBA Finals odds as the playoffs begin.

Magic (East No. 5) At Cavaliers (East No. 4)

For the season, the two teams actually have identical net ratings when filtering out garbage time, per Cleaning The Glass. This looks like an even matchup befitting No. 4 vs. No. 5, despite NBA series odds giving Cleveland a 65.5% implied probability to advance.

The Cavs have a situation that looks oddly similar to that of the Hawks, which is a sentence that does not bode well for them. Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell seem to operate best apart from one another — the team’s starting lineup has a net rating (+2.3) that’s slightly worse than its full-season number (+2.4).

The Cavs also enter this series playing a pretty horrid brand of basketball, having gone 12-17 after the All-Star break.

What they do have is playoff experience, something in short supply on the ultra-young Magic. Now, not all of that is good experience. Chiefly, the Cavs looked completely overwhelmed last season in meekly bowing out to the Knicks in five despite entering as favorites.

Orlando’s roster has pretty much never played high-stakes basketball. But they are built more like a traditionally strong playoff performer than Cleveland, with a roster heavy on size and defense.

Thing to watch: Who wins at the rim when the Magic have the ball? Orlando desperately needs easy buckets and free throws (fourth in FT rate) to sustain just mediocre offense. They get to the rim more than anyone, but the Cavs defend at an elite rate there thanks to Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley.

Suns (West No. 6) At Timberwolves (West No. 3)

Minnesota vastly outperformed Phoenix in the regular season, with a +7.1 differential to +4.

However, Devin Booker missed 14 games and Bradley Beal missed 29. Lineups featuring all three stars were +7.5, and the starting lineup was very strong at +10.4.

For once, health is actually on the Suns’ side. Karl-Anthony Towns returned just before the end of the season but only mustered two lukewarm performances. That’s not going to cut it here, although Naz Reid stepped up admirably in his absence.

Phoenix also swept the season series with ease, winning all three games by a combined 47 points.

All of that suggests Phoenix is the better team here, and the market seems to concur, installing them as rare favorites in a league where top-three seeds traditionally roll in the opening round.

Denver exposed that Phoenix’s midrange-heavy style of ball has a ceiling in the playoffs, but that was because the Nuggets were always going to score enough points to put pressure on Phoenix to keep up. Can the Timberwolves and their 16th-ranked offense do the same?

Thing to watch: The health of KAT. Though Reid did his best Klay Thompson impersonation this season (42% 3pFG), the playoffs are far more about individual shot creation. Reid can’t hold a candle to Towns there, and the Wolves will need his scoring to be far more in gear than it was during his brief return when he scored 21 points across two games.

Pacers (East No. 6) At Bucks (East No. 3)

When the Bucks constructed what they hoped was a superteam by adding Damian Lillard to Giannis Antetokounmpo, they likely never imagined they’d be flipping to get out of the first round while having home-court advantage.

Like the other East series, this one actually matches teams that had identical differentials, +2.7 in this case. The Bucks simply never played like a 50-plus-win team this season. And now they must deal with an Indiana bunch that had their number all year, winning four of five meetings, three of those by 9+.

Of course, the specter looming over everything for Milwaukee is when (if?) Antetokounmpo will return after injuring his calf. ESPN reported on Tuesday morning that the team is preparing to play without Antetokounmpo, suggesting he will miss at least the first game or two.

Milwaukee was just a straight-up bad team without its MVP candidate, tallying an ugly -5.6 differential per Cleaning The Glass.

Both teams have notable advantages they’ll look to press. The Bucks feast at the line, while nobody gave up more freebies than the Pacers. Meanwhile, the Pacers will look to their speed to carry them. They have dominated in transition each of the past two seasons. Milwaukee’s conservative scheme never forces miscues (30th in turnover rate).

Thing to watch: Both stars’ health. How fast will Antetokounmpo return, and how effective will he be when he does? He made a miracle recovery to lead the Bucks to the NBA title in 2021, but the Bucks also bowed out in five-game wipeouts to Miami in two notable series where the Greek Freak got hurt. Tyrese Haliburton hasn’t really recaptured his early All-NBA level since getting hurt himself, though.

Mavericks (West No. 5) At Clippers (West No. 4)

NBA series odds for the best first-round matchup make the higher-seeded Clippers an underdog. It features star power everywhere and high stakes for two franchises that have championship aspirations. Someone’s going home early and massively disappointed.

What does one make of the Clippers? They’re a difficult team to read. Are they the team that finished well above the Mavericks in differential (+4.3 to +2.6) and authored possibly the most dominating 30-game stretch of any team this year? Or are they a Kawhi-less team that staggered to the finish with a negative differential since February?

Since the Mavericks acquired Daniel Gafford and PJ Washington via trade, their +6.2 ranked sixth in the NBA. And they have a proven playoff closer in Luka Doncic, not to mention a guy who drilled a shot to win the NBA Finals against the best regular-season team in history.

Whether Leonard can overcome yet another late-season injury may swing everything. He missed multiple games down the stretch with a sore knee. The Clippers said he’s practicing in a limited capacity. Coach Tyronn Lue offered only a “we’ll see” when asked if Leonard will play Game 1. L.A. would seem to have little chance without him.

The Mavericks are healthier and hotter. The market seems to be buying into that, but the Clippers still have the more talented roster if it’s whole.

Thing to watch: Who wins the 3-point battle? The Mavericks seem well set-up here with a 3-heavy offense against a Clippers defense that allows a higher-than-average rate of attempts. L.A. can fall in love with the midrange to a fault. But when the Clips do take 3s, only three teams converted at a higher rate.

Lakers (West No. 7) At Nuggets (West No. 2)

A rematch of last season’s Western Conference Finals, in which Denver romped in a sweep. However, keep in mind those games were hardly routs. The final margins: six, five, 11, and two. L.A. remained competitive throughout, but Denver typically closed the games strong as the Lakers faded.

Denver had a somewhat underwhelming regular season, but they seemed to turn it on in the second half. After the All-Star break, the Nuggets posted a 21-6 record with an average margin of victory of nearly +10. Prior, they were barely over +3.

The Lakers enjoyed their own in-season makeover. They finally settled on a starting lineup that made sense, one that had an impressive +6.6 differential in more than 800 possessions, per Cleaning The Glass.

However, the bench units may ultimately prove the key for L.A. Teams have feasted on the Nuggets’ bench for years now. Jokic once again had absurd off-court splits, but can the thin Lakers take advantage? LeBron James’ off-court numbers aren’t much rosier for the Lakers in recent years, but they’ll need to win the no Jokic minutes handily to have a prayer here.

Much has been made of attacking Jokic on defense, but he’s probably better on the perimeter than at the rim. The Lakers will need to press their advantage there, where they are the most efficient team in the NBA on a very high volume.

Thing to watch: Who wins the bench minutes? If the Nuggets can simply stay afloat without Jokic, it’s almost certainly curtains for the Lakers.

76ers (East No. 7) At Knicks (East No. 2)

After narrowly escaping the play-in at home against the Heat, the Sixers must feel good about their position. Joel Embiid made it through the game healthy and actually turned it up late to close Miami out. They get to face a Knicks team missing Julius Randle and relying on a small guard for offense, a formula that hasn’t traditionally worked in the playoffs.

And they’ve landed on the opposite side of the bracket from playoff boogeyman Boston. That gives Embiid potentially a few weeks to get himself back to 100% before the big clash.

Of course, the Knicks won’t represent a free win. But the fact is, the Sixers have been a better team than New York with Embiid healthy. They played at a 65-win pace with him, and their starting lineup was an absolutely outrageous +33.3 per 100 in 467 possessions, per Cleaning The Glass.

Now, De’Anthony Melton’s availability is up in the air. He missed the play-in game with a back injury. But all lineups with Embiid clocked in at a very healthy +9.

On paper, everything looks good for the Sixers here. Until one looks at the sheet that has Embiid’s playoff stats. At more than 50 games now, it’s hard to ignore the sample size. His raw numbers and efficiency all drop across the board, and it isn’t by an excusable amount given the tougher playoff competition. A 49.1 eFG% just isn’t going to cut it from a big man.

Tom Thibodeau has his own playoff demons to fight as well. Someone is going to have to answer a lot of hard questions at the end of this one.

Thing to watch: Rebounding. The Knicks dominate on the glass, landing top five in both offensive and defensive boards. Philly has been a strangely (given their best player is a 7-foot, 280-pound force of nature) weak rebounding team, never finishing better than 19th in the past three seasons. Can the Sixers hold their own here?