Team records and standings don’t tell the whole story when betting on the NBA. Level of competition, schedule quirks, and injuries can throw things out of whack when trying to evaluate a team. Here we try to simplify the matter with our NBA Power Rankings. The goal is to rank teams in order of current strength. If both teams played on a neutral court tonight, who would be favored?
NBA Power Rankings
Here are Nate Weitzer’s NBA Power Rankings as of March 24, 2023.
1. Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been the most dominant player in the NBA this season and Brook Lopez (-190) has come on late as the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year. The Bucks have incredible depth with Jae Crowder and Bobby Portis coming off the bench. They’re just waiting on Khris Middleton to hit his stride in time for the playoffs.
2. Boston Celtics
After stumbling for the better part of two weeks, Boston delivered a blowout win in Sacramento with Rob Williams (hamstring) back in the lineup. The Celtics are the deepest team in the NBA and have sky-high potential if they’re hitting from 3-point range.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid (-170) is holding a slim lead in a tight MVP race after averaging 33.5 PPG and 10.4 RPG with a +107 plus/minus rating since the All-Star break. James Harden and Tyrese Maxey have settled into their roles alongside the big man and Philly’s defense has improved tremendously in 2023.
4. Denver Nuggets
The Nuggets’ long stretch of dominance in Denver came to an end and their struggles continued on the road. They’ve bounced back with a few road wins over weak competition and still rank second in offensive rating with Nikola Jokic leading the way.
5. Memphis Grizzlies
While Steven Adams (MCL) is likely out for the regular season, the Grizzlies have Ja Morant (suspension) back and Jaren Jackson Jr. is playing the best ball of his career. Memphis (+1800) is only a few games behind Denver for the top seed in the West.
6. Sacramento Kings
The Kings have the best offensive rating in basketball by a wide margin and De’Aaron Fox leads the NBA in clutch points. They’re also giving up the third-most PPG this season, though, and are 18-18 against teams with winning records.
7. Golden State Warriors
The defending champs snapped their 11-game road losing streak with consecutive wins over Houston and Dallas. Steph Curry is averaging 30.2 PPG and 6 APG while shooting 44% from 3-point range since returning from a knee injury.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland is pretty much locked into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and appears to be a tier below the three juggernauts ahead of them in the standings. They’re 31-7 against teams with losing records but have struggled against the big boys in the East.
9. Phoenix Suns
With Kevin Durant in the lineup, the Suns looked virtually unstoppable. Durant suffered a bad ankle sprain that will keep him out until April, and his absence has highlighted the Suns’ lack of depth.
10. New York Knicks
After acquiring Josh Hart, the Knicks won nine straight games against some tough competition. Getting Mitchell Robinson back at center has shored up their defense and Jalen Brunson has lifted their offense to fifth in efficiency.
11. Los Angeles Clippers
Paul George (knee) is expected to miss the rest of the regular season and that means the Clippers will have to depend more on Russell Westbrook, who has been inconsistent at best since joining this squad.
12. Miami Heat
While they’ve been wildly inconsistent, the Heat have still managed to climb out of the play-in picture and challenge the Nets for the sixth spot in the East. This roster is brimming with seasoned playoff performers, but their offense has been among the worst in the league this year.
13. Los Angeles Lakers
Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, Rui Hachimura, and D’Angelo Russell have all made huge impacts for a Lakers team that leads the NBA in defensive rating during a 10-5 stretch. LeBron James (foot) could return in early April as the Lakers look to climb into the play-in picture and beyond.
14. Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic (thigh) and Kyrie Irving (ankle) haven’t been healthy at the same time since the Mavs lost 5 of 7 games with their superstar combo on the floor together. Dallas ranks 24th in defensive rating since the break.
15. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jalen Williams (+2000) is coming on strong as a Rookie of the Year candidate and with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander averaging a career-high 31.4 PPG, the Thunder are right in the thick of a crowded Western Conference playoff picture.
16. Chicago Bulls
The Bulls are 8-5 with the fourth-best defensive rating in the NBA since the break. They’re still behind Atlanta and Toronto in the play-in bracket but seem like the more reliable team with their numbers improving in clutch situations.
17. Toronto Raptors
Some home cooking has the Raptors back on track, although they dropped a very winnable game on March 22 against a Pacers team playing without Tyrese Haliburton.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves
Anthony Edwards (ankle) should be back soon and Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) might return for the first time since November. The Wolves have suddenly been playing a slew of high-scoring games lately and their offense should improve when those stars return.
19. Atlanta Hawks
Just when the Hawks look like they’ve been finding some footing on the defensive side of the ball, they give up 125 points in a loss. Basically, nothing has changed for this team since Quin Snyder took over for Nate McMillan.
20. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans are 12-25 since Zion Williamson (hamstring) went down around the turn of the calendar and they own the fifth-worst offensive rating since the All-Star break.
21. Utah Jazz
Jordan Clarkson (thumb) and Lauri Markkanen (back) have missed some time lately, but Utah has still found ways to compete with rookies Walker Kessler and Ochai Agbaji stepping up. This team still has a shot to make the play-in tournament.
22. Brooklyn Nets
Mikal Bridges has cooled off after carrying the Nets during a 5-1 stretch and Brooklyn has been one of the lowest scoring teams in the league over the past week.
23. Portland Trail Blazers
Opponents are loading up on Damian Lillard and the Blazers simply don’t have the depth to make defenses pay for doubling their superstar. Jerami Grant (thigh) and Anfernee Simons (foot) are hobbled at the wrong time for the play-in hopefuls.
24. Washington Wizards
Kyle Kuzma is dealing with a bad ankle sprain and the Wizards seem incapable of maintaining their success without any of their top three players. They’re 4-11 with the fourth-worst net rating (-6.2) since the break.
25. Indiana Pacers
Tyrese Haliburton (elbow) has missed six straight games to signal the Pacers lack of interest in the play-in tournament. T.J. McConnell has kept the Pacers competitive, with rookie Andrew Nembhard stepping up in a few wins.
26. Orlando Magic
Former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz is starting to flash his potential alongside Rookie of the Year favorite Paolo Banchero. Orlando ranks 26th in scoring and 28th in assist-to-turnover ratio while using a lot of experimental lineups this season.
27. Houston Rockets
After going through losing streaks of 13 and 11 games, the Rockets have pulled off a string of upsets and played a few contenders close. They have some good building blocks and a ton of salary cap space going forward.
28. Charlotte Hornets
Surprisingly enough, the Hornets rank third in defensive rating since the break. They also rank dead last in offensive rating in that span and with LaMelo Ball inactive, they’re effectively tanking for better lottery odds.
29. Detroit Pistons
The Pistons have been getting a long look at their young players all season, with Killian Hayes and Marvin Bagley showing signs of production toward the end of the year.
30. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are outpacing the competition in the tanking race by benching starters whenever they show the slightest signs of injury. They’re 7-31 since the start of 2023 and will be in the Wembanyama sweepstakes.
Here are what our pre-season NBA Power Rankings looked like on October 6. Preseason NBA title odds for each team are also listed.
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How to use Pro Basketball Power Rankings
When placing bets on the NBA, it’s crucial to consider factors such as travel time, home court advantage, and playoff positioning versus the rest that so many stars value. By using these NBA Power Rankings, or creating your own criteria for a Power Rankings system, it can be possible to evaluate the prospects of a team more thoroughly based on those factors.
Oddsmakers tend to overreact in the NBA based on the status of star players, but often underreact to trends such as a teams’ performance on back-to-back sets, or at the end of a long road trip. Read our full NBA Betting Guide for more strategies on gaining an edge against sportsbooks.
If you develop a system that helps you stay a step ahead of oddsmakers, it’s certainly possible to cash on over 50 percent of NBA bets and turn a profit. Trust your data and use our Power Rankings as a guide for identifying value on a nightly basis.