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NBA Playoff Bets: Odds says Raptors are a lock to reach postseason

Profile Picture: Drew Levison

January 21st, 2022

As we speed past the halfway point of the 2021-22 NBA season, oddsmakers have released some interesting lines on a a number teams they think have a real shot at making the playoffs, but might be considered "on the bubble" by many fans and analysts.

Let’s examine five teams that could still be making some noise in mid April. To be clear, teams have to be part of the playoff field after play-in games have concluded.

Toronto Raptors

Odds to Reach the Playoffs

YesNo
-183
+185

What should bettors make of "We The North"? Well, despite having dropped two of their last three games, the Raptors are still a .500 club. They sit 10th in the East, but hold four games in hand on the ninth-place Celtics and three on the eighth-place Wizards. With a win versus the Wiz this evening, they’ll leapfrog both Boston and Washington to claim eighth, and they’re doing all this with one of the thinnest rotations in the league, as coach Nick Nurse has been forced to use a seven-man lineup most nights due to a combo of injuries, COVID protocols and not-quite-ready-for-primetime prospects off the bench. Once they get healthy though, watch out. That joyous sound you may hear coming down from Canada could be the Raps making some playoff noise.

Boston Celtics

Odds to Reach the Playoffs

YesNo
-155
+120

Speaking of the Celtics, they’re also sitting at .500, and have been dealing with their own issues this season. The biggest one? Offensive consistency. When Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both healthy, they have a one-two punch that can be impressive.

Still, while the offense has sputtered on many occasions, there’s reason to believe the Celtics can get into better offensive rhythm this season and secure a playoff spot. 

Los Angeles Clippers

Odds to Reach the Playoffs

YesNo
-141
+110

Ah, the Clips. This one’s interesting. Although they’re currently saddled with a losing record, you can’t quite write off LA's "other” team. Despite losing Paul George to an elbow injury, the Clippers have remained resilient, and they could get a huge boost soon if Kawhi Leonard returns following offseason knee surgery. Oh, and let’s not overlook Ty Lue’s remarkable management of the assets he still has to choose from. Put it all together and the Clippers look like a solid prospect to make the playoffs.

Washington Wizards

Odds to Reach the Playoffs

YesNo
+200
-275

The Wizards have been running at a .500 pace over their last 10 games and now sit eighth in the East. The first half of the year has been a grind, to say the least. However, there’s true upside to the Wiz. It can’t be long now before Bradley Beal rediscovers his form (he’s was recently in COVID protocols, which seemingly threw off his game timing), and teammates Spencer Dinwiddie and Montrezl Harrell are just itching to start clicking again on all cylinders.

Beyond that, Davis Bertans still has the second half of the season to find his main weapon, the 3-pointer. If and when he does, the Wizards won’t need any magic to make the playoffs.

Portland Trail Blazers

Odds to Reach the Playoffs

YesNo
+650
-1250

The Blazers are the biggest longshot on this list. They’re just barely holding on to the 10th spot in the West, but they’re doing it without the supernaturally talented Damian Lillard, whose abdominal injury will keep him out for an indefinite period, according to the team. That said, Portland seems to have found a more-than-adequate replacement in Dame’s absence in his understudy, Anfernee Simons. The fourth-year shooting guard is averaging 26.3 points over his last 10 games and exploded for a career-high 43 points against the Hawks on Jan. 3.

If he keeps it up, it’s not hard to see the Blazers being able to recalibrate without Lillard around, as the team's other core players – namely CJ McCollum, Josef Nurkic and Norman Powell – develop new chemistry with Simons and get some of their groove back for the second half of the season. Don’t toss Portland to the side of the trail just yet.

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