The 5 Best Bets to Make the 2018-19 NBA Playoffs

Are oddsmakers underrating LeBron James' impact on the Los Angeles Lakers?

We're only a week away from the start of the NBA season. Season-long fantasy hoops drafts are going on, there's last-minute work being done to prepare for a constant stream of daily fantasy basketball slates, and fans are getting geared up to watch the regular season kick off.

But let's skip all that good stuff for now and look way ahead to April and the NBA Playoffs.

Despite the fact that we tend to get fewer surprises in the NBA playoffs than we do in other sports, there have still been 23 teams to see at least one playoff berth in the last three seasons. Sure, the top teams like the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets may be virtual locks, but things get cloudy quickly after the top tier. With plenty of young, rebuilding teams in the league, the potential for young players to make big strides also means that we could see lesser teams make a playoff push this year.

numberFire's Team Power Rankings page includes our models' projections for teams' playoff probabilities. As expected, some teams have absolutely nothing to worry about (like Golden State, at 99.9%). There are plenty of surprises in the rankings, and also plenty of places where our numbers disagree with what oddsmakers are saying.

The FanDuel Sportsbook has playoff odds for all 30 teams, ranging from -9000 on Golden State (needing to wager 90 dollars to win 1) to +5500 for the Phoenix Suns (wagering 1 dollar can win you 55).

By identifying the teams that our models have as significantly more likely to make the playoffs than the betting lines suggest, you can find serious value. That value can be found in a solid distribution of odds ranges too. If you want to take a safer bet that doesn't pay out as well, there's value there. If you want something close to a coin-flip, we have that. And if you want to roll the dice on an underdog? That's one of our top bets.

Let's get right into it and examine our five top-projected bets.