NBA Betting: Western Conference Matchups – Early Predictions

Posted by Derrick Harper on August 17, 2020 in

It’s been a long, strange trip, but we’ve finally made it to the NBA playoffs. With the COVID-19 pandemic putting a halt to the NBA season in mid-March, no one knew if and when the season would resume, or if a NBA champion would be crowned. With the eight game restart schedule coming to an end, the NBA playoffs will begin in the Orlando bubble on Monday. While many are predicting an all-Los Angeles Western Conference finals, there are six other teams that stand in the way of that happening. Let’s preview the best-of-seven first round Western Conference playoff matchups so you can make your bets against their NBA odds.

Western Conference Matchups – NBA Early Predictions

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard carried the Blazers into the playoffs. After a great run in the bubble, including winning a play-in game, will the Blazers have enough gas left in the tank to defeat the Lakers? LeBron James, Anthony Davis and company played mostly uninspired basketball during the re-start, as they really didn’t have much to play for. Without Avery Bradley, the Lakers will have to find someone else to defend Lillard. When it’s all said and done, even though the  Blazers have been on a roll, they don’t defend well enough to defeat the Lakers.

The Lakers win this series 4-2.

(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Oklahoma City Thunder

The big question surrounding this series is if and when Russell Westbrook will be able to play. He will miss at least a few games because of a strained quad. While many teams have had trouble stopping Houston’s “small ball” game, the Thunder can play a “small ball” lineup of their own and match up well with Houston.

Although OKC matches up better with Houston than most, and will play them tough, the Rockets will win in a hard-fought series, 4-3.

(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Utah Jazz

This should be one of the more intriguing matchups in the Western Conference playoffs. Many will be looking forward to the big man match up pitting Utah’s Rudy Gobert against Denver’s Nikola Jokic. Jokic averaged nearly 30 points per game in their three games against the Jazz.

The emergence of Michael Porter Jr. will also help Denver’s chances. Porter averaged 22 points per game in the re-start, and has “future superstar” written all over him.

As for the Jazz, Donovan Mitchell will need to carry the load, as Mike Conley has left the bubble for the birth of his child, and will miss some of the series. Losing Bojan Bogdanovic prior to the re-start was a huge blow to the Jazz.

Denver takes the series 4-2.

(2) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (7) Dallas Mavericks

For anyone who loves offense, this will be the series to watch. Both of these teams are capable of putting up 120-130 points per game. Luka Doncic has had an all-NBA season for the Mavericks. Combine that with Kristaps Porzingis looking like an all star, and you have a duo that could give the Clippers headaches.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard will be looking to lead the Clippers to the next round. Not only will they be counted on to score, but they’ll also have their chances to guard Doncic, and one of them may end up on Porzingis as well. The Clippers are hoping that they won’t get too worn out on the defensive end.

Even though the Mavs can score, they won’t be able to stop the Clippers from scoring. Dallas has struggled on the defensive end of the floor, and the Clippers will present numerous match up issues for the Mavs.

This will be a fun series to watch, the Clippers win the series 4-1.