NBA Begins Its Postseason on Saturday

The NBA ended another regular season on Wednesday, with eight teams from each conference and the matchups for the first round  complete with a few last minute details falling into place on Wednesday the regular season’s final day.

The Boston Celtics clinched the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference. It was the first time the Celtics have done that since 2008. During the first round, the Celtics will play the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls clinched a playoff berth as the No. 8 seed after beating Brooklyn on Wednesday. The No. 7 seed was secured by the Indiana Pacers, which means they will face the Cleveland Cavaliers the No. 2 seed and defending NBA champions in round one.

Out West, home court advantage for the No. 4 seed vs. the No. 5 seed was clinched by the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers open their series in the first round at home against Utah on Saturday.

A big series in the opening round out West will feature the Houston Rockets the No. 3 seed against the Oklahoma City Thunder the No. 6 seed. The league’s top two candidates to win the MVP James Harden with the Rockets and Russell Westbrook for Oklahoma City will battle against one another.

Four of the eight first round series will begin on Saturday, with the other four starting on Sunday.

The big surprise of the season has been the Boston Celtics. On Wednesday, the Celtics defeated the Milwaukee Bucks to clinch the top spot in the East. That nevertheless does not seem to have fazed those who make the odds for sports betting as most place releasing odds have Cleveland, now the No. 2 team in the East as the odds on favorite to win the Eastern Conference playoffs and play against Golden State in the NBA finals. Golden State finished the season with the best overall record and the top seed out West.

That scenario has held true for the entire 82-game regular season. Even after Golden State’s high scorer Kevin Durant was injured, the Warriors were still considered the best in the West.

Much of that is due to odds makers knowing that the final 10 or 20 games during the regular season is used to rest star players on teams that have already comfortably secured a playoff spot since the wear and tear on players tires them out prior to an extended postseason that can reach 28 games or 34% of the entire 82-game regular season.