Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Since 1984 when the NBA playoffs expanded to its current 16-team field, just five times has a No. 8 seed upset a No. 1 in the first round and not since 2012 when the Philadelphia 76ers upset the Chicago Bulls. That one deserves an asterisk because Bulls star Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending injury in Game 1. Oddsmakers don’t expect a similar upset in the first round this year because both top seeds are favored to win their conference title.
The Golden State Warriors are -375 favorites to win the Western Conference for a fifth straight season and open defense of their back-to-back NBA titles on Saturday against the No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers (+8000 to win West). That’s a matchup the Warriors probably wanted because while the Clippers won the first meeting of the two very early in the season, Golden State won the final three – the last two with ease. Dubs star Steph Curry left Tuesday’s game with a minor injury but is expected to be fine for Game 1.
Golden State could be on a crash course in the second round with the Houston Rockets (+600), who are seeded fourth and open Sunday against the No. 5 Utah Jazz (+2800). Of course, the Warriors and Rockets went seven full games in last year’s Western Conference Finals, and most believe Houston is the only team capable of dethroning the Dubs in the West.