2015 NBA Playoffs Betting: Indiana, Brooklyn, OKC and New Orleans seek Final Spots

indiana-paul-georgeThe 2015 NBA Playoffs are about to begin, and the postseason picture is about as clear now as it was to start the season. Only one playoff series – East No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics – is set right now. So, if you’re into NBA Playoffs betting, you’ll have to wait to do any real research until after today.

After all, today represents the final day of the 2015 regular season. And some of the most-intense action will involve Indiana and Brooklyn battling for the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference, and Oklahoma City and New Orleans fighting for the West’s last slot.

Beyond teams clawing for No. 8 seeds in both conferences, seven out of the eight series are still yet to be determined. Yes, the playoff picture is very clouded less than 24 hours before all seeding will be finalized. But if you’re looking for some clarification, here are all the scenarios that could play out with each postseason slot.

lebron-jamesEastern Conference (Right Now)
No. 1 Atlanta Hawks (60-21)
No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers (52-29)
No. 3 Chicago Bulls (49-32)
No. 4 Toronto Raptors (48-33)
No. 5 Washington Wizards (46-35)
No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks (41-40)
No. 7 Boston Celtics (39-42)
No. 8 Indiana Pacers (38-43) or Brooklyn Nets (37-44)

Here’s what needs to be decided in the East
vs. Atlanta at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 3 if they beat Atlanta OR Toronto loses to the Charlotte Hornets
– No. 4 if they lose to the Hawks AND the Raptors beat Charlotte

Toronto vs. Charlotte at 7:00 p.m. ET
– No. 3 if they win against the Hornets AND the Bulls lose to the Hawks
– No. 4 if they lose to Charlotte OR the Bulls beat the Hawks

Indiana @ Memphis Grizzlies at 9:30 p.m. ET
– No. 8 if they win against Memphis OR the Nets lose to Orlando
– Eliminated if they lose to the Grizzlies AND the Nets win against the Magic

Brooklyn vs. Orlando at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 8 if they beat the Magic AND the Pacers lose to Memphis
– Eliminated if they lose against the Magic OR the Pacers beat the Grizzlies

stephen-curryWestern Conference (Right Now)
No. 1 Golden State (66-15)
No. 2 LA Clippers (56-26)
No. 3 San Antonio Spurs (55-26)
No. 4 Portland Trailblazers (51-30)
No. 5 Houston Rockets (55-26)
No. 6 Memphis Grizzlies (54-27)
No. 7 Dallas Mavericks (49-32)
No. 8 New Orleans (44-37)

Here’s what needs to be decided in the West
Los Angeles;
season finished
– No. 2 if the Spurs lose against New Orleans AND the Rockets get beat by the Utah Jazz
– No. 3 if the Spurs beat the Pelicans OR the Rockets lose against the Jazz

San Antonio @ New Orleans at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 2 if Spurs win against the Pelicans
– No. 3 if they lose against the Pelicans AND the Rockets lose to Utah
– No. 5 if they get beat by the Pelicans AND the Rockets win against the Jazz AND the Grizzlies lose to the Pacers
– No. 6 if they lose against the Pelicans AND the Rockets beat the Jazz AND the Grizzlies win against the Pacers

Houston vs. Utah at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 2 if Rockets win against Utah AND the Spurs lose to New Orleans
– No. 5 if they beat the Jazz AND the Spurs lose against the Pelicans; OR if they lose against the Jazz AND the Grizzlies lose to the Pacers
– No. 6 if they lose to the Jazz AND the Grizzlies beat the Pacers

zach-randolphMemphis vs. Indiana at 9:30 p.m. ET
– No. 5 if Grizzlies win against the Pacers AND the Rockets lose to Utah; OR if they beat the Pacers AND the Rockets win against the Jazz AND the Spurs lose to the Pelicans
– No. 6 if they get beat by the Pacers; OR if they win against the Pacers AND the Rockets beat the Jazz AND the Spurs win against New Orleans

New Orleans vs. San Antonio at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 8 if they beat the Spurs OR the Thunder lose to Minnesota
– Eliminated if they lose to the Spurs AND the Thunder beat the Timberwolves

Oklahoma City @ Minnesota Timberwolves at 8:00 p.m. ET
– No. 8 if Thunder beat the Timberwolves AND the Pelicans lose against San Antonio
– Eliminated if they lose against Minnesota OR the Pelicans win against the Spurs

It’s impossible to tell what’s going to happen on this final day of the regular season. But at least after tonight, the postseason matchups will be cleared up and you’ll be able to do some serious 2015 NBA Playoffs betting.

Pelicans Betting: Is Anthony Davis the NBA’s Best Player?

anthony-davis-nba-best-playerAlthough Anthony Davis is a very talented player, few people would’ve called in the league’s best before the 2014-15 NBA season began. But now, one month into the season, we need only look at Davis’ numbers to throw him in the discussion that begins with LeBron, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry and James Harden.

Considering player efficiency rating alone (PER), which measures per-minute performance, Davis is unquestionably the best – in fact, it’s not even close! Through 13 games, the New Orleans Pelicans forward has a 34.52 PER, compared to Dallas’ Brandan Wright, who ranks second with a 29.89 PER.

Of course, Wright isn’t exactly in the discussion for the top NBA player, so let’s take a look at how the aforementioned greats rank in this category:

3. Stephen Curry – 28.84 PER
5. Chris Paul – 27.70 PER
8. LeBron James – 25.12 PER

Okay, so we’ve established that nobody is better than Davis when it comes to making the most out of minutes. But as Wright shows, even unheralded players can rank high here, so let’s look at pure numbers.
anthony-davis-nba-best-player-1In this category, what Davis is doing might be even more remarkable. He’s averaging 25.4 PPG (2nd in NBA), 11.2 rebounds (7th), 2.08 steals (4th), 3.38 blocks (1st) and shooting 56.5% from the field. As ESPN’s Marc Stein tweeted, if Davis can keep this up, he’ll join some pretty outstanding players:

Stein – If Anthony Davis can average 25/10/3.5 for the season, he’ll join Kareem, The Admiral, Hakeem The Dream & Patrick Ewing in an exclusive club

When the unibrow-sporting, Kentucky product came into the league, many looked at him as an ultra-talented shot blocker who was raw in other areas. Moreover, at 6’10”, 220 pounds, it was assumed that Davis would need far more mass to be effective. Well he’s put on the muscle, but his skills were already shining in his first two years. Now that Davis has begun his third NBA campaign, he’s become a superstar…at least in terms of numbers and respect around the league anyways.

What’s tough for Davis is that he plays in the crowded Western Conference on an average team. New Orleans stands at 7-6 right now, which ranks them 10th out of 15 teams in the West. As has been the case over the past few years, simply having a winning record isn’t good enough to make the Western Conference playoffs. And as long as the Pelicans stay out of the postseason picture, Davis’ talents will largely go unnoticed.

So while he’s the best player in terms of all-around numbers, the 21-year-old still needs to produce wins in order to be mentioned with the LeBron’s, Paul’s and Harden’s of the league.

This is definitely the best chance that Davis has had to win in his short career. New Orleans features a strong lineup that includes PG Jrue Holiday, SG Eric Gordon, forwards Tyreke Evans and Ryan Anderson, and C Omar Asik. So it’s not like they are short on talent. However, this is also a young team without anybody who’s been in serious playoff battles. So as the Pelicans improve, Davis’ legend will grow.

2014 NBA All-Star Rosters set – 7 First-Time Players make Cut

lamarcus-aldridge-all-star-gameThe 2014 NBA All-Star reserves were recently announced, which means that we now have complete teams to discuss. In all, seven players received their first ever All-Star selection, with Stephen Curry both getting his first nod and a starting role thanks to the fan vote.

Other first-time players who’ll be joining Curry on the Western Conference team include LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis. The latter will be taking Kobe Bryant’s place on the team since he’s injured and can’t play. Lillard is not only playing in his first All-Star game, but also competing in four other contests over the weekend. As for Aldridge, he’s not only a first-time All-Star, but also a legitimate MVP candidate this year.

Moving to the Eastern Conference, first-time selections include DeMar DeRozan, Paul Millsap and John Wall. Now in his fifth year, DeRozan really seems to have stepped his game up while averaging 22 PPG and leading Toronto to the top of the Atlantic Division. Millsap, who’s spent most of his career in the West, seems to be enjoying his change of scenery in Atlanta. And Wall has now reached the potential that everybody predicted for him coming out of Kentucky.

Now that we’ve covered the first-timers in the 2014 NBA All-Star game, let’s take a quick look at the complete rosters, with stats included.

* = Starter
+ = Injured player

Eastern Conference All-Stars

* F Carmelo Anthony, New York – 27.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3.0 APG
* F Paul George, Indiana – 22.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.4 APG
* F LeBron James, Miami – 26.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 6.6 APG
* G Kyrie Irving, Cleveland – 21.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 6.4 APG
* G Dwayne Wade, Miami – 18.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.7 APG
F/C Chris Bosh, Miami – 16.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG
G DeMar DeRozan, Toronto – 22.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.8 APG
C Roy Hibbert, Indiana – 12.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.1 APG
G Joe Johnson, Nets – 15.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.7 APG
F Paul Millsap, Atlanta – 17.7 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG
C Joakim Noah, Chicago – 11.5 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 4.2 APG
G John Wall, Washington – 20.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 8.5 APG

Western Conference

* F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City – 31.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 5.3 APG
* F Blake Griffin, LA Clippers – 23.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.5 APG
* F Kevin Love, Minnesota – 25.6 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 4.0 APG
*+ G Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers – 13.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.3 APG
* Stephen Curry, Golden State – 24.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 9.1 APG
F/C LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland – 24.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 2.8 APG
F/C Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 20.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.4 APG
G James Harden, Houston – 23.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 APG
C Dwight Howard, Houston – 18.6 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 1.7 APG
G Damian Lillard, Portland – 20.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.8 APG
F Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas – 21.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.8 APG
G Tony Parker, San Antonio – 18.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 6.3 APG
G Chris Paul, LA Clippers – 19.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 11.2 APG