Although we haven’t reached the NBA’s All -Star Break, it’s a good time to consider which teams have what it takes to reach the playoffs. More than half of the league makes the playoffs. Like in 2021, the teams in seventh through tenth place must battle in the play-in tournament. As we head into February, the below are the favorites, upsets, and dark horses to make the NBA’s postseason. Let’s get right to it so you can plan your bets against the NBA Playoffs odds.
NBA Teams to Reach Playoffs – Favorites, Upsets, Dark Horses
2022 NBA Playoffs
- When: April 16 – June 19, 2022
- Phoenix Suns
The Suns have the league’s best record. Not only that, but the 2021 NBA Finals’ runners-up is like a well-oiled machine. Even though DeAndre Ayton and Jamison Crowder have sat on the bench due to injuries, the Suns have continued to win.
- Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are just 3.5 games behind the Suns. Golden State has an advantage in the sense that Klay Thompson is playing himself back into basketball shape. Thompson hasn’t played since the 2019 season. If Thompson hits his stride about the time the playoffs start, watch out.
- Miami Heat
Miami is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. As of Jan. 24, the Heat, Bulls, and Nets are a half a game from each other for the best record in the East.
With Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Kyle Lowry, there’s no telling how much damage the Heat will do in the playoffs. Unless Miami implodes, they’re a playoff team for sure.
- Brooklyn Nets
The Nets are loaded. When the Big 3 is healthy, few teams in the league can hang with Brooklyn. It’s telling that even though Kyrie Irving has played sparingly this season and Kevin Durant hasn’t played due to an injury, the Nets have continued to blast their opponents.
One reason? Coach Steve Nash has Brooklyn playing some of the best defense in the league. If the defense continues to improve, forget it. Brooklyn will not only make it to the playoffs, they will make it with home court advantage.
- Cleveland Cavaliers
As of Jan. 24, the Cavaliers are 1.5 games behind the Heat for the Eastern Conference’s best record. Underrated point-guard Darius Garland has developed a rapport with rookie Evan Mobley. Don’t sleep on the Cavs because they have a team first mentality.
- Philadelphia 76ers
The Ben Simmons drama put the Sixers into a bad position. Heading into February, though, the team has gotten away from the Simmons situation. Other players are stepping up, including 21-year-old Tyrese Maxey who is averaging close to 17 points, over 3 rebounds, and close to 5 assists per. Maxey makes Simmons tradeable. Like the Cavaliers, the 76ers are close to the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
- Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic is having another great season. He’s averaging 25.6 points, 8.8 boards, and 8.7 assists per game. So as long as Doncic steps onto the court, the Dallas Mavericks should be in line for a playoff spot.
- Denver Nuggets
Like Doncic in Dallas, reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic does everything for the Denver Nuggets. Jokic averages 26 points, close to 14 boards, and around 8 assists per. If Jokic plays, the Nuggets can win. So give Denver a nod to make the playoffs.
Dark HorsesToronto RaptorsGive the Raptors a big shot to win the play-in tournament and notch a spot in the Eastern Conference’s postseason. For Toronto, it’s about health. Paul Siakam, OG Anunoby, and point-guard Fred VanVleet must all be healthy for the Raptors to make the postseason.
- Washington Wizards
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Portland Trail Blazers