NBA SportsLine projections: Raptors, 76ers, Bucks see championship odds rise; Warriors remain clear favorites

The 2018-19 NBA season has been off to an entertaining start, and now that we're nearly a month in, it's time to take stock of the league and see where things are heading. SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has run the simulations and crunched the numbers to give us some updated projections on where teams will finish this season. 

Here's a look at the odds for every team to make the playoffs, win their conference and win the title. 

Western Conference

Teams

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win Western Conference

Win NBA title

Golden State Warriors

64.9

100%

69.16%

56.3%

Portland Trail Blazers

52.4

99.2%

8.99%

4.3%

Oklahoma City Thunder

46.8

86.8%

2.23%

0.6%

Houston Rockets

46.5

84.2%

6.19%

2.6%

Los Angeles Lakers

45.8

81%

6.03%

2.6%

Clippers

45.1

76%

1.98%

0.7%

San Antonio Spurs

44.9

75.7%

1.37%

0.4%

Utah Jazz

44.9

73.9%

1.90%

0.7%

Denver Nuggets

44.7

72.5%

1.61%

0.5%

New Orleans Pelicans

41.4

39.5%

0.50%

0.1%

Minnesota Timberwolves

36.3

6.4%

0.04%

0.01%

Memphis Grizzlies

34.4

2.2%

0%

0%

Sacramento Kings

34

1.9%

0%

0%

Dallas Mavericks

32.5

0.8%

0%

0%

Phoenix Suns

21.2

0%

0%

0%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The Timberwolves obviously took a big hit with the Jimmy Butler trade as their chances to make the postseason go from 31.0 percent with Butler down to just 6.4 percent after the deal. It's possible that Minnesota could still make a playoff push with the bottom of the West looking a bit shaky, but it seems unlikely.
  • The Warriors have looked completely dominant early in the season, and as a result, their title odds have shot way up. They were big favorites even before the season, with SportsLine giving them a 40 percent chance to win the title. Now? The Warriors' chances for a three-peat have risen to over 56 percent. It's hard to argue with that given how well they're playing, especially considering they're still yet to add DeMarcus Cousins to the mix.
  • The data is back in on the Trail Blazers. Prior to the season, SportsLine's projections saw the Blazers as one of the teams getting squeezed out of the playoffs in the crowded Western Conference. Not so anymore, as they now have a greater than 99 percent chance of making the postseason again. Additionally, their chances of winning the West are up to nine percent -- higher than any other team in the conference besides the Warriors. 
  • A slow start for the Lakers does not seem to be affecting how the projections view them. While their win total projection has slipped a bit, they're still seen as having a greater than 80 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • Moving on from Carmelo Anthony -- as the Rockets seem to be preparing for -- should be a good move for Houston. SportsLine's projections have them with an 84.2 percent chance at making the postseason without Anthony on the roster. 
  • One team that's seen a big jump from their preseason projections to now is the Clippers. Prior to the season, SportsLine's data had them all the way at the bottom of the West. Now? The projections see them winning more than 45 games and gives them a 76 percent chance to make the playoffs. 

Eastern Conference

Teams

Projected wins

Make playoffs

Win Eastern Conference

Win NBA title

Toronto Raptors

60.1

100%

34.55%

14%

Milwaukee Bucks

54.0

100%

16.63%

4.5%

Philadelphia 76ers

51.7

99.9%

19.52%

5.7%

Boston Celtics 

51.6

99.9%

16.48%

4.8%

Indiana Pacers

46.8

98.1%

6.24%

1.2%

Charlotte Hornets

46.2

97.2%

4.74%

0.8%

Miami Heat

40.0

64.2%

0.76%

0.1%

Detroit Pistons 

39.7

61.7%

0.77%

0.1%

Brooklyn Nets

37.2

36.2%

0.17%

0%

Orlando Magic 

35.7

22.4%

0%

0%

Washington Wizards

33.9

11.9%

0%

0%

New York Knicks

33.4

8.4%

0%

0%

Atlanta Hawks

24.0

0%

0%

0%

Chicago Bulls

21.7

0%

0%

0%

Cleveland Cavaliers

18.2

0%

0%

0%

A few takeaways from these projections:

  • The Sixers made a bold move in acquiring Butler from the Timberwolves. Butler gives the team another playmaker and Philadelphia is now projected to reach the 50-win mark for the second consecutive season. They also now have the second-best chances -- albeit by a slim margin -- to win the East. 
  • The Raptors are becoming bigger and bigger favorites to win the East. SportsLine's projections have them up to 34.5 percent after their league-best 12-1 start. With Kawhi Leonard playing at an MVP-candidate level, the Raptors' move to trade for him has paid off so far. 
  • The projections finally believe in the Bucks. Prior to the season, SportsLine's projections saw them as a 43.5 win team, with just a 1.4 percent chance to win the East. Now, thanks to their 10-3 start, their win projection has shot up to 54, while their chances to win the conference have jumped to 16.6 percent. 
  • Boston's slow start is hurting its chances of winning both the East and the title. While the Celtics still have a decent chance -- 16.5 percent -- to win the conference, that's down from 34.5 percent prior to the season. Additionally, their odds of winning the title have fallen from 15.6 percent preseason, to just 4.8 percent now. 
  • Little hope for the Wizards? Despite getting off to a 3-9 start, and looking downright dreadful at times, the Wizards are just 2.5 games out of the eighth seed because of how bad the East is outside the top five or six teams. But even given the Wizards' talent, the projections give them just an 11.9 percent chance to turn things around and reach the postseason. 
NBA Writer

Jack Maloney lives and writes in Milwaukee, where, like the Bucks, he is trying to own the future. Full Bio

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