No team had an easier time in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs than the Washington Wizards, and they could be poised to make a deep run in the postseason. The Wizards will play either the Atlanta Hawks or Brooklyn Nets in the second round with a chance to reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 1979.
The Wizards aren’t among the favorites to win the NBA Finals, having been given the seventh-best odds at 25/1. But their odds have seen a significant jump since the start of the playoffs, and their road through the East looks a lot less daunting than it did a few weeks ago.
Atlanta and Brooklyn are tied 2-2 in their first-round series, and Washington has a legitimate chance to beat either team. The Hawks once looked like the best team in the NBA, but they’ve lost almost as many games as they’ve won since the beginning of March, and their lack of star power might finally be catching up to them. The Nets won just 38 games in the regular season, and they are easily the worst team in the playoffs. Washington would be favored in a series against Brooklyn.
The Wizards would be underdogs in the Eastern Conference Finals, likely facing the Cleveland Cavaliers or Chicago Bulls. But neither potential opponent seems as formidable as they did at the start of the postseason.
Losing Kevin Love for what looks like the rest of the season makes them more likely to be upset. Love was a major part of Cleveland’s first-round success, totaling 55 points and 27 rebounds in his first three playoff games. Still, LeBron James and the Cavs are heavy favorites to reach the NBA Finals.
Chicago might be the second-best team in the East, but they are having trouble getting by the .500 Milwaukee Bucks. Washington took care of Chicago in five games in the first round of last year’s postseason, and the two teams split four games in the regular season.
Washington’s 46 wins this season were their most since they made it to the NBA Finals in 1979. Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, John Wall and Paul Pierce are all averaging over 15 points per game in the playoffs. The Wizards swept the Toronto Raptors in four games, winning by an average of 14 points per contest.
The Golden State Warriors remain the favorites to win it all with 8/5 odds. They are followed by the Cavaliers, Spurs and Bulls.
Below are the updated betting odds to win the 2015 NBA Finals, courtesy of Bovada.lv.
Golden State Warriors 8/5
Cleveland Cavaliers 3/1
San Antonio Spurs 9/2
Chicago Bulls 17/2
Houston Rockets 10/1
Atlanta Hawks 12/1
Memphis Grizzlies 20/1
Washington Wizards 25/1
Los Angeles Clippers 28/1
Brooklyn Nets 200/1
Portland Trail Blazers 400/1
Milwaukee Bucks 400/1