ESPN recently collected 18 of their NBA experts to predict every first-round series along with tonight’s Warriors and Grizzlies play-in matchup. As you scroll down the list, every series prediction is very lopsided except for Denver-Portland.
Even presumed tight contests like Bucks(3)-Heat(6) and Knicks(4)-Hawks(5) have 13 of the votes going to Milwaukee and 15 votes towards the Knicks. In fact, DraftKings Sportsbook has Atlanta favored in that series at -121 compared to Knicks at +100.
Seemingly everywhere you turn for predictions and odds regarding this Denver-Portland series it is a toss-up. ESPN’s experts were split down the middle 9-9 on who wins the series. Notable names like Tim Legler picked Blazers in 7, Zach Lowe chose Blazers in 7, while Ramona Shelburne picked Denver in 7, and Kirk Goldsberry had Denver in 7 as well.
The sports betting realm is also undecided. DraftKings Sportsbook has both Denver and Portland at -110 to win the series. FanDuel is leaning towards the Blazers but it is still close. They have Portland as the slight favorite at -115 and Denver short behind at -105.
There are so many uncertainties in this series. Can MPJ produce consistently in the playoffs? Will Denver get Barton back at some point this series? How will Aaron Gordon ingratiate himself into this Denver playoff offense?
So many questions, yet the one constant remains the big man in the middle. Nikola Jokic erased all doubt of his play with outstanding playoff performances along with this MVP season. We await to see how he caps off this incredible run, and his first attempt begins tomorrow at 8:30 PM MT.