The NBA playoffs are finally here. With this season’s addition of the Play-In Tournament, the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences have to wait another few days to learn their first-round opponents.
For the third through sixth seeds, though, now is the time to start preparing for their playoff runs. Who is favored in these matchups? (Odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.)
No. 3 Denver Nuggets (-120) vs. No. 6 Portland Trail Blazers (+100)
The Portland Trail Blazers secured one of the top six spots on the final day of the regular season with an easy win over the Nuggets, 132-116. Their reward? A full series with Denver.
The two teams last met in the playoffs in 2019, when Portland prevailed in the Western Conference semifinals in a seven-game classic. The Nuggets -- and MVP candidate Nikola Jokic -- are slightly favored in this rematch, but they’ll be without Jamal Murray. Plus, Damian Lillard is always a threat for the NBA playoffs.
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers (-350) vs. No. 5 Dallas Mavericks (+275)
The Clippers and Mavericks meet in the first round for the second straight year. Although Los Angeles is the biggest favorite of the four first-round matchups that are set so far, they lost two of three against Dallas this season and will have to find a way to stop Luka Doncic, who torched the Clippers for 42 points the last time these two teams played on March 17.
Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George come into the playoffs well-rested, having missed the last two regular-season games.
No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks (-275) vs. No. 6 Miami Heat (+225)
The Bucks had a chance to move up to the No. 1 or 2 seed in the Eastern Conference but finished two games behind the Brooklyn Nets and three games back of the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. Milwaukee defeated Miami, 122-108, this past Saturday, but the Heat were without leading scorer Jimmy Butler.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. will be looking for revenge after the Heat bounced the No. 1 Bucks from last year’s playoffs in the Orlando bubble.
No. 4 New York Knicks (-110) vs. No. 5 Atlanta Hawks (-110)
Matchups between the fourth and fifth seeds are often the most closely contested, and the Knicks-Hawks series is no exception, with equal odds to prevail at the moment.
New York swept Atlanta, 3-0, in their season series. Both teams are returning to the playoffs after several down years: The Hawks last made the postseason in 2017, while the Knicks haven’t been here since 2013.
Editor's note: All odds are provided by our partner, PointsBet. PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links