Odds and Predictions for Who Will Make the 2022 NBA Playoffs

| February 23, 2022 7:44 am PST
NBA Playoffs logo, NBA betting background with team logos, NBA players

The NBA playoff race has been wild this season. The Eastern Conference has seen many moving parts, from the No. 1 seed to the play-in tournament. We haven’t seen as much competition in the Western Conference, but we’ll likely see that change.

The NBA All-Star break gives everyone a chance to reset and focus on the playoff push. Some teams are looking at a top spot in their conference, while others just want to make the play-in tournament.

Let’s start by talking about the top betting sites for predicting the 2022 NBA Playoffs.

Where to Bet on the 2022 NBA Playoffs

These sites will give you the latest and best odds for NBA playoff betting. Bovada is always a great choice for your future bets. They are on top of predicting who will make the 2022 NBA playoffs.

SportsBetting.ag and BetOnline have been rolling on updated odds on NBA specials, including All-Star weekend. Their diversity makes me comfortable using them to check out the NBA playoff odds.

We know where to bet on the NBA playoffs. Now, let’s talk about which teams will make the 2022 NBA playoffs.

Locks to Make the 2022 NBA Playoffs

A few teams have essentially locked themselves into the 2022 NBA playoffs. They are in such a good spot that the sportsbooks don’t have odds on the board.

Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns have been the top team in the NBA almost the entire season. They haven’t let losing the 2021 NBA Finals affect their pursuit of the 2022 NBA Championship.

Phoenix shook off a 1-3 start to hold the best record in the NBA at 48-10. That means they’re 47-7 since that early-season stretch. When you have this good of a record, it typically consists of a few long winning streaks.

  • 18-game win streak
  • 11-game win streak
  • 7-game win streak

The Suns have lost two games in the 2022 calendar year. Most teams can’t go one week without losing two games, nonetheless a month and a half.

They have the best record in the NBA by 6.5 games. They have a 17.5-game lead on the seven seed, and a 25.5 game lead on the 11 seed in the Western Conference. Phoenix only has 24 games remaining, so it won’t be long before they lock themselves into the 2022 NBA playoffs.

Is there any value in betting on the Suns to make the playoffs? No, but this is about the locks. That’s what they present in my 2022 NBA playoff predictions.

Golden State Warriors

Before the Phoenix Suns exerted their dominance, everyone talked about the Golden State Warriors as the best team in the NBA. An 18-2 start to the season had to improve their NBA playoff odds.

We saw the Warriors slow down, going 14-11 over their next 25 games. That stretch had some wondering if Stephen Curry deserved to win the 2021-22 NBA MVP. However, Golden State responded with a nine-game win streak.

Golden State holds the second-best record in the NBA at 42-17. They missed the NBA playoffs the last two seasons, but they look like a lock for the NBA playoff predictions.

The Warriors dynasty run in the late 2010s featured a dominant offense. They still have one of the top offenses, but their defense has been among the best in the league.

Draymond Green has been the driving force behind that defense. Unfortunately, Green has been out since mid-January with a hamstring injury. Still, the Warriors are allowing the fourth-fewest points in the NBA.

Golden State holds an 11-game lead over the seven seed in the Western Conference. An injury to Curry could affect NBA playoff betting, but they have enough pieces to at least stay in the top six.

Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies have arguably been the biggest surprise in the Western Conference. I’d say they were a fringe contender in most people’s preseason NBA playoff predictions.

Memphis didn’t look like a playoff contender early in the season. Their NBA playoff odds were likely going down as they had a 9-10 start to the season. However, that was the final time anyone underestimated them in their 2022 NBA playoff predictions.

Since then, Memphis is 32-9. If you take out a three-game losing streak right before Christmas, Memphis only lost two games from November 28 to January 13. Their 41-19 mark is the third-best in the NBA. They’re on pace to tie a franchise record with 56 wins.

I’d say everyone knows why Memphis is one of the top teams when predicting who will make the 2022 NBA playoffs.

Ja Morant is having a breakout season. The third-year guard will make his first All-Star game appearance as a starter. His 26.8 points per game ranks inside the top 10. Morant is a great value bet for the 2022 NBA MVP.

Memphis isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. They should be a lock in anyone’s NBA playoff predictions.

Miami Heat

The Eastern Conference is so competitive that it’s hard to pick a true lock. If I had to pick one team, it’s the Miami Heat. Miami had a big offseason, adding impact players like Kyle Lowry and PJ Tucker.

Miami had a solid 14-11 start, but they slowly rose to the top of the Eastern Conference. We haven’t seen any long win streaks, but the Heat continue to play impressive basketball. Their 38-21 record matches the Chicago Bulls for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

The biggest reason I’m giving Miami the edge as my lock in the Eastern Conference is their depth. Lowry has missed time this season, but Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Bam Adebayo have impressive numbers.

Jimmy Butler Tyler Herro Bam Adebayo
Points 21.8 20.0 18.6
Rebounds 6.4 4.8 10.2
Assists 6.0 3.9 3.5
Field Goal Percentage 47.8 42.7 52.4

Butler has to be one of the most underrated stars in the NBA. We never talk about him among the superstars, but he consistently puts up elite numbers. Herro is running away with the Sixth Man of the Year Award.

Their production is why I have the Heat as my lone Eastern Conference lock in my 2022 NBA playoff predictions.

Who Is at Risk of Missing the 2022 NBA Playoffs?

Unfortunately, not everyone is in a position to make the 2022 NBA playoffs. Let’s talk about a few teams in danger of missing the NBA playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers (EVEN)

What has happened to the Los Angeles Lakers? In the preseason, they were one of the odds-on favorites to win the 2022 NBA Finals. Now, we’re talking about the Lakers among the teams that could miss the playoffs.

The biggest issue for Los Angeles has been finding any consistency. They won six of eight games in late November and early December, and five of six in late December. However, they followed those up with losing streaks.

That stretch in early January is the last time the Lakers have won consecutive games. We do know the Lakers’ struggles don’t fall on LeBron James. James turned 37 in late December, but he is playing at an elite level.

  • 29.1 points
  • 7.9 rebounds
  • 6.5 assists
  • 1.6 steals
  • 1.0 blocks
  • 52.2 field goal percentage
  • 35.3 three-point percentage

Anthony Davis hasn’t been able to stay healthy. He missed time earlier in the season with a knee injury, and now, he’ll miss four weeks with a foot sprain.

Los Angeles should stay in the play-in tournament, but can they make the NBA playoffs? I need to see more before putting them among my 2022 NBA playoff predictions.

Washington Wizards (-350)

Does anyone remember when the Washington Wizards were one of the best teams in the NBA? NBA playoff betting had to feel good for those who backed the Wizards. Unfortunately, that didn’t last.

The Wizards dropped to .500 in mid-December, but they maintained through the next month. They stayed in playoff contention, but they closed the first half by losing 10 of their next 14 games.

Washington was going in the wrong direction, but it only got worse when Bradley Beal suffered a season-ending wrist injury.

From there, the Wizards decided to make a big move at the trade deadline. They traded Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans to the Dallas Mavericks for Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis has yet to make his Wizards debut, but it’ll likely come immediately after the All-Star break.

Even with Porzingis, the Wizards make my list of which teams will miss the 2022 NBA playoffs. There’s so much competition in the Eastern Conference, and I don’t believe Porzingis will put them over the top.

Washington is still very much alive in the 2022 NBA playoff race, sitting one game outside of the play-in tournament. However, I don’t see them beating teams like the Brooklyn Nets or Toronto Raptors.

New York Knicks (-6600)

The New York Knicks had a lot of hype coming into this season. They surprised everyone by making the playoffs last season. I think most expected some regression this year, but they still had them in their NBA playoff predictions.

New York had an impressive 5-1 start, but that was the extent of their success. They were around .500, but they did win eight of 11 games in December and January. Since then, the Knicks have dropped 13 of their last 16 games. They are 25-34, 3.5 games out of the play-in tournament.

This season, the biggest issue has been the decline of Julius Randle. Let’s compare his numbers from last year to this year.

2020-21 2021-22
Points 24.1 19.8
Rebounds 10.2 10.2
Assists 6.0 5.2
Field Goal Percentage 45.6 42.1
Three-Point Percentage 41.1 30.6

Every playoff-caliber team needs a superstar. Randle is putting up star-caliber numbers, but he isn’t a superstar. That was my concern with the Knicks in the preseason, and things haven’t changed.

The NBA playoff odds are heavily favoring the Knicks to miss the postseason. It’s hard to have much confidence in them, so I wouldn’t blame you if you took that bet.

Best 2022 NBA Playoff Bets to Target

We’re always looking for value in our 2022 NBA playoff predictions. Let’s check out my best bets for the NBA playoffs.

Atlanta Hawks to Make the Playoffs (+160)

At the All-Star break last season, the Atlanta Hawks had a 16-20 record. Their NBA playoff odds weren’t looking good, but they went 26-11 to make the playoffs and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

This season, Atlanta has been widely inconsistent. They have two seven-game winning streaks, a 1-8 stretch, and a 5-15 stretch. Even with all that, the Hawks are 28-30 and hold the final spot in the play-in tournament.

Now these odds don’t pay out for making the play-in tournament. To make the NBA playoffs, Atlanta will need to overcome teams like the Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, and Charlotte Hornets.

This Atlanta team isn’t all that different from last season. They traded Cam Reddish to the New York Knicks, but that’s their only significant difference. They have seven players averaging double-digits in scoring.

  • Trae Young: 27.8
  • John Collins: 16.8
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic: 13.3
  • De’Andre Hunter: 13.0
  • Kevin Huerter: 11.6
  • Clint Capela: 10.7
  • Danilo Gallinari: 10.6

Atlanta has the firepower with Trae Young and plenty of depth to make a playoff run. I’m not sure if they’ll replicate last year’s success, but they can advance out of the play-in tournament.

Minnesota Timberwolves to Miss the Playoffs (+350)

Many people had the Minnesota Timberwolves as a surprise team in their 2022 NBA playoff predictions. So far, they’ve lived up to the hype.

It took a while for the Timberwolves to become serious playoff contenders. In early January, they were four games under .500, but we saw them make a move in late January. The Timberwolves closed the first half by winning seven of 10 games. They moved into seventh in the Western Conference with a 31-28 record.

Minnesota is 2.5 games out of the top six, and eight games ahead of the 11 seed. If nothing else, they’ll qualify for the play-in tournament. However, that’s where my concern sets in.

Call me crazy, but I can’t see the Los Angeles Lakers missing the playoffs. A fully healthy Lakers team is better than the Timberwolves.

I’ll talk more about the Los Angeles Clippers, but I’d take them over Minnesota. That leaves the Timberwolves vulnerable if they don’t finish in the top six of the Western Conference.

The Timberwolves defense has become a bigger issue lately. I know they’re winning games, but how long will it last? My NBA playoff betting doesn’t include the Timberwolves.

Los Angeles Clippers to Make the Playoffs (-150)

The Los Angeles Clippers faced adversity before the beginning of the 2021-22 season. Kawhi Leonard tore his ACL in the playoffs and would miss most of the season.

Los Angeles had a respectable 17-15 start, but trouble struck when Paul George suffered an elbow injury. The long-term injury left the Clippers without their two stars for months. Even with the injuries, the Clippers have stayed in playoff contention.

They’re 30-31, six games ahead of the 11 seed in the Western Conference. That might give people pause about including them in their NBA playoff predictions, but I see it as an opportunity.

Despite the injuries, this team had done a great job staying in contention. There’s a chance George will return in the next few weeks.

We don’t know if Leonard will play in the regular season, but the Clippers have enough depth with George to compete for a spot in the NBA playoffs.

The biggest issue for the Clippers this season has been their offense. Their 106.6 points per game ranks in the bottom five of the Western Conference. Bringing back George will give them a big offensive boost.

I love including the Clippers in my 2022 NBA playoff predictions.

Predicting the 2022 NBA Playoffs

Eastern Conference Western Conference
1. Philadelphia 76ers 1. Phoneix Suns
2. Miami Heat 2. Memphis Grizzlies
3. Milwaukee Bucks 3. Golden State Warriors
4. Chicago Bulls 4. Utah Jazz
5. Brooklyn Nets 5. Dallas Mavericks
6. Cleveland Cavaliers 6. Denver Nuggets
7. Boston Celtics 7. Los Angeles Clippers
8. Atlanta Hawks 8. Los Angeles Lakers
9. Toronto Raptors 9. Minnesota Timberwolves
10. Charlotte Hornets 10. New Orleans Pelicans

Let me start by talking about the Eastern Conference. I think the James Harden trade puts the Philadelphia 76ers in a position to win the Eastern Conference. I like the top four teams, while the Brooklyn Nets bounce back with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and eventually, Ben Simmons.

The play-in tournament should be exciting because the Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, and Toronto Raptors are deserving playoff teams.

In the Western Conference, I think the top six remain the same. The Golden State Warriors have been scuffling lately, so I believe the Memphis Grizzlies take the No. 2 seed.

I like the two Los Angeles teams to jump the Minnesota Timberwolves. I also believe the New Orleans Pelicans will jump into the play-in tournament.

Betting on the NBA Playoffs in 2022

This wraps up my 2022 NBA playoff predictions. I don’t think we’ll see a ton of surprises near the top, especially in the Western Conference. The Eastern Conference could see some shuffling in seeding.

I think the play-in tournament in both conferences could bring a lot of excitement. That’ll have a significant impact on NBA playoff betting.

Predicting who will make the 2022 NBA playoffs will be a great storyline for bettors in the next two months. The top NBA betting sites will give you the latest and best odds.

Nicholas Sterling
Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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