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Pistons & Heat Getting Plus-Odds to Miss

Pistons guard Reggie Jackson takes a shot.
Reggie Jackson and the Pistons are in danger of missing the postseason. Photo by Keith Allison. [CC License].
  • The Pistons and Heat are tied for the final playoff spot in the East.
  • Miami has a tougher remaining schedule, including nine of its final 13 games on the road.
  • Which of these teams should you bet on to miss the playoffs?

Two thirds of the NBA season is in the books and while there are five clear cut playoff teams in the East, there are five more squads fighting for the conference’s final three postseason berths.

The Pistons and Heat are currently tied for the final playoff spot, yet BetOnline is offering plus-odds on each team to miss the postseason.

Odds to Make the Playoffs in the Eastern Conference

Team Yes Odds to make the plyoffs at
No Odds to make the playoffs at BetOnline
Brooklyn Nets -300 +250
Detroit Pistons -140 +120
Miami Heat -120 +100
Orlando Magic -135 +115
Washington Wizards +500 -650

*Odds taken on 02/19/19

Detroit and Miami each have an above 50% chance of making the playoffs according to ESPN’s BPI, while Charlotte, the seventh seed in the East, has only a 44.8% chance according to the model.

The Pistons Have the Easiest Path to the Postseason

After a disappointing December and January, the Pistons rebounded in February, winning four of their last five prior to the All-Star break.

While most of the teams around them stood pat at the deadline, Detroit made a pair of savvy moves acquiring Thon Maker and Wayne Ellington, who should help address their defense and outside shooting woes.

They allow the ninth fewest points in the league and have the sixth easiest schedule remaining. Just 12 of their final 26 games are against teams with an above .500 record, and five of those 26 are against bottom feeders in the East (Atlanta, Chicago and Cleveland). Given their favorable schedule down the stretch, this is not a team I’d target to miss the playoffs.

The Heat Are Checking Out

Miami on the other hand is a different story. They limped into All-Star weekend losing six of their past eight and have one of the league’s most challenging schedules ahead of them.

Their remaining games include two contests against the Bucks, Raps, Celtics, and Nets, in addition to contests versus the Warriors, Thunder, Sixers and Rockets.

18 of Miami’s final 26 games are against teams currently holding playoff seeds, and nine of their final 13 overall are on the road.

That kind of schedule would be treacherous even for an elite team, let alone one teetering on the edge of the postseason bubble. A +100 price tag on Miami to miss the playoffs seems like a steal.

The Magic Are Poised to Make a Move

While the Heat’s schedule may doom their postseason hopes, another south Florida team is set to benefit from theirs. The Orlando Magic, who sit half a game behind the Pistons for the eighth seed, have the softest remaining schedule of the five East teams vying for the final three playoff spots.

They’ve won five straight, and seven of eight overall, including victories over four teams ahead of them in the standings (Charlotte, Brooklyn, Indiana, and Milwaukee). Just eight of the Magic’s final 23 games are against teams with a winning record, including a stretch of seven straight against opponents who are below .500.

Their -135 price tag to make the playoffs feels a bit short, but it offers by far the best value if you’re looking to back a team currently outside the postseason picture.

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