There are just two months to go before Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Playoff, but who are the teams most likely to go the distance and reign supreme? How do the Playoff work? Who will play who? And are the current NBA Playoff odds to be believed or are they some way off the mark?

To find out the answers to all of those questions and many more, read on…

(The Denver Nuggets won last year’s Playoffs, can they do it again this time?)

How the NBA Playoff Works

16 teams qualify for the NBA Playoff with 8 teams coming from the Western Conference and another 8 from the Eastern Conference. The top 6 in each Conference qualify automatically for the Playoffs with the final 2 places on each side decided by a play-in tournament between the teams finishing 7th to 10th.

The teams currently leading the way are:

Western Conference

Minnesota Timberwolves

Oklahoma City Thunder

LA Clippers

Denver Nuggets

Phoenix Suns

New Orleans Pelicans


Dallas Mavericks

Sacramento Kings

Los Angeles Lakers

Golden State Warriors

Eastern Conference

Boston Celtics

Cleveland Cavaliers

Milwaukee Bucks

New York Knicks

Philadelphia 76ers

Indiana Pacers


Miami Heat

Orlando Magic

Chicago Bulls

Atlanta Hawks

The best placed team then plays the worst based team (and so on) over a best of 7 knockout game until the winner of each Conference is decided. At that point the winner of the Eastern and Western Conference face off against one another for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

Who will win the NBA Playoffs?

According to the latest NBA Playoff odds the 5 favourites to go all the way are:

  1. Phoenix Suns
  2. Milwaukee Bucks
  3. Los Angeles Clippers
  4. Denver Nuggets
  5. Boston Celtics

The eagle eyed of you out there will have noticed that the current top two from the Western Conference and the second-placed team in the Eastern Conference are nowhere to be seen in the NBA Playoffs odds.

Is that fair from the bookmakers? Do the Cleveland Cavaliers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder not have what it takes to go the distance? Well, probably not. Especially when you compare them to the rest of the teams in the top 5 of the betting odds.

Sure the Denver Nuggets aren’t top of their Conference but they’ve got the incredible Nikola Jokic on their roster. Likewise, the Clippers mightn’t be atop of their Conference but they have Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and seasoned point’s merchant James Harden on their roster.

That’s before we even get to the Celtics who do sit top of the Eastern Conference with a 43-12 record and an 8-2 last 10 which includes their current six game winning streak.

With Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis all in excellent form, it really is hard to look past the Celtics at this point of the season.

(The Boston Celtics are favourites for a number of reasons, chiefly their amazing offense.)

The Best Placed Outsiders

No-one likes to bet on a sure thing. It’s boring and tedious. What we all love is an outsider and an underdog, so who fills that role in this season’s NBA Playoff? Well let’s take a look at three outside bets to go all the way…

Sacramento Kings

Okay so we’ll be honest, we’ve put this one in purely to troll Sactown Sports’ Carmichael Dave, who we follow for non-basketball reasons on X.  Don’t get me wrong, the Kings have performed well this season and their ceiling is certainly a lot higher than it has been in recent years.

However, their lows still remain some way below what you would expect from a Playoff chasing team. So unfortunately for Kings fans we just don’t see it, although to see the Kings get all the way to the final and blow-up would make for excellent scrolling on X.

Chicago Bulls

Okay let’s get to the serious outsiders now. At the time of writing the Bulls are 9th in their Conference with plenty of time to climb up the rankings between now and the end of the regular season.

Whilst their current roster isn’t anything to write home about the performances of Coby White have been enough to raise the hopes of fans in recent weeks. With a fair wind behind them, a clean injury list and a bit of luck the Bulls could do well in the Playoffs.

(Coby White could propel the Bulls to the Playoffs, the question is, could he propel them further than that?)

Golden State Warriors

In recent months the word ‘Golden’ has seemed somewhat incongruous with the performances of the team on the court. Their best players look too old to compete consistently and their most exciting young players look too young to compete consistently…

That said, if they do make it into the Playoffs they do have players capable of turning back the clock and coming in clutch when it really matters. The Warriors winning the Playoffs isn’t probable but it certainly is possible.