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Breaking Down Every NBA Team’s Playoff and Lottery Odds

Welcome to The Ringer’s NBA Odds Machine for the 2020-21 season. Based on team strength as measured by point differential—a historically strong predictor of future success—with adjustments for individual wrinkles like injuries and schedules, the Odds Machine includes four main features: postseason odds (including each team’s likelihood of making the playoffs and winning the title), lottery odds (for the top pick and a top-five pick), odds for reaching the play-in tournament, and the most likely final standings for each conference. The Odds Machine will update every day until a champion is crowned, so be sure to check back throughout the coming months as the league’s best teams battle for a title.

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Before this postseason starts in full, each conference will host three play-in games. The top six teams in each conference automatically will advance to the playoff bracket—but nos. 7, 8, 9, and 10 will all participate in the play-in round. Which teams are most likely to compete in this new showcase? (Only teams with at least a 1 percent chance are included here. The four teams in each conference in bold are most likely to qualify.)

Eastern Conference Play-In Odds

Team Odds
Team Odds
Celtics 100%
Hornets 100%
Pacers 100%
Wizards 99%
Bulls 1%

Western Conference Play-In Odds

Team Odds
Team Odds
Warriors 100%
Grizzlies 100%
Spurs 100%
Lakers 69%
Trail Blazers 28%
Mavericks 3%

Breaking Down Every NBA Team’s Playoff and Lottery Odds

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

The 2021 NBA draft is loaded at the top, with Cade Cunningham and a handful of others projecting as franchise cornerstones. Accounting for the simulated final standings, lottery odds, and pick trades, what are your favorite team’s chances of landing no. 1, or a top-five selection? (Only teams with at least a 1 percent chance of getting a top-five pick are included here.)

Lottery Odds

Team No. 1 One Top-5 Pick Two Top-5 Picks
Team No. 1 One Top-5 Pick Two Top-5 Picks
Pistons 14% 72% 0%
Magic 14% 71% 0%
Rockets 14% 52% 0%
Thunder 13% 59% 23%
Cavaliers 11% 46% 0%
Timberwolves 9% 28% 0%
Raptors 8% 32% 0%
Bulls 6% 26% 0%
Pelicans 4% 18% 0%
Kings 4% 16% 0%
Wizards 1% 6% 0%
Spurs 1% 6% 0%
Pacers 1% 5% 0%
Hornets 1% 4% 0%
Warriors <1% 11% 0%
Grizzlies <1% 1% 0%
Celtics <1% 1% 0%

Breaking Down Every NBA Team’s Playoff and Lottery Odds

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

The below chart shows the average win total for every team, as well as each team’s likelihood of qualifying for the playoffs and winning the 2020-21 title. We’re simulating the rest of the season—and postseason—every day, so check back daily for the latest projections.

Playoff Odds

Team Average Wins Playoffs Title
Team Average Wins Playoffs Title
Jazz 52 100% 40%
76ers 49 100% 15%
Clippers 49 100% 13%
Bucks 46 100% 11%
Suns 50 100% 8%
Nets 48 100% 5%
Nuggets 47 100% 2%
Mavericks 42 100% 1%
Hawks 41 100% 1%
Knicks 40 100% 1%
Trail Blazers 41 95% 1%
Lakers 41 89% 1%
Heat 40 100% <1%
Celtics 36 80% <1%
Warriors 38 53% <1%
Grizzlies 38 52% <1%
Hornets 34 48% <1%
Pacers 34 39% <1%
Wizards 33 33% <1%
Spurs 34 11% <1%
Pelicans 32 <1% <1%
Kings 31 <1% <1%
Bulls 31 <1% <1%
Raptors 28 <1% <1%
Timberwolves 23 <1% <1%
Cavaliers 22 <1% <1%
Magic 21 <1% <1%
Thunder 21 <1% <1%
Pistons 21 <1% <1%
Rockets 16 <1% <1%

Interested in the juiciest potential matchups in the first round, or your favorite team’s path to the Finals? These charts show the most likely final standings in each conference, based on today’s simulations. Start planning your brackets!

Eastern Conference Most Likely Seedings

Seed Team
Seed Team
1 76ers
2 Nets
3 Bucks
4 Hawks
5 Knicks
6 Heat
7 Celtics
8 Hornets
9 Pacers
10 Wizards


Western Conference Most Likely Seedings

Seed Team
Seed Team
1 Jazz
2 Suns
3 Clippers
4 Nuggets
5 Mavericks
6 Trail Blazers
7 Lakers
8 Warriors
9 Grizzlies
10 Spurs
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