Sports

The Ringer’s NBA Playoff and Lottery Odds Machine

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.

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 53 100% 31%
Suns 50 100% 12%
Clippers 47 100% 12%
Bucks 46 100% 12%
76ers 48 100% 11%
Nets 47 100% 8%
Nuggets 46 100% 6%
Lakers 43 98% 3%
Hawks 38 94% 2%
Mavericks 41 91% 1%
Celtics 37 90% 1%
Knicks 35 69% 1%
Trail Blazers 40 85% <1%
Hornets 36 78% <1%
Heat 36 78% <1%
Grizzlies 38 75% <1%
Pacers 34 53% <1%
Bulls 32 26% <1%
Warriors 35 24% <1%
Spurs 33 16% <1%
Raptors 31 12% <1%
Pelicans 32 7% <1%
Kings 31 4% <1%
Wizards 27 1% <1%
Thunder 27 <1% <1%
Cavaliers 26 <1% <1%
Pistons 24 <1% <1%
Magic 24 <1% <1%
Rockets 21 <1% <1%
Timberwolves 20 <1% <1%

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 Top 5
Team No. 1 Top 5
Rockets 14% 52%
Timberwolves 14% 40%
Pistons 12% 58%
Magic 12% 58%
Cavaliers 10% 45%
Wizards 9% 39%
Thunder 8% 67%
Raptors 4% 20%
Kings 4% 17%
Pelicans 3% 14%
Bulls 3% 13%
Spurs 2% 8%
Warriors 1% 54%
Pacers 1% 5%
Knicks 1% 3%
Hornets <1% 2%
Heat <1% 2%
Grizzlies <1% 1%
Celtics <1% 1%

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.)

Eastern Conference Play-In Odds

Team Odds
Team Odds
Pacers 75%
Knicks 65%
Bulls 64%
Heat 54%
Hornets 49%
Raptors 38%
Celtics 30%
Hawks 20%
Wizards 4%
Cavaliers 2%

Western Conference Play-In Odds

Team Odds
Team Odds
Warriors 83%
Grizzlies 82%
Spurs 66%
Trail Blazers 57%
Mavericks 46%
Pelicans 32%
Kings 19%
Lakers 12%
Nuggets 1%

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

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 Celtics
6 Hornets
7 Heat
8 Knicks
9 Pacers
10 Bulls

Western Conference Most Likely Seedings

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

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