Perfect Ten (Week of March 26th)

The Playoffs are fast approaching. The MVP race is over, hand that trophy to The Joker for the third time in four seasons. Let’s break down the top ten and how they might shape up in the playoffs. Here’s this week’s Perfect Ten.

Perfect Ten (Week of March 26th)

#10. New York Knicks (+1100/+3500) - At times this season, the Knicks have looked like the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. Brunson is a legitimate finisher and the Knicks can be tenacious on the glass. The health of Julius Randle will determine how far this team goes. They could be a first-round casualty or an Eastern Conference finalist.

#9. LA Lakers (+1800/+3500) - The Lakers rolled to the Western Conference Finals last year with a team that was less talented than this one. But, James is a year older and Davis remains an inconsistent enigma. If Russell is able to carry over his late-season success into the playoffs and key reserves like Vincent and Wood are able to return, this is an interesting team.

#8. Phoenix Suns (+900/+2000) - I have the Suns below the Mavs because I’d favor Dallas in a head-to-head series. The Suns know what they’re getting with Booker but Bradley Beal has been inconsistent this season and Durant’s health is always a concern. Beal needs to be a near 20-point scorer in the playoffs for this team to advance.

#7. Dallas Mavericks (+1300/+2800) - The Mavs might be the most intriguing team in the Western Conference. Few teams can match the combo of Doncic and Irving and the team did add some size at the deadline. They are at their best when they move the ball. Will Doncic trust his teammates enough to do so?

#6. Minnesota Timberwolves (+1300/+3000) - Minnesota has also failed to impress the prognosticators this season. They are still waiting for Karl-Anthony Towns to return and can Conley hold up against premier point guards like Fox or Booker in the playoffs?

#5. OKC Thunder (+800/+2000) - The oddsmakers still aren’t fully buying into the Thunder despite their place in the standings. They still have a good shot at the #1 seed in the Western Conference but do they have the size to win against a team like Denver?

#4. LA Clippers (+320/+600) - The Clippers are in this spot ahead of the Thunder and Grizzlies due to their experience and abundance of finishers. They had kid gloves on Leonard for half the season and now have the 2x Finals MVP clicking as the playoffs approach.

#3. Milwaukee Bucks (+310/+700) - The Bucks got Kris Middleton back but can they defend well enough to win a title? That will be the question in each series they enter.

#2. Denver Nuggets (+140/+300) - The champs may have played it perfectly this year. They didn’t try to run out and win 70 games. They paced themselves, worked through injuries cautiously, and now are once again closing in on the top spot in the conference. They are in a great position to repeat.

#1. Boston Celtics (-130/+200) - The Celtics, when they are right, are very tough to beat. Two issues as the playoffs approach: their ability to close out close games and their inconsistencies. The Celtics should be motivated and Porzingis gives them the defensive presence they need in the middle. The willingness to lean on White and Holiday late in games could carry them to the title.

We Didn’t Forget About You:

Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Sacramento Kings

The Cavs have been banged up all year and lack the cohesion to get it all together in time to make a playoff run. They could be gone after round 1 again.

The Pelicans are interesting. They have a premier forward tandem, a serviceable center, and a veteran guard that won’t be overwhelmed by the moment in the playoffs. I still think they are a year away and missing some pieces to get by anyone in the crowded Western Conference.

The Kings have fewer wins than last year but could be more dangerous. Fox and Sabonis are elite talents and they have more depth than most teams. They lack size, however, and need to rely too heavily on offense to win.

Game of the Week, Season Record 9-10: Minnesota got us within a game of .500 for the season as we hope to climb back even with a win this week.

Dallas at Houston on Saturday at 7:00 PM EST

The Rockets have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA and closed the gap to just a ½ game with the fading Warriors for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference. They have also been very good at home. Yet, I am going with the Mavericks. The Rockets do not have the guards to match up with Irving in particular and the Mavs will outscore the Rockets on the road.

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.