Perfect Ten (Week of March 6th

The dust is finally settling on the trade deadline moves and the buyouts appear to be over. The NBA season is in the home stretch and making the turn for the playoffs. Let’s take a look at this week’s Perfect-Ten and the Top Five MVP Candidates.

Perfect Ten (Week of March 6th)

#10. Dallas Mavericks (+900/+2200) - The Mavs would certainly like to get past Minnesota for that sixth seed. That sets up a very winnable opening-round series with Sacramento. Strengths: Doncic and Irving are starting to gel together. Weaknesses: Are there enough ‘others’ around Doncic and Irving? Last Week’s Rank: 7

#9. Cleveland Cavaliers (+1400/+4000) - The Knicks’ recent rise has sort of hidden the Cavs’ play. This is another team that won’t be a pleasant matchup in the playoffs. Strengths: The Cavs have two top-tier isolation players in Mitchell and Garland which is critical in the playoffs. Weaknesses: The Cavs can be exploited in transition. Last Week’s Rank: 8

#8. New York Knicks (+2800/+9000) - They have now won nine straight games, including two over the Celtics. This team is likely to be a nightmare for one of the top seeds in round 2. Strengths: Quickley is emerging as a big-time player to give the team more depth. Weaknesses: Will RJ Barrett re-emerge as a high-level player? Last Week’s Rank: 10

#7. Golden State Warriors (+500/+1000) - The Champs are still here. A quick glance at the standings shows that, if the playoffs started today, it would be Phoenix vs.s Golden State in round one! Strengths: Veterans with serious playoff experience that know how to step up. Weaknesses: Can their health hold up? Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#6. Los Angeles Clippers (+650/+1400) - The Westbrook fit hasn’t been perfect but Leonard and George have continued to round into a deadly duo as of late. Strengths: The continued return to prominence of Leonard gives the Clippers arguably the best two-way duo of wings in the league. Weaknesses: Can they win on the road in the playoffs as a likely 5 or 6 seed? Last Week’s Rank: 5

#5. Philadelphia 76ers (+500/+1200) - Tobias Harris’ injury, though not major, may give the Sixers the chance to see if Maxey can return to form since being replaced in the starting lineup. Strengths: Harden is playing as well as he has in three seasons. Weaknesses: The Sixers’ bench remains painfully inconsistent. Last Week’s Rank: 6

#4. Phoenix Suns (+200/+370) - The Suns have yet to lose with Durant in the lineup and they are now the odds-on favorites to win the west. Strengths: Offensive firepower and ability to close out games. Weaknesses: Do they have enough interior defense for a rough and tough playoff series? Last Week’s Rank: 4

#3. Denver Nuggets (+350/+750) - The Nuggets will likely have the #1 seed in the West but can they stop Phoenix? Strengths: Jokic’s ability to find open men. Weaknesses: Murray’s ability to be the playoff performer of a few seasons ago. Last Week’s Rank: 3

#2. Boston Celtics (+130/+290) - The Celtics look a bit out of sorts as of late and Robert Williams III is hurt again. Strengths: Halfcourt defense and young legs. Weaknesses: Sorting out the rotation for the playoffs. Last Week’s Rank: 1

#1. Milwaukee Bucks (+190/+475) - The Bucks now have a 2-game cushion on Boston for the top spot in the East. Health will be key the rest of the way. Strengths: The Bucks continue to add veteran pieces for the playoffs. Goran Dragic is a nice playoff-tested veteran addition. Weaknesses: The Bucks have added depth but youth is lacking and injuries remain a concern. Last Week’s Rank: 2

Top-Five MVP Candidates:

  1. Nikola Jokic (-450) - The time was several weeks ago to lock in the Joker. The story has been written. First 3-peat MVP since Bird is the story now. Last Week’s Rank: 1

  1. Joel Embiid (+550) - The Suzanne Lucci of NBA MVP candidates had some legs briefly, but Embiid would need a phenomenal finish to bump Jokic out of his spot. Last Week’s Rank: 2

  1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (+650) - Giannis has become a victim of his own greatness. People yawn past his numbers despite another dominant season. Last week’s Rank: 3

  1. Jayson Tatum (+1800) - Looks like a wait til next year story for Tatum. The All-Star MVP might be a precursor for next year’s favorite to win the MVP. Last Week’s Rank: 4

  1. Luka Doncic (+2200) - Luka had the best story early in the season when he looked capable of absurd triple-doubles every night. He might be a better candidate next year if Irving stays and Doncic’s brilliance has support. Last Week’s Rank: 5

  • 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.