How Have NBA Pundits Fared In The First Round Of The Playoffs?

Most of the NBA's first-round playoff series are shaping up to be hotly contested matchups, so let's check in to see if the "experts" had them pegged right.

The early answer is no, at least on the competitiveness front. We are tracking 29 pundits from ESPN.com, Yahoo, and CBS, and it turns out that the expert class bet big on the Round 1 favorites. Here is a breakdown of all the matchups, with both the Vegas odds for each series as well as the percentage of pundits who picked each team and the average number of games they forecast.

TeamVegasPunditsGames
Clippers77%100%6
Warriors23%0%
Pacers82%100%5
Hawks18%0%
Heat92%100%5
Bobcats8%0%
Nets54%66%6
Raptors46%34%
Bulls63%96%6
Wizards37%4%
Spurs84%100%5
Mavericks16%0%
Thunder76%93%6
Grizzlies24%7%
Rockets65%78%6
Blazers35%22%

The biggest surprise so far is that all but one of the pundits (ESPN's Michael Wallace) picked the Bulls to beat the Wizards, despite it being a 4 vs. 5 matchup and Vegas giving the Wizards a 37 percent chance. The experts predicted Mavericks-Spurs to be a rout, with only Wallace predicting that the series would last more than five games (he had the Spurs winning in six). Similarly, all but two of the pundits (Kevin Arnovitz and David Thorpe) picked the Thunder over the Grizzlies (Vegas gave the Grizz 24 percent odds), while the entire group picked the Clips over the Warriors (23 percent odds). The pundits mostly picked the Pacers in five or six games.

We will see how all the series shake out in the coming week, but whether or not the underdogs win, the pundits clearly whiffed on how competitive the first round would be.

For a recap of all the preseason predictions of the NBA pundits, see our previous post. If you'd like to place your own predictions on the next head coaches of the Knicks, Thunder, and Pacers, see our NBA page.


Originally published on PunditTracker.

PunditTracker's mission is to bring accountability to the prediction industry by cataloging and scoring the predictions of pundits.