Our contest participants were much better at predicting second round outcomes than they were at predicting first round outcomes (and we’ll have more on that at the end of the playoffs). How will they fare in the Conference Finals? In graphical form, here is how the entries for the third round of the Wages of Wins NBA Playoffs contest look:
Eastern Conference Finals
Miami Heat (#1) vs Indiana Pacers (#3)
The Pacers advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals even though a majority of our second round entries favoured the Knicks. While our participants viewed that series as being rather close — a 55-45 split is not very decisive — this series has a very clear favourite. Out of 67 entries, only three think that the Pacers will win; about 80% of participants believe that the Heat will win in five (40%) or six (39%) games. Our participants were twice as likely to pick a Heat sweep as they were to pick the Pacers winning in any amount of games. It’s safe to say that if the Pacers win, it will be an unexpected outcome.
Western Conference Finals
San Antonio Spurs (#2) vs Memphis Grizzlies (#5)
While only 40% of first round participants thought the Grizzlies would beat the Clippers, 56% of second round participants thought they would upset the Thunder. Did our third round participants complete the jump onto the ‘Grit ‘n’ Grind’ bandwagon? Not exactly. Only 36% of participants think that the Grizzlies will beat the Spurs; 33% believe that the Spurs will win in 7 games, 28% believe the Spurs will win in 6 games, and 25% believe the Grizzlies will win in 6 games. However, all but two participants believe that the series will last six or seven games (that’s 97%), so people aren’t expecting it to be over that quickly. Who would you pick in a drawn out series between the Defensive Player of the Year and one of the league’s top players?
Reminder: once the Conference Finals are finished, we’ll be posting the cumulative leaders and let you make your picks for the NBA Finals, so keep checking back!