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ESPN Forecast: Who will win, sweep Round 1 of NBA playoffs?

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Who will win each NBA playoff series? Which series will go to Game 7?

Our ESPN Forecast panel predicts all eight matchups in Round 1.


(1) Rockets vs. (8) Timberwolves

Likelihood of winning series

  • ESPN Forecast: Rockets 89 percent likely to win; Wolves 11 percent

  • Basketball Power Index: Rockets (87 percent)

  • Fan panel: Rockets (86 percent)

Panel predictions and reasons to watch:

  • "The Rockets will beat Minnesota in five games. They can't be stopped -- especially by the Timberwolves!"

Game 1: Sunday | 9 p.m. ET, TNT

(2) Warriors vs. (7) Spurs

Likelihood of winning series

  • ESPN Forecast: Warriors 83 percent likely to win; Spurs 17 percent

  • BPI: Warriors (77 percent)

  • Fan panel: Warriors (78 percent)

Panel predictions and reasons to watch:

  • "Golden State has the advantage, but the Spurs, though aged and different, are still the Spurs."

  • "The Warriors, even with their injuries, should win but it won't be easy."

  • "Spurs can't beat Warriors ... without Kawhi Leonard."

Game 1: Saturday | 3 p.m. ET, ABC/WatchESPN

(3) Trail Blazers vs. (6) Pelicans

Likelihood of winning series

  • ESPN Forecast: Blazers 65 percent likely to win; Pelicans 35 percent

  • BPI: Blazers (62 percent)

  • Fan panel: Blazers (62 percent)

Panel predictions and reasons to watch:

  • "Pelicans versus Blazers will be a long one."

Game 1: Saturday | 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN

(4) Thunder vs. (5) Jazz

Likelihood of winning series

  • ESPN Forecast: Thunder 55 percent likely to win; Jazz 45 percent

  • BPI: Thunder (53 percent)

  • Fan panel: Thunder (52 percent)

Panel predictions and reasons to watch:

  • "The Jazz will give the Thunder all they can handle, and the series will be in doubt until the final minute of Game 7."

  • "The red-hot Jazz upset a Thunder team that's desperately missing Andre Roberson."

  • "OKC is only favored to beat Utah thanks to getting home-court advantage based on the craziness of the last week of the season."

  • "Jazz-Thunder = Russ + raucous home courts"

Game 1: Sunday | 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT

(1) Raptors vs. (8) Wizards

Likelihood of winning series

  • ESPN Forecast: Raptors 73 percent likely to win; Wizards 27 percent

  • BPI: Raptors (88 percent)

  • Fan panel: Raptors (76 percent)

Panel predictions and reasons to watch:

  • "Had the Wizards been better against below-.500 teams, this wouldn't be the Raptors' first-round matchup. And if the Raptors struggle at all, it will mean trouble down the line."

  • "The Wizards have advanced past the first round in three straight years. I think they are going to be an incredibly tough out for the Raptors, pushing the series to seven games."

Game 1: Saturday | 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN

(2) Celtics vs. (7) Bucks

Likelihood of winning series

  • ESPN Forecast: Celtics 63 percent likely to win; Bucks 37 percent

  • BPI: Celtics (80 percent)

  • Fan panel: Celtics (58 percent)

Panel predictions and reasons to watch:

  • "Injuries make things tough for the Celtics, but Brad Stevens crafts a game plan that limits Giannis Antetokounmpo's impact on the series and forces the Bucks' supporting cast to beat them."

  • "The Celtics are well-coached and play a team game which bodes well for playoff basketball."

  • "With the Celtics' injuries, Antetokounmpo needs to seize the opportunity to knock Boston out."

Game 1: Sunday | 1 p.m. ET, TNT

(3) 76ers vs. (6) Heat

Likelihood of winning series

  • ESPN Forecast: 76ers 69 percent likely to win; Heat 31 percent

  • BPI: 76ers (79 percent)

  • Fan panel: 76ers (69 percent)

Panel predictions and reasons to watch:

  • "The Heat aren't an ideal matchup for a young team like the Sixers."

  • "This matchup combines the intrigue of Whiteside-Embiid Instagrams with the joy of watching Ben Simmons glide past every defender who somehow thinks Donovan Mitchell should be Rookie of the Year."

  • "How Miami schemes to stop Simmons is the biggest question of the first round. Can he thrive without a jumper in a seven-game series?"

Game 1: Saturday | 8 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN

(4) Cavaliers vs. (5) Pacers

Likelihood of winning series

  • ESPN Forecast: Cavs 76 percent likely to win; Pacers 24 percent

  • BPI: Cavs (61 percent)

  • Fan panel: Cavs (76 percent)

Panel predictions and reasons to watch:

  • "Indiana's offense will give the Cavs all they can handle."

  • "I don't know what to think about the Cavs."

Game 1: Sunday | 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/WatchESPN

To join the fan panel, click here. ESPN Forecast is conducted in collaboration with The Wharton School and Microsoft Research.