The NBA Playoffs are so close that basketball bettors are getting very excited. We are right in the middle of the greatest betting time of the year — as soon as March Madness is over with, bettors jump right into the NBA Playoffs. Basketball junkies are about to get an overload of sports and sports betting. The oddsmakers at Sportsbook.ag have released a set of lines on possible NBA Finals matchups we might see in June. Let’s take a look at the 10 most likely NBA Finals matchups and see which series has the best value to wager on.
10) Knicks vs. Spurs: +5000
The New York Knicks are currently the No. 2 seed in the East, and they could conceivable make it to the conference finals, where they would, of course, have to face the Miami Heat. The Spurs have a great chance at representing the West in the NBA Finals. However, this wager feels like much more than a 50/1 shot.
9) Pacers vs. Spurs: +4000
The Pacers are in the same boat as the Knicks are — they could conceivably beat Miami, but they are extreme underdogs to do so. The only reason to bet on this matchup is if you happen to be a fan of both teams and are looking for something too root for. There is very little value in this matchup.
8) Knicks vs. Thunder: +4000 (7) Pacers vs. Thunder: +3500
The Thunder are on a collision course with the San Antonio Spurs for the chance to make the NBA Finals. The deciding factor might very well be home-court advantage, which the Spurs are the odds-on favorite to get. These two matchups have just about as much value as the previous two — only make them if you are a fan of both teams.
6) Heat vs. Lakers: +1500
The fact that the oddsmakers have this matchup at only 15/1 is laughable. Sure, we would all love to see a LeBron James versus Kobe Bryant NBA Finals matchup that would be very reminiscent of the Michael Jordan versus Magic Johnson 1991 Finals. However, that would be wishful thinking at best. The Lakers are a flawed team that will be in a one-and-done playoff situation.
5) Heat vs. Clippers: +1000
Any Finals matchup involving the Heat will have some value to wager on simply because one half of the equation is already probably set. The Clippers have a chance to make the NBA Finals, especially if they can get a few favorable matchups along the way. However, the Clippers are simply not built for the playoffs and will need quite a bit of luck to make a Finals appearance.
4) Heat vs. Grizzlies: +1000 (3) Heat vs. Nuggets: +800
If any other team is going to win the West besides the Spurs or Thunder, it’s going to be the Denver Nuggets or Memphis Grizzlies. The Nuggets have been on quite a tear over the last month, and have become virtually unbeatable at home. The Nuggets have an excellent chance at making the Western Conference Finals, and from there anything can happen. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, are a team that is built for the playoffs. The team has a powerful inside game and will be able to generate points in the half-court set when the game slows down and becomes a defensive affair. Both these matchups are excellent wagers to make.
2) Heat vs. Spurs: +350 (1) Heat vs. Thunder: +220
Deciding between these two matchups is essentially a tossup. The Spurs are a better and more organized team than the Thunder are. However, the Thunder are younger and can sustain a high-level of play of much longer than the Spurs can. Essentially, this matchup boils down to experience versus youth. It’s difficult to imagine that the Thunder will roll through the Spurs without home-court two years in a row. However, when a team has Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, anything can happen. Wagering on either of these two bets would be an excellent choice, even though a Heat vs. Spurs Finals seems to have the best value.