NBA Futures Odds and NBA Finals Betting Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 2/9/2012
It seems like the NBA season only just began, but thanks to the shortened season and the compact schedule we are already nearly halfway through the season. That means that it is a good time to check in on the NBA futures odds to see what looks interesting. (all odds are from Bovada):
Miami Heat (7/4)
The Heat are the favorites to win it all — that’s no surprise given their profile. While the price is ridiculously low with so much left to accomplish still, it’s hard to argue with what they have done so far.
They have the third best record in the league, they have lost only twice in 14 home games, they are second in the league behind Denver in scoring, King LeBron is heading to an MVP award, and so on.
There are a few reasons you could be concerned — 15 teams have allowed fewer points per game, their 7-4 road record is pedestrian, and a three-game losing streak in California in January sounded some alarms.
Still, if someone wants to make the argument that this is a championship team I couldn’t seriously argue with them. I wouldn’t bet on them at this price, though.
Oklahoma City Thunder (9/2)
To win the NBA Championship you first have to get to the finals. The Thunder have, at this point, fully established themselves as the best team in the Western Conference, and it doesn’t really seem that close.
They have the potent combination of talent, depth, chemistry, good coaching, and a favorable division that could make them hard to beat. There are threats — Kobe is always dangerous, and the Clippers are finding their stride — but this is the weakest the conference has been in a long time, and the Thunder could easily be the biggest beneficiaries of that.
The Thunder and Heat play games against each other on March 25 and April 4 that should be very informative. Until that point, though, I’m comfortable taking the Thunder at this much more attractive price compared to Miami.
Chicago Bulls (5/1)
I’ll say this up front — I think the Bulls are the best team in the Eastern Conference, and I think they will prove it in the playoffs.
Even if you think that there is a gap between them and the Heat, though, you’d have to consider this price for one big reason. The buzz around an impending Dwight Howard move is growing. New Jersey remains his most likely target, but the Bulls are gaining momentum as a possible spot for him to land. You put Howard on this team and they would become very tough to beat.
They would also plummet in futures odds, so if you have any sense that Howard could happen here then this price is a bargain compared to what it will be. Even if they don’t pull off that mega-deal, though — and I expect they won’t — they still are attractive at this price in comparison to the Heat.
Los Angeles Lakers (9/1)
Nope. I respect Kobe as much as I can respect any player, but this just isn’t going to happen. He doesn’t have enough help to beat the best teams out there, and unless he gets it this price is a joke.
The books posted this price in hopes of drawing in as much public money as they can. I sure won’t let them have my money at this price. I wouldn’t likely let them have my money at 20/1 given what we have seen from the Lakers this year.
Los Angeles Clippers (12/1)
This one is interesting. Coming into the season I was not nearly as optimistic about this team as a lot of people seemed to be. I like Griffin and Paul, but I questioned the depth and thought the excitement was a bit out of hand. M
y opinion hasn’t really changed by what I have seen, and I think his team fits well behind Miami, Chicago and Oklahoma City in the pecking order of the league.
This price is more than twice as fat as any of those other teams, though, so while I don’t believe that they are going to win I could accept the argument that this price is a decent representation of their chances. I don’t think the value is massive here, but there could be some here.
The rest of the field
My plan was to throw out a team or two that were intriguing longshots. The truth is, though, that there just isn’t one.
The league is very top-heavy right now, and if one of the five teams I listed — four really because I don’t think the Lakers are for real — don’t win it all then it would be a massive upset this year. There just aren’t other squads out there that scare me.
The Mavericks don’t look like a team that can repeat. San Antonio can’t win on the road, and you have to do that in the playoffs. Boston looks very old. Philadelphia, Indiana and Denver are massively overachieving and will come down to earth when they meet one of the elites in the playoffs. Atlanta just isn’t deep enough. Portland and Houston are also-rans. Orlando will likely blow things up before the playoffs.
There just isn’t another team good enough to challenge the ones we have already talked about unless those teams falter or have really bad luck.
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