Good Bet, Bad Bet: Taking a Look at NBA Playoff Futures
by George Monroy - 3/26/2013
The NBA regular season is winding down, and there is still just as much intrigue left as there was when the season first began. The Miami Heat are on a slow march toward history, the Denver Nuggets have been the best basketball team out West for over a month, and the Los Angeles Lakers’ drama is still largely unsettled.
Miami may be the favorite to win this year’s NBA title. However, there are plenty of very good basketball teams that will be around to challenge their supremacy. Now that the playoffs are only a few games away, let’s take a second to go over some NBA playoff futures in this edition of good bet, bad bet.
(All odds come from Sportsbook.ag)
Good bet: Heat vs. Spurs NBA Finals: +350
Of all the possible Finals matchups, this one has the most value. The Heat are going to win the Eastern Conference, and nothing short of a miracle will stop it from happening. The Spurs, on the other hand, are on their way toward winning the West once again, and they will have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs (except against Miami). The reason this matchup has more value than a Heat versus Thunder matchup is because the Spurs will have an easier route to the Finals than Oklahoma City will. It’s also difficult to imagine the Spurs losing to the Thunder while having home-court advantage two years in a row.
Bad bet: Heat vs. Clippers NBA Finals: +1000
The Clippers are a team that has reached contender status this season. They are currently the third seed in the West and are being led by one of the five best players in the NBA — many people expect Los Angeles to be a force in the playoffs. However, the unfortunate truth is that the Clippers are not a team that is built for the postseason. Chris Paul is the team’s only reliable crunch-time scorer, and the Clippers struggle to score points in a half-court offense. Simply put, Los Angeles’ playoff chances are severely overrated.
Good bet: Spurs to win NBA Title: +800
The Western Conference is ridiculously competitive, but the Spurs and Thunder still tower over everyone else. The main reason taking San Antonio to win this year’s title has more value than taking Oklahoma City is because the Spurs match up much better against Miami than the Thunder do. Kevin Durant and company simply cannot beat Miami in a seven-game series. San Antonio is one of the few teams to have more experience -- and better team chemistry -- than the Heat do.
Bad bet: Miami to win Eastern Conference: -500
The Heat are going to win the Eastern Conference hands down. There is really no other option. The only reason I consider Miami to win the East a bad bet is because of the price. There is no reason to tie up so much of your bankroll on a wager that will be in play for the majority of the playoffs. If you absolutely have to wager on a Miami Heat future, betting on them to win the whole thing at -140 is much better for you bankroll.
Good bet: Grizzlies to win Western Conference: +800
The Memphis Grizzlies are a team that was built specifically to succeed in the playoffs. They have two seven-footers, a shut-down perimeter defender, and a reliable offensive threat. The only thing they are really missing is a crunch-time scorer that can generate his own shot, but the team simply passes that responsibility around between its starting lineup. If any other team besides the Spurs or Thunder is going to win the Western Conference, it’s going to be the Grizzlies. Getting 8/1 on your money is an excellent wager to make.
Bad bet: The Lakers to make the Playoffs: -360
Just when you thought the Lakers had the eighth spot in the West locked up, the Dallas Mavericks start to sneak their way into the conversation. Dallas is currently a game and a half behind Los Angeles for the final playoff spot and has a huge matchup against the Lakers looming on April 2. The main reason behind Los Angeles being able to sneak into the eighth spot had more to do with the Utah Jazz completely falling apart rather than the Lakers stellar play. The Lakers are probably still going to make the playoffs, but wagering on them to do so at a -360 price is just insane.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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