NBA Futures Betting: How To Pick A Championship Winner
The NBA has just crossed the midway point of its regular season schedule. At this stage, the playoff cream is rising to the top while the also-rans are starting to settle at the bottom of the standings.
When the regular season started, all 30 teams were theoretically in the running for the NBA title. Fast-forward just over three months, that number has been reduced to about a dozen.
For those thinking about wagering on a team in the Futures market to win the NBA Championship, let’s take a look at where things stand and where the value might lie.
Odds to Win NBA Championship
Before devising a plan for selecting a possible NBA Champ, a look at the current odds is in order. We are using the ones offered by Caesars Sportsbook. Similar lines will be available with BetMGM, DraftKings, PointsBet, BetRivers etc. but there is enough variation that shopping around is worthwhile.
Here are the aforementioned dozen teams that still have a shot at the title:
At first glance, there appears to be a decent amount of betting value on the board. Of course, that’s assuming you believe the Boston Celtics are vulnerable.
On the other hand, the Celtics do look very much like the best team in all of basketball. They appear to have taken a step forward from last year when they lost in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors.
Meanwhile, the Warriors look like a team that is another year older and on the wrong side of their prime.
If you do have a sense the Celtics are beatable, you still need solid reasons to justify going against them and the smart money.
Criteria for Selecting Possible NBA Champ
Unlike baseball and basketball, there isn’t a lot of parity right now in the NBA. By this point in the season, the best three or four teams have revealed themselves. It’s hard to argue against the Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks in the East and the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies in the West.
The first criterion you should be analyzing is injuries. You always have to be cautious of rosters with injuries to key players. Also, you need to consider currently injured players who could join their team’s roster later in the season, giving the team a big boost in the process.
As a case in point, SG Klay Thompson of the Warriors was injured for a year before he rejoined the team after the midway point in the 2021-22 season. It mattered and the Warriors went on to the title.
There are two teams that could get a huge boost from players healing and getting back on track. In the East, SF Kris Middleton of the Bucks could return his team back to 2020-2021 glory when they won the title. In the West, the Suns have been struggling of late with SG Devin Booker and PG Chris Paul on the sidelines. If they get healthy, the Suns can make a run.
Been There, Done That
The other criterion that is most relevant is looking at teams with playoff experience. That’s where the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets warrant watching.
The Grizzlies are very young but gained a lot of valuable experience with a big playoff run last year. They are better now.
The Nuggets have the NBA’s MVP two years running and a favorite to win it again. That would be Nikola Jokic. The best shooting team in the NBA has depth and talent enough to make noise in the playoffs.
A final thought: if you can’t decide between several contenders, simply pick the one with the best odds and take your chances on a bigger payout.
We like the Nuggets at +700.