There is nothing like championship odds to bring out deeper payouts. Everyone has heard the story of Leicester City paying out at 5000-1. 5000-1! You put 5 dollars down and you’d make 25,000 dollars!
The NBA bubble provides a unique opportunity where the Oddsmakers know just as little as we do about how teams will adapt to this environment. Does it favour veteran teams or rookie teams? What about teams that are terrible on the road, are these more like home games or road games? What about team chemistry (cough *Philly* cough)? Being around each other constantly can force them to work through problems or create new ones. Some players need to shoot/practice their way out of a slump, but practice time is limited in the Bubble. Most importantly, what about returning players from injury, are the trainer’s facilities and resources up to standard?
Clearly there is uncertainty and uncertainty leads to increased value in the betting lines. Lets dive in. (Odds from Oddshark)
Lakers (+250), Bucks (+250) and Clippers (+270)
I cannot stress this enough, even if you think one of these team is going to win the title, there is no value here!! These three teams are the clear the favorites to win, but neither team is head and shoulders above the other. Odds of +250 are not strong enough for four rounds of playoff victory, especially since these teams paths are likely to cross.
Boston Celtics (+1200)
Ok, now we are talking. +1200 a chance to win some real money! How many national media ‘pundits’ have we heard pick the Celtics to come out of the East? I can name 5 of the top of my head.
Looking at their roster they have star power and talent down the roster. Kemba does not have playoff experience, however this is not a traditional playoff scenario, so that may not be a factor. Tatum is already on the verge of being a top ten player, is he ready to make the jump to elite? Plus, Jaylen Brown on the other wing and Marcus Smart diving all over the court, pestering the other teams top players. On the surface this looks like good value. There is a problem though.
Lets look at there path to the title. If all the favorites win, they will have to face Philly, Toronto, Milwaukee, Either LA team. Sure Ben Simmons is hurt, but Philly has better splits with him off the court and it may actually improve their chemistry. That is a hell of a path to a title and if they pull it off I will stand and clap for them, but I will not bet on it. Even at +1200, I give them a 5% chance of making it through that gauntlet.
I feel like we could just copy and paste the Celtics paragraph above. Their path is far too difficult. They will have to beat the Jazz, Nuggets, Lakes/Clippers, East Winner. Good Luck. Yes James Harden could realistically score 60 a game and go to the line 20 times and they could out score everyone, but that is a hell of a bet that would require more than +1200. The odds seem low and are likely the benefit of enhanced national media attention. Plus, I would have to buy in completely to the small ball philosophy and I have not.
No bet from me.
Toronto (+ 900)
A two seed at +900 is intriguing to me. Lets put aside the obvious bias I have for this team and their are a few objective pros to taking this bet. First, the first round is likely to be a cake walk. Second, the Celtics will have to contend with Philly in the first round. Third, championship experience and the chip on their shoulder from trying to prove themselves without Kwahi. That is were the Pros end. Milwaukee is a very tough match up (if Giannis is on the floor) and the Lakers/Clippers will have the best player in the series.
At +900 and some personal bias, I would place a small bet here.
And. Here. We. Go.
Philly is here because they are +5000! Winning without Ben Simmons playing a single minute and Joel Embid playing well would make their off season even more confusing. That would be a very ‘Philly’ thing to do.
Brett Brown inspires no confidence from me. As far as I am concerned, two superstars and six seed is a fireable offense. However, I do like this team better without Simmons off the floor. Their shot of winning this whole thing is unlikely but as good as Houston’s chances in my opinion.
I would place a small bet here
Denver is intriguing because of their size and the three seed. They open with the Jazz. Without Mike Conley,that’s a tune up. Then a very interesting match-up with the clippers. What makes this interesting is that normally Kawhi can gaurd the other teams best player but he cannot guard Jokic, he is just too big. Kawhi will have to be on someone else. This is Jokic’s chance to step up and flash that MVP talent on the big stage.
Then the Lakers. This will be the toughest test for Denver. I like the tools Denver has on defense to help slow down AD. Stopping Lebron is another issue, but they can use their big guys to stuff the paint. Lebron are an absolute force, there is no doubt about that, but they like a consistent third option. I believe the Clippers to be thestiffer test. If they make through the Clippers, they can make it through the Lakers. All the while never having to set foot in the Staples Center.
Bol Bol has been an early revelation and we know what Jokic can do. If this team can stay consistent with the three ball and keep their big guys on the floor against small ball line-ups, they have a real chance here.
A bet on Denver is a bet on Jokic to step up and count me in! Big bet from me here!
Portland is so fun to watch. I am team Lillard, he is absolutely electric. If the game comes down to the wire, give me Portland. This guy will pull up from the logo (literally), swish it and walk away with out even celebrating. That is a man I want to bet on.
Another bonus is Nurkic being back. With Nurkic and a full season, these guys would be a 3 or 4 seed. They have momentum and an elite player. Obviously, I worry about CJ’s back (because it broken!), but I love Skinny Melo.
This is a long shot given their 8 seed. They have to go Lakers, Nuggets, Clipper East Champs. Beating Lebron, Jokic, Kawhi in succession is not only difficult, it is likely impossible.
No bet here
Sign me up for some Jimmy Butler. I Love his aggressiveness on both ends of the floor. As much as I love this team’s shooters, Jimmy’s ability to score in isolation and Bam’s defense, Milwaukee in the second round is a tough draw. That series will be a battle and I cannot see them surviving that and having enough in the tank to take out the Raptors/Celtics then the West champion.
Unfortunately, No bet from me.
TLDR: Do not sleep on the Nuggets.