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HEAT, LAKERS, CELTICS, SPURS
ODDS ON FAVORITES TO WIN TROPHY
This seemed like the perfect time to check in on NBA 'Futures' prices (odds to win the championship), since the Boston Celtics are visiting the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday afternoon in the first rematch since last year's championship series.
Both of those teams are about +280 to go the distance right now depending on the store. You might think that the defending conference champs would be the overall favorites to go the distance this year. Nope! LeBron James and the Miami Heat are still getting the nod at most places. I'm seeing about +190 or +200 out there for the Heat (who visit Oklahoma City in game one of Sunday's TV doubleheader).
The San Antonio Spurs currently have the best regular season record in pro hoops. The market has them grouped with the Celtics and Lakers (a step up from last year), but still behind the Heat.
ODDS TO WIN THE NBA
Miami: +190 to +200 generally
LA Lakers: +280 to +300 generally
Boston: +280 to +300 generally
San Antonio: +280 to +300 generally
Do sharps (professional wagerers) agree with those assessments?
I would say it this way. SHARPS DON'T BET FUTURES! The returns don't offer fair value for the difficulty of the accomplishment. If a sharp personally believes Miami is the best, or Boston is the best, they'll try to find a way to bet that on a game-by-game or series-by-series basis through the playoffs.
That being said, just in terms of analyzing how the teams rank, the sharps I've talked to believe that Miami is overrated because there's too much hype about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh being together, and not enough respect for what experience and playing as a team means in the playoffs. There's also no guarantee that all three players will be healthy in the playoffs. You've seen recent struggles with the Heat as all three stars have been dealing with various maladies.
Kobe Bryant and the Lakers still get respect as two-time champions. Sharps would give them the nod as the 'true' postseason favorite of the foursome because of that. But, there is clear respect for the Celtics and Lakers too because of veteran leadership and a proven track record. And, there's definite agreement that these four teams have separated themselves from the field in terms of championship potential. Sharps would be very surprised if somebody from outside that group won this year.
Let's look at the next batch of contenders:
Oklahoma City: +1350
New Orleans: +2700
New York: +5200
Though those prices might seem appealing to you, sharps would scold you harshly for placing bets at any of those prices. All of those teams have weaknesses that are going to matter in the playoffs. A bet on any of them would basically be a hope to get very lucky in a way that would have to involve injuries to the superpowers. Will Kobe get hurt? And Tim Duncan? And Paul Pierce? And LeBron James? Do any of the teams you want to take a flyer on have the experience it takes to run the table if those guys DON'T get hurt?
Interest is starting to pickup in the NBA out here in Nevada for a few reasons:
*Football is almost over.
*The Lakers are a contender, and they're the 'home' team in Vegas and Reno.
*The Clippers had a great run recently, giving us TWO local teams to root for.
*ESPN and ABC are starting to show some marquee games since football isn't blocking the airwaves.
*There's been more buzz than usual about the upcoming All-Star Weekend, and once there's buzz the bets start to follow.
*I've mentioned before that there's a media contingent with roots in Chicago. The Bulls are having a great year.
*Many in the industry have roots in Chicago or New York. The Knicks are having a resurgence this season.
If you want NBA betting to reach a peak, have top teams in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago!
I hope you're getting excited about the NBA. The majority of my daily plays right now will still be in the colleges because that's always been my favorite sport to handicap and bet. But, I do pass along my top opinions in the pro's, as well as syndicate plays from respected groups. You can sign up for these plays online, or by calling 1-877-822-2276. Game day releases go up a few hours before first tip. Full season packages have discounted rates.
A championship looks to be in the immediate future of the Lakers, Celtics, Heat, or Spurs. What's in YOUR future? Great information that can only come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!
This article is part of the VSM MASTERS SERIES presented by VegasSportsMasters.com. For more information on NICK BOGDANOVICH'S handicapping packages, call 1-877-822-2276.
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