Bulls, Lakers Now NBA Favorites

With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich


For much of the season, it was generally assumed that either San Antonio or the LA Lakers would represent the Western Conference in the NBA championships...and that either Boston or Miami would represent the Eastern Conference.

The Chicago Bulls have been so dominant in recent weeks though, led by strong MVP candidate Derrick Rose and a great defense, that many stores are now listing Chicago as the favorites to win the Eastern half of the brackets. If they're not favorites, they're in a dead heat with Miami. Boston has fallen off the pace because of poor recent form and a lack of depth.

The Lakers have also been dominant, though a recent three-game slide dropped them from 17-1 to 17-4 since the All-Star Break. Some are thinking the Lakers backed off on purpose so they could be in the easier part of the Western brackets. The market sure believes that. The Lakers are now as high as -150 or so to win the West, meaning you have to lay odds to take them. I know some sharps who were seriously investing in the Lakers to win the West and the league championship once they started showing their best stuff right after the Break.

San Antonio has looked much more human in recent days too. That six-game losing streak convinced many sharps I was talking to that the Spurs were good enough to beat bad teams like a drum in the regular season, but not good enough right now to take out the Lakers in games that really mattered.

Everybody else? The market says they don't matter!

There's respect for teams like Oklahoma City and Denver, but sharps don't believe either is capable yet of dethroning the Lakers in the West. Dallas is seen as a pretender, particularly by anyone who watched their two recent losses to the Lakers. Sharps will like some of the lower division teams in the West on a per-game basis at value prices. But, in terms of "futures" bets, you're just not getting true value on longshots who have little chance to play in the finals anyway.

In the East, Orlando is going to have to prove themselves after a lackluster few weeks. Nobody out here trusts Atlanta, New York, or Philadelphia to go deep. Maybe, whoever plays Boston will get some support.

I'll put together some market ratings like we did for the college tournaments here in the NBA when the playoffs are ready to begin. That's tough to do now because lines are jumping all over the place based on injuries, rumors about who cares and who doesn't, and how different coaches are handling a rash of back-to-back spots. It will be easier for you to think about series prices and futures prices once you have those solidified ratings in hand.

I'll be playing some NBA games for my clients this weekend. There are five games Saturday Night that offer some interesting possibilities. Seven of the 10 teams in action won't be in the playoffs. Sometimes the BEST value late in the season comes in these games if you can figure out who's trying and who's just going through the motions. I talked about the frustrations some bettors and oddsmakers are having with that issue this week. It's going to be a really big deal Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday's nine game-schedule has FIVE games matching playoff teams, including Chicago/Orlando and Boston/Miami on ABC, plus New York/Indiana and Oklahoma City/LA Lakers on the NBA Network (New Orleans/Memphis is the other one). Maybe what happens in a few of those games will alter the futures prices just a bit. I can tell you already I'll have one of my biggest releases this season in one of those four TV games. The perfect way to build your bankroll for the NBA Playoffs is to make some money with your friend behind the line this weekend.

You can purchase my BEST BETS online with your credit card each and every day. Selections go up a few hours before the first game. You can also purchase monthly or seasonal packages as well. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-877-822-2276. I won't be able to talk to you personally because of my work as Sportsbook Director and Head Oddsmaker at Cal-Neva. One of my assistants will be happy to help you out.

It pays to have a friend smack dab in the middle of the legal sports betting markets. That's why the best information will always come to you DIRECT FROM NEVADA!


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