Miami Heat (+1800) to Win 2023 NBA Finals
The Miami Heat were last in the NBA finals in the COVID-bubble postseason of 2020 and are (+1800) to return to the Finals and win the championship in 2023.
Are we getting value on Miami Heat futures bets? Can the Heat contend with the Celtics or Bucks for an Eastern Conference title? Let’s take a look at the data.
Miami leveraged an excellent start to the 2021-22 regular season into an Eastern Conference regular season title.
Take a look at this chart of SU and ATS wins for the Heat last year. Miami accumulated the bulk of their wins early on and then won progressively fewer games in each month as the season wore on.
Fortunately for the Heat, nobody in the East was having a banner season and Miami was able to hold onto the top spot with only 53 wins – a total which would’ve earned a 4th-place finish in the West.
Note that Miami’s ATS win rate also slowed down as the season progressed. This indicates that the Heat were outperforming expectations early on in the season. Around Christmas time, the books got an accurate beat on what Miami was capable of and the Heat were slightly below .500 ATS in the 2nd half.
Is there Value in Betting the Miami Heat to Win the 2023 NBA Finals?
Public perception drives the futures-betting market. You’re never going to get a good price on the chalk pick to win a championship, but you can get a steal of a deal on a dark horse team that slips under the common fan’s radar.
A great indication of whether or not the public is high on a team in the preseason is to check the line movement on their full-season win total.
FanDuel Sportsbook set the 2022–23 win total for Miami at 49.5 wins at (-110) odds. The public is betting the Heat under hard – forcing the books to steam the line to (-128).
While normally this pessimism from the public would spell value for a profit-minded futures bettor, Heat futures bets should be faded entering 2022-23.
Miami has possessed the same core of Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro for a while now. The Heat have trotted out practically the same lineup for the past few years. At this point, we know what they are capable of.
Sure, Miami stormed out of the gates last year and caught us off guard, but the data shows that the books had adjusted by the time we reached Christmas.
Vegas has an excellent read on this team, meaning that the futures lines are set appropriately. When a futures line is set appropriately, it is always going to be a -EV play.
Futures bets are some of the most heavily juiced bets that the books offer. You need to find big discrepancies to have an edge on a futures bet, and there are none to be found on the Miami Heat futures page this fall.
Philadelphia 76ers (+1600) to Win 2023 NBA Finals
The source of so many memes – the Philadelphia 76ers.
What this franchise has put poor Joel Embiid through is criminal. The Cameroonian-born center is easily a top-5 player in this league and yet the Sixers have not advanced farther than the Eastern Conference Semifinals since Embiid landed on the scene.
Failing to win big games was not Embiid’s fault last year and has never been Embiid’s fault. Vegas is so high on Joel Embiid right now. He is the only player on FanDuel Sportsbook with minus odds to average 30 points or more per game in 2022–23.
You can get him right now at (-125). He put up 30.6 per game on 50% shooting last year.
Player props are the softest lines offered by sportsbooks. Evidence of this is the fact that limits for prop bets are lower than those for spreads or totals. The books know this is where they are weakest.
For years, the media and fans blamed Ben Simmons – probably for good reason – as the hindrance to Philly’s postseason success. The Markelle Fultz draft pick did not help “The Process”.
The Sixers sent Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets last year in an attempt to shore up chemistry on the team but in return accepted one of the most-chronicled problematic players in the league – James Harden.
Harden came over from Brooklyn in February last year and immediately clicked with Embiid (on the court, at least). Between Embiid, Harden and the rookie Tyrese Maxey the Sixers were the best team in the Eastern conference for about 2 weeks.
It did not take long before the league adjusted, the losses started piling up, the team came down from their high and they realized adding James Harden to the mix was not the cure-all for their problems.
The Sixers were able to dispose of the Raptors in 6 games in the 1st round of the playoffs, but their lack of cohesiveness was brutally exposed by the Heat in the Conference Semis.
Playing a 6-game series against one of the most well-coached and tightly-bonded teams in the entire NBA showed the basketball world just how far the Sixers still had to go to reach that top echelon of Larry O’Brien trophy contenders.
Take a look at the chart of Philadelphia’s SU and ATS wins from the season ago. Note their February dip and subsequent mini-burst in March upon the acquisition of James Harden.
Not only did the 76ers disappoint their fans but they played below Vegas expectations. You’ll see that their total number of ATS wins fell short of the .500 mark – meaning Philadelphia lost piles of money for their faithful spread backers.
The 76ers finished tied with the 2nd-best record in the East with 51 SU wins and received the conference’s 4th seed heading into the playoffs based on tiebreakers.
This year, Vegas has set the over/under win total for the Sixers 2022-23 season at 50.5 wins (-110).
The betting public is somewhat split but are leaning toward the over this fall – forcing FanDuel to steam the line to (-115).
Is there Value in Betting Philadelphia 76ers to Win the 2023 NBA Finals?
Philadelphia has two things going for them. They are a very talented team and the public is starting to lose faith in them.
James Harden is one of the greatest players of his generation and yet cannot win a ring. There are many out there who believe he does not have what it takes.
Joel Embiid is easily the most talented big man in the eastern conference and yet is receiving the exact same criticisms.
The Sixers are still young, athletic, hungry and therefore dangerous. They have the same talent as Milwaukee or Boston but none of the success.
It takes a lot of guts to bet on the team who has yet to show the ability to make a deep playoff run, but bold moves get paid off big.
There is definitely some value in the Philadelphia 76ers to win the 2023 NBA finals at (+1600).
Brooklyn Nets (+700) to Win 2023 NBA Finals
The Brooklyn Nets – the most interesting team in the NBA, hands down.
Kevin Durant is here. So is Kyrie Irving. So is Ben Simmons. Steve Nash is the coach. Sound amusing? It is – immensely.
All it took was the acquisition of a couple of future Hall of Famers for the Nets to turn from an afterthought to Eastern Conference title contenders overnight.
While recent expectations have been much higher than Nets fans are used to, the results have been about par for the course for Nets basketball over the last couple decades.
The dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have finished atop the Eastern Conference standings zero times and won just a single postseason series.
They even had James Harden with them – giving them Big-3 vibes – and couldn’t do anything. The last 2 seasons have been the worst time to be a Nets fan in the history of the franchise.
Take a look at this chart which illustrates the Nets season last year from a SU and ATS standpoint.
Recall Brooklyn’s massive losing streak which began in January and spilled into much of February.
Last season was pitiful for the Brooklyn Nets. If the East didn’t have such a down year, the Nets would’ve surely missed the playoffs as they just barely manage to claw above .500.
Brooklyn was atrocious against the spread, they couldn’t cover a line to save their life – winning just 30 contests ATS leading to hemorrhaging losses for anyone stubborn enough to keep lighting their money on fire.
We kept waiting for the Nets to get hot. We kept saying that this will be a scary team once they figure it out and get into peak form. But it never happened.
Brooklyn backed into the Eastern Conference playoffs as the 7 seed. Uh-oh, we said. This is a scary matchup for the 2-seed Boston Celtics.
Boston swept Brooklyn in 4 games and Kevin Durant averaged like … 6 points per game. It was ugly. The Nets were manhandled. They looked like a G League team.
When it came time to produce a season win line for 2022-23, FanDuel Sportsbook decided that 51.5 games was appropriate for the Brooklyn Nets. This is 7.5 games more than Brooklyn won all of last season … and they had James Harden last season.
The public has absolutely smashed under on this line. I heard there is one guy who bet over 51.5 wins, but he is asking that his name and identity be obscured for his own safety.
Is there Value in Betting Brooklyn Nets to Win the 2023 NBA Finals?
Get this, those late to party who want a piece of this under 51.5 will need to lay (-142) odds! That’s a massive lie.
Any value that ever did exist in the under 51.5 line has definitely been squeezed out. So where is there value? In the over … or for the Nets to finally win the Finals.
Durant has a ring. So does Irving. These guys have done it before and can (possibly) do it again. When the nation is abandoning ship – we capitalize. Let’s go Nets, baby!
Milwaukee Bucks (+650) to Win 2023 NBA Finals
The Bucks won the NBA championship in 2020–21, have a top-3 player in the league and are the 2nd-most likely team to win the NBA Championship this year.
Things are pretty good in Milwaukee, so is there any value in Bucks futures betting this fall?
Giannis and Khris Middleton are in their 10th season together in Milwaukee and we really know what to expect at this point.
Bookmakers have been pretty spot-on with Milwaukee lines the last couple of years as evidenced by the following chart which shows Milwaukee’s SU and ATS wins from last year.
You can see the Bucks shot out of the gate with a lot of wins in November and December but cooled down in the winter months – finally settling at 51 wins which tied them for the 2nd-best record in the Eastern Conference.
This record would’ve gotten them 5th place in the West last year but earned them the East’s 3 seed after tiebreakers – yet another beneficiary of the weak Eastern Conference.
Note how the Bucks won fewer games against the spread and they did straight up in every single month of the season. Vegas had Milwaukee pegged from Day 1.
As we mentioned earlier, Milwaukee is an excellent team but they have not shaken up their roster over the last few years. Fans know what to expect at this point. If fans know what to expect, oddsmakers with full-time analytical staff and supercomputers crunching the numbers definitely know what to expect.
Milwaukee’s season win total for this upcoming year is the 2nd-highest total in the East – set at 52.5 wins. This is an extra 1.5 wins over the Bucks record from last year.
The public is definitely leaning over. The line has steamed up to (+118) since opening at (-110) – a major movement.
Is there Value in Betting Milwaukee Bucks to Win the 2023 NBA Finals?
The Bucks have recently won, they were good last year and everybody loves Giannis. As we said before, it is incredibly difficult to find +EV situations on teams the betting public adores.
For these reasons, it is best to fade Milwaukee Bucks futures bets this fall and look elsewhere for value.
Boston Celtics (+600) to Win 2023 NBA Finals
The reigning Eastern Conference champions have been all over the sports news for the wrong reasons lately after having their up-and-coming young coach suspended for a full season.
While this scandal may change how the betting public looks at Boston, it has not affected the oddsmakers’ prices. You can still get Boston at (+600) to win the 2023 NBA Finals – the shortest odds in the association.
The Celtics play team basketball as good or better than anybody else in the league right now. Watching these Celtics move the ball around fluidly and defend as a cohesive unit brings flashbacks of prime 2010 Spurs teams under Gregg Popovich.
Take a look at Boston’s SU and ATS wins chart from last season. This will be useful in letting us know how well the books were able to predict the rise of the Boston Celtics to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Boston spun their wheels early in the season – falling down to the middle of a weak Eastern Conference with a bad December but picked up the pace in January and werre one of the best teams in the NBA from the middle of January on.
Boston was winning on the court but what about at the bookie window?
Note how early in the season – when Boston was losing games – they were still covering spreads as underdogs. The books did not believe in Boston at the beginning of the year and their non-belief was warranted as the Celtics struggle.
As the Celtics began to win games and become favored in their matchups, the books over-adjusted and began asking too much of the Celtics every night. The Celtics won a lot of games in the 2nd half of the season but many of these were ATS losses.
It appears that Vegas knew Boston was primed for big things as early as January. Oddsmakers were putting out lines as if Boston was a Finals contender when they had not reached their peak yet.
As they so often do, the sharps in Vegas proved prophetic as Boston would go on to need bigger and bigger spreads to contain their increasingly gelling play on the court.
Very few saw a sweep of the Nets coming. Even fewer saw Boston dealing Milwaukee a knockout blow in the next round. Naysayers didn’t quite have a reason why Boston couldn’t beat Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, they just thought there was no way. But it happened.
Boston defied expectations, advancing all the way to the NBA Finals and taking the Warriors to 6 games. They defied everyone’s expectations except for those of the Vegas bookies who knew Boston was good the entire time.
Vegas has set Boston’s 2022–23 win total at 53.5 wins – this is the most in the Eastern Conference. Public money has been evenly split as the line has not moved a bit since it was dropped by FanDuel Sportsbook.
Is There Value in Betting Boston Celtics to Win the 2023 NBA Finals?
Boston is a great team. They very well might go on to win the Eastern Conference again this year, but all value has been sucked out of Boston’s futures bets.
Vegas was on to how good these guys were already last season. Yeah, Jayson Tatum is amazing. Jaylen Brown is an excellent two-way player. Marcus Smart might win Defensive Player of the Year. We know all that. It’s already been priced in.
Boston is an excellent ballclub, but they are not a +EV futures bet this fall. There’s better value elsewhere.