Updated NBA Finals Futures Odds
So long to the defending champs! For the first time in his career, LeBron James experienced a first-round exit in the playoffs as the rising Suns eliminated the Lakers 4–2 in the quarterfinal round. Before that, King James’–led squads were 14–0 in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Lakers entered the playoffs with the second-highest odds to win the NBA Finals (+400), behind only the Nets (+250).
The Mavericks and Clippers' first-round series is yet to be decided. If Los Angeles knocks off Dallas, of the eight remaining teams, Utah would be the most recent team to make it to an NBA Finals, going back-to-back in 1997–98 before losing to the Bulls. Brooklyn remains as top chalk to claim the championship.
NBA Finals' futures odds have shifted drastically at FanDuel Sportsbook. The Nets' price has shrunk, from +220 to +165, heading into the second round of the playoffs. Utah has moved from the fourth-favorite to second, as its line dropped from +600 to +300. Milwaukee went from the fifth-favorite to third with a +800 to +500 move. Phoenix lost major value as its title price plunged from a +2500 seventh-favorite to the fourth-favorite at +900. The Hawks experienced the largest price drop as Atlanta opened with +10000 odds. They are down to +3500 on the NBA futures board at FanDuel.
We need the Bucks to get past the Nets, and the Jazz to defeat the Clippers, to keep our preplayoff NBA championship tickets alive. We are also adding the Suns (+900) to give us three shots at a minimum +300 profit if one of our teams cuts down the net at the conclusion of the NBA Finals. If you are jumping in now—Brooklyn looks tough to beat. Their title price will dip to a negative number if they beat Milwaukee.
NBA Finals Add: Phoenix Suns (+900) moneyline
NBA Finals Previous Picks: Utah Jazz (+600) and Milwaukee Bucks (+800)
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Eastern Conference Semifinal Series Odds
No. 3 Milwaukee Bucks (+160) vs. No. 2 Brooklyn Nets (-200)
In what may be an early Eastern Conference Final, the second-place Atlantic Division team faces the top squad from the Central Division. The Nets vs. Bucks showdown has the makings of a seven-game series. Brooklyn won the first game this season, 125–123 in New York, on Jan. 18 as 4-point home dogs. The Bucks won the final two meetings, 117–114 and 124–118, in Milwaukee and covered as -2.5 and -1.5 chalk. Brooklyn and Milwaukee have not met in the postseason since the Nets defeated the Bucks 4–2 in the 2002–03 quarterfinals. Brooklyn is the clear chalk to knock off Milwaukee.
No. 5 Atlanta Hawks (+154) vs No. 1 Philadelphia 76ers (-192)
After finishing first in the Southeast, Atlanta made quick work of New York with a 4–1 series win. The Hawks outscored the Knicks by a 520–485 margin. Philadelphia finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference and then whacked Washington 4–1 in the opening round. It was a lopsided series as the 76ers won by a 620–550 margin. Atlanta won the first meeting 112–94 as 6-point home favorites. The 76ers won the final two meetings, 127–83 and 126–104 at home and covered as 9.5- and 7-point favorites. The 76ers may be vulnerable if they don’t get Joel Embiid back at full health.
Western Conference Semifinal Series Odds
No. 3 Denver Nuggets (+172) vs. No. 2 Phoenix Suns (-215)
After knocking off the defending champs, the young Suns are rising in the West. Phoenix finished first in the Pacific Division and then eliminated the Lakers in convincing fashion. Devon Booker and Deandre Ayton led the Suns to four wins that were all by eight or more points. Denver finished second in the Northwest Division and then took down Portland 4–2 in the opening round. The Suns won the first regular-season contest, 106–103 in Denver, as 3.5-point underdogs. The Nuggets bounced back with 130–126 and 120–112 overtime wins in Phoenix. I see the Suns rising again.
No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers (+116) vs. No. 1 Utah Jazz (-136)
For the first time in the Clippers versus Mavericks first-round series, a home team finally won in the decisive Game 7. The Mavericks took a 3–2 series lead with a 105–100 win at the Staples Center on Wednesday. That was followed by the Clippers stealing Game 6 on the road Friday night and winning the series Sunday afternoon. Utah, who posted the best regular-season record, awaits Los Angeles. The Jazz lost 112–109 to Memphis before winning four straight by a 508–463 margin. Utah won the regular-season series 2–1 against the Clippers.
Atlanta vs Denver West Semifinal Series Odds via FanDuel SportsbookMore From SI Gambling: