As sports bettors shift their focus from football to basketball, here are some pro tips on wagering on the NBA after the All-Star break.
The Celtics are the 3-1 favorites at the Westgate SuperBook to win the NBA title, followed by the Suns (+425), Bucks (5-1) and Nuggets (+625). But SuperBook NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said the value lies in teams with double-digit odds.
He recommends the 76ers and Clippers at 12-1.
“Before the season, I was liking the Clippers,” he said. “I still do like a healthy Clippers team. They could make some noise in the playoffs.
“I’d stay away from teams that are so short, like Denver. You could’ve got them at 20-1 before the season, so you’d be buying them at the low point, especially since the West has toughened up after (Kevin) Durant and (Kyrie) Irving headed West.”
The defending NBA champion Warriors have struggled without injured star Stephen Curry and are clinging to the No. 9 play-in seed. But VSiN NBA analyst Jonathan Von Tobel believes Golden State is worth a wager to win the Western Conference at 10-1 odds at Circa.
“It would seem that their hopes of repeating are faint, but there is still plenty to be hopeful about,” said Von Tobel (@meJVT). “Curry has missed 21 games this season, and he will miss more, but this team is still elite when he plays.
“The market has dipped on Golden State’s odds to win a title, but perhaps by too much. This is clearly still a formidable group that is capable of beating any team in the Western Conference, and (10-1) to win the West is a price worth investing in.”
ESPN sports betting insider Doug Kezirian likes the Pacific Division to cash a prop at Caesars Sportsbook on the division to win the NBA title. The Pacific is the +175 favorite over the Atlantic (+215).
“It incorporates the Suns and the Clippers,” said Kezirian (@DougESPN). “On paper, the Clippers are a great team. The Suns have question marks. But if they make it through, they’re definitely going to be favored in the finals.
“This also includes a Curry return to the Warriors. The Kings are going to be playoff bound, and I think the Lakers have a decent shot to make it. It gives you a lot of bullets. You really just have to fade Denver in the West because I don’t think Memphis or Dallas is going to make the finals.”
Durant will reportedly make his Suns debut Wednesday against the Hornets. Von Tobel recommends fading Phoenix down the stretch, as it probably will have fewer than 20 games to acclimate Durant to its system before the playoffs.
“That is little time for a team the betting market has deemed the second-most likely NBA champion,” he said. “When trades like this happen, the betting market tends to overreact, and this is certainly one of those instances.
“Look for the Suns to be one of the more overvalued teams in the final two months and bet accordingly.”
All over for Dallas
Von Tobel also recommends betting the over on Mavericks games when Irving and Luka Doncic are in the lineup.
“The tandem has been everything we expected it to be on offense,” he said. “The sample size is just two games, but it confirms what most thought was going to be the modus operandi of this team: little defense and high scores. Those two contests saw 506 total points scored, and not surprisingly both games went well over the closing totals.
“Don’t expect the scoring to stop anytime soon in Mavericks games.”
Bettors back Lakers
Kezirian likes the Lakers to make the play-in tournament and go over their adjusted win total of 39½ at Caesars. He also recommends backing them down the stretch.
“With all the pieces the Lakers added at the deadline, I really like the team and how they all fit,” he said. “They got rid of the drama with (Russell) Westbrook and (Patrick) Beverley and added good complements to LeBron, as opposed to the previous roster.
“Their defense has extreme length, and that’s going to be a determining factor because their offense will click.”
Sherman said bettors continue to load up on the Lakers. They’re a six-figure liability at the Westgate and 30-1 to win the title.
“They should be higher than that,” he said. “We have them short because we have liability.”
Don’t sleep on Brooklyn
Sherman recommends backing the Nets the rest of the way.
“With the trades they made, they got rid of the drama,” he said. “They’ve got the young talent from the Suns to go with the young talent on the Nets. They’re going to be very competitive down the stretch.”