We are all set with the Conference Finals matchups in the NBA. It is the Los Angeles Lakers against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference. The Miami Heat will take on the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference.
Current Prices (Market Average)
Denver Nuggets to win Western Conference (-150)
LA Lakers to win Western Conference (+130)
Boston Celtics to win Eastern Conference (-550)
Miami Heat to win Eastern Conference (+400)
To Win The NBA Title Prices
Boston Celtics (+110)
Denver Nuggets (+240)
LA Lakers (+325)
Miami Heat (+1,500)
Western Conference Analysis
The Lakers barely made it into the playoffs. They then needed a big comeback and overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in their play-in game to earn the 7th spot in the playoffs. Los Angeles is absolutely peaking at the right time. The trade deadline deals made by the front office were spectacular. De’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Jarrod Vanderbilt, and company have really helped with team depth and the defense has gotten even better than it was in the middle of the season. I’m of the opinion that the Lakers regular season record means absolutely nothing right now. The key to the series in my opinion is Anthony Davis. Can he be consistently great? He is a matchup nightmare for everyone, and his length on the defensive end completely changes games. Davis isn’t as consistent as some other stars, and he is vulnerable to injuries. The Lakers need him to be at his best consistently.
The Nuggets have a chip on their shoulder believing that people don’t respect them despite them being the #1 seed for almost the entire season in the Western Conference. Nikola Jokic makes this offense hum on all cylinders with his tremendous play making and passing ability. Can the Nuggets do what the Warriors couldn’t and figure out this Lakers defense? The key for Denver is Jamal Murray being elite in this series.
Eastern Conference Analysis
The Boston Celtics got all they wanted and more from the Philadelphia 76ers. The Miami Heat frankly weren’t very good in the regular season, but they have a couple key things working in their advantage in this series. First, Erik Spoelstra gives them a clear coaching advantage in this matchup. Second, Jimmy Butler has consistently been on a completely different level in the playoffs compared to the regular season.
On the other side, Boston is a much deeper team with far more scoring options than the Heat. Boston should win this series, but I do think the price is a little too steep at -550. Boston isn’t playing as well as they were last season, but I think they are still being priced the same way.
I bet the Lakers at +1,000 to win the NBA Title a few weeks ago. I think the Nuggets/Lakers series is a total coin flip. The Nuggets have a great home court advantage, but LeBron and company have a big postseason experience advantage. I think Denver -150 is too high of a price.
On the surface, Miami +1,500 seems like a good price given that they are just two rounds away from winning the whole thing. Still, it is hard to imagine a team with as many glaring weaknesses as the Heat winning the title. Their lack of depth and consistent scoring threats are likely to make them fall short. Boston is even money or so many places to win the title. I can’t bet them at such a high price. The Celtics have the most talented roster left in the playoffs, but that alone isn’t always enough.