The Denver Nuggets are favorites to win the 2023 NBA Finals at -200 odds
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NBA Finals Betting News
NBA Finals Betting and Odds
Magic, Kareem, and the Showtime Lakers. Bird, McHale, and the Celtics. The Bad Boys of Detroit. MJ and the Bulls. Kobe’s dominance, LeBron’s perennial championship contention, and the three-point wizardry of the Warriors that has changed how basketball has played. The NBA Finals are basketball’s premier showcase for superstars to stake their claim on legendary status.
The basketball world comes together for the NBA Finals—even the most casual fan tunes in to see who will be crowned basketball’s kings. Each June, the NBA’s two most battle-hardened and time-tested teams clash in a best-of-seven-series—and novice and veteran bettors alike can all be a part of the excitement.
NBA’s Biggest Rivalries
The NBA Playoffs and Finals are well-noted for their rivalries. Since 1984, the NBA has used a 16-team format that divides the Western Conference and Eastern Conference teams during preliminary rounds, with the conference champions meeting in the finals. This format creates tense rivalries, as conference opponents have already met multiple times throughout the season.
In basketball, familiarity can breed contempt. The 1990s saw intense and physical battles between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, as well as the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. The early 2000s witnessed battles between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs that felt like war. However, these were all conference matchups. In more recent years, the NBA has had some of its most intense series occur in the finals, putting its stars on center stage.
The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers met in the finals for four consecutive years from 2015 to 2018. While the Warriors won three of these four series, each were hotly-contested battles. The 2016 finals, won by Lebron James and the Cavaliers, saw the Cavs come back from a three-games-to-one deficit for the first time in NBA Finals history.
Qualifying for the NBA Finals
The NBA’s playoff structure has seen its share of evolution over the last 20-plus years. After moving to a 16-team, four-round structure, the NBA initially shortened best-of-five first-round matchups. In 2003, that first-round matchup was extended to seven games.
In 2020, an abbreviated season affected by the Covid-19 pandemic saw the addition of play-in games to determine the final seed of each conference. This evolved in 2021, when the top six teams in each conference automatically qualified for the playoffs, while teams seeded seven through 12 participated in a tournament to earn the final two seeds in each conference.
Regardless of these changes in preliminary structure, the NBA’s top teams still must win a minimum of three best-of-seven series to reach the NBA Finals.
NBA Finals Odds: Point Spreads and Lines
Spread bets place a margin by which a favored team will beat its opponent. A negative spread indicates that team as the favorite, while a positive spread indicates that team as the underdog. Spread bets are typically placed on a game-by-game basis throughout an NBA Finals series. For example, if the Los Angeles Clippers face the New York Knicks in the NBA Finals, the spread for game one might read as:
If you bet on Los Angeles, the Clippers would need to beat the Knicks by 15 points or more for you to win your bet. Even if the Clippers won, but it was by 14 or less, you would not win that bet; it would factor the same result as a New York victory.
Moneyline bets give you the option of choosing a victor of each game, as well as the NBA Finals odds for the whole series. Your payout would be determined by the odds of your chosen victor. The odds on a moneyline bet are formatted to indicate how much you will be returned on a $100 wager. If you choose the New York Knicks to win the championship with odds of +200, a winning wager would return you $300 (your original $100 bet plus the +200 odds).
Over/under bets give you the opportunity to bet on the combined point total between both teams at the final buzzer. If the over/under for a game between the Clippers and Knicks is 225, and you bet the over, the two teams involved would need to combine for 226 points or more to win that bet. Think they’ll have a slow-paced, physical game? Think it will be a rough shooting night? You would take the under and hope the teams combine for 224 or less.
Prop bets add a layer of fun to the NBA Championship odds wager experience. Prop bets allow you to bet on specific outcomes and occurrences throughout the finals. Will Draymond Green foul out? Will Paul George get a technical foul? Will Damian Lillard set a finals record for most three-pointers made?
Prop bets typically have a yes-or-no outcome and give you the chance to track more than just the wins and losses of your favorite team.
A parlay bet on the NBA Championship odds is a bet on multiple outcomes but requires each of those outcomes to occur for a payout. For example, if you bet $100 for the Clippers to cover the spread and a prop bet for two players to receive technical fouls in the same quarter, both events would need to occur for a payout. For parlay bets, you can include a variety of bets on one ticket—spreads, moneyline bets, and props can all be pulled together into a parlay bet.
While the payouts for a parlay bet can be substantial, all conditions have to be met to win.
Check out our basketball betting guide to learn more about how to bet on the NBA or any other basketball competition.