NBA Title Drive
The two teams with the best records in the basketball come from the Eastern Conference. And yet neither club is favored to win the championship in NBA Futures Betting.
The Milwaukee Bucks (60-22) and Toronto Raptors (58-24) dominated the standings in the East and yet the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors, who finished the regular season at 57-25, are the odds-on favorites (-225) to capture their fourth title in five years (odds provided by Bovada).
The Bucks (+500) are the second pick in the NBA Playoff Odds, while the Raptors (+1200) are fourth. Milwaukee has won the NBA Finals once 48 years ago in 1971. The Raptors have never made it past the conference finals.
How Many Teams Make the NBA Playoffs?
The top eight teams in each conference, ranked in order by win-loss records, qualify for the playoffs. These seedings are used to create a bracket that determines the matchups throughout the postseason. Once the playoffs start, the bracket is fixed; teams are never “reseeded,” unlike in the NFL where the strongest remaining teams face the weakest teams in subsequent rounds.
The 2019 NBA Playoffs began on Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14 with four different matchups playing Game 1 in their best-of-seven series on each day.
The four winners advance to the conference semifinals with those two winners meeting in the respective conference finals. The conference champions from the East and the West meet in the NBA Finals.
NBA Future Odds Explained
Every player wants to know how much money they can win on their bets. So, how do the future odds work and what are the payoffs?
In the NBA futures, 15 of the 16 playoff teams have a plus sign in front of their odds. Only the Warriors have a minus sign, meaning they are prohibitive favorites to capture their seventh championship in the franchise’s history.
The number after a plus sign in front of the posted odds is the amount of profit a bettor earns on a $100 bet. The number after a negative sign in front of the posted odds is the amount a bettor must wager to earn a $100 profit. Let’s take a look at the top teams in each conference with their posted future odds on Bovada (regular season record in brackets):
Golden State Warriors -225
(57-25) A bettor would have to wager $225 to earn a $100 profit on the Warriors ($225 bet + $100 profit = $325 return). The Warriors, who won Game 1 against the Los Angeles Clippers (+25000), finished third overall in the regular season standings. Golden State went 3-1 against Los Angeles in the season series and has far too much firepower for their West rivals. The Clippers may win a game or two, but not the series.
Milwaukee Bucks +500
(60-22) A bettor will earn a $600 total return if the Bucks can take it all ($100 bet + $500 profit = $600 total return). Milwaukee has been the No. 1 team in the East all season. With one of the best players in the game today in Giannis Antetokounmpo and home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs, the Bucks could reach their first NBA Final in 35 years. They open the playoffs against the Detroit Pistons (+15000), who they dominated all four times in the regular season and in Game 1.
Houston Rockets +1100
(53-29) A bettor will earn a $1,200 total return if the Rockets can win their first title since 1995 ($100 bet + $1,100 profit = $1,200 total return). Houston slid to fourth overall in the West, but still remains one of the favorites to win an NBA championship. The Rockets square off against the Utah Jazz (+5500) in the opening round. These two rivals split the four regular season games with three of the games blowout victories.
Toronto Raptors +1200
(58-24) A bettor will earn a $1,300 total return if the Raptors can claim their first NBA championship in their 24-year history ($100 bet + $1,200 profit = $1,300 total return). Toronto always seems to finish near the top of the regular season standings but then struggle in the playoffs. The Raptors won 16 more games than their first round opponents, the Orlando Magic (+6000), but they split the season series and lost Game 1 of the opening round.
Boston Celtics +1500
(49-33) A bettor will earn a $1,600 total return if the Celtics can win their first NBA title since 2008 ($100 bet + $1,500 profit = $1,600 total return). Boston tied for first with the best home record in the East at 22-4. The Celtics took three of four this season against the Indiana Pacers (+7000), their first-round opponent who they blasted in Game 1. The Celtics will be without Marcus Smart for at least a month as the guard suffered a torn oblique injury in the team’s second last game.
Denver Nuggets +2200
(54-28) A bettor will earn a $2,300 total return if the Nuggets can capture their first NBA crown in the team’s history ($100 bet + $2,200 profit = $2,300 total return). Denver has three players who have never played a minute in the postseason. They face a team in the San Antonio Spurs (+4500) who have been to the playoffs for 22 straight seasons. The home team won every game in all four regular season meetings, but the Spurs won Game 1.
Philadelphia 76ers +2600
(51-31) A bettor will earn a $2,700 total return if the 76ers can win their first title since 1983 ($100 bet + $2,600 profit = $2,700 total return). Philadelphia won nine more games during the regular season than their first-round opponents in the Brooklyn Nets (+8000). It’s been 35 years since the Nets and Sixers last met in the playoffs. It was the New Jersey Nets who upset the defending champs in the first round in 1984. The Nets also scored an upset in Game 1 this year.
Oklahoma City Thunder +3500
(49-33) A bettor will earn a $3,600 total return if the Thunder can capture the NBA Finals this season ($100 bet + $3,500 profit = $3,600 total return). Oklahoma City finished four games behind its first-round opponents in the Portland Trail Blazers (+5000), but the Thunder swept the four-game season series. This is one of two opening-round series where a Top 5 offense matches up against a Top 5 defense. Portland had lost 10 straight playoff games before winning the opening game in this series.
NBA Finals Prediction
Any team winning the NBA Finals this year other than the Warriors would be considered an upset. Fans in Oakland expect nothing less than a third straight victory parade in June.
Most teams have one star or go-to-guy when the game is on the line. Golden State has three in Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Sure, the Warriors have shown signs of cracking this season, which included a four-game losing streak in November. But this is crunch time, and the Warriors have been nothing short of unstoppable the last few years.
Pick — Golden State (-225)
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you: