With the All-Star break now behind us, the race to the NBA playoffs really heats up — which makes for a perfect time to revisit NBA conference title betting futures. That’s what we’re doing in this article, dropping expert advice on who will and won’t be coming out of the Eastern and Western Conference. Stick with us if you want up-to-date betting analysis!
2023 NBA Eastern Conference Betting Picks
First things first, let’s scan the top-used basketball betting sites to gather the current odds. As it stands, these teams are favorites to win 2023 Eastern Conference championship:
The way we want to approach this bet, as well as the Western Conference, is to give you a bet to make and a bet to avoid. We’d argue the latter of which is just as important as the former. With that said, here’s what to do:
Bet To Make
Milwaukee went into the All-Star break on a 12-game winning streak, which puts them right on Boston’s heels for the number-one seed. If we had to pick one team between the two to wager on, then we’re siding with the Bucks. Here’s why: Giannis Antetokounmpo is the ultimate difference-maker.
Who remembers last year’s Finals matchup? Notice how the Celtics were missing that “killer” on the floor? In a seven-game series, you really need that player that can take over at will. Jayson Tatum has made progress toward being that, but he’s still not in the same class as Antetokounmpo, who might be the best player period. His sure-fire presence gives us more confidence in a Milwaukee futures bet here.
Bet To Avoid
Look, the Sixers have been right behind the Celtics all season long as the East’s best team. When this team is firing on all cylinders, they’re worthy bets. But that’s the thing — we don’t have confidence they can maintain that type of pace during the postseason. More than anything else, we worry injuries will derail Philly’s NBA Finals hopes.
Heck, it’s already happened to a certain extent. Its key players — Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey — have all missed chunks of time this season. Yes, they’ve managed to win despite that, but it won’t be nearly as easy in the playoffs. The 76ers need a full-strength Joel Embiid and history says that’s probably not going to happen for the oft-injured big man.
Furthermore, Philly is about to embark on a brutal stretch out of the All-Star break — 25 games in 45 days, only 10 of which are on their home floor. Injuries are most common when players are fatigued, and this stretch will almost certainly build fatigue. We’re betting an injury also pops up, which slowly chips away at their championship potential.
2023 NBA Western Conference Betting Picks
By looking at the underneath odds, you’ll quickly be able to tell the pick to be the Western Conference champion is more heated. Five different teams have odds under +1000 to take the title. Here’s where the betting lines stand:
|Los Angeles Clippers||+550||+550||+550|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+1400||+1400||+1400|
Bet To Make
So many people are hesitant to pick the Nuggets in this spot, but we’re not. To us, they’re the clear team to beat out West. Nikola Jokic is putting together yet another MVP season — in what could be his third straight. Jokic is averaging a triple-double this season with 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 10.1 assists. Oh, and the center is shooting an insane 63.2 percent from the field too.
But here’s why Denver can get over the bump this season whereas they couldn’t the past two seasons with an MVP Jokic: the supporting cast is better than ever. Jamal Murray is finally healthy again after an ACL tear, giving Jokic a much-needed No. 2 offensive threat. Offseason acquisitions — Bruce Brown Jr., Ish Smith, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — have also proved to be solid adds. Put this all together, and you have a sleeping giant of a team. Bank on them to run the table the rest of the way!
Bet To Avoid
The Suns pulled off the biggest move of the trade deadline when it acquired Kevin Durant. That creates a fierce “Big Three” along with Devin Booker and Chris Paul. But just as we said about the 76ers, good luck keeping that trio healthy — especially injury-prone players like Durant and Paul. We don’t think it’s worth the risk, certainly not at Phoenix’s current odds, which are the shortest in the conference.
How To Bet On 2023 NBA Conference Title Futures
The odds we featured in this article will change in the coming weeks and months as more regular-season games are contested. That’s why betting on 2023 NBA conference futures is something you want to get on sooner rather than later. To do just that, hit one of the “cream of the crop” sportsbooks below. We use that word because each of these sites rated highly in our newest sportsbook reviews which span much of the industry.
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