NBA Value Bets (04/19/13)

By John Ewing

With the NBA Playoffs starting Saturday, 3 pm ET Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks, we take a moment to look for value in the future bets.

We have simulated the NBA Playoffs and the Heat are the most likely winner taking home the title 54.8% of the time. For the complete list of each team’s odds click here. Considering how dominant the Heat have been this season it is not surprising that they are such heavy favorites. Below is a comparison of the last five years of Championship Odds heading into the NBA Playoffs.

  • 2009 NBA Championship, Cleveland Cavaliers: 4/3
  • 2010 NBA Championship, Cleveland Cavaliers: 7/4
  • 2011 NBA Championship, Los Angeles Lakers: 11/4
  • 2012 NBA Championship, Miami Heat: 11/5

To further the point Kevin Bradley, Sportsbook Manager, had this to say, “The Heat have been the frontrunner all year to win the title, but to go into the playoffs as the odds on favorite at 5/8 is unheard of in recent years. Despite this high price, 75% of the bets we have taken already today have been on them which has moved the Heat down to 2/3."

Ok, so the Heat are the favorites to win and they are our most likely winner. But they only win 54.8% of the time, that means 45.2% of the time another team takes home the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. Below we look for value in the odds to win the 2013 NBA Championship as well as the odds to win each conference. We utilize our Playoff Odds to find the likelihood of a given team dancing like this.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the title and compare that to our projected odds for a championship. For example, the Lakers are listed at 40/1 to win, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on Los Angeles they would need to win the title 2.4% (which is 1/(1+40)) of the time. We project the Lakers to win it all 0.1%, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at 40/1 odds.

NBA Title Value Bets

San Antonio Spurs (58-24, 33-19 in West)

The Spurs are 0-2 against the Heat, their most likely competitor if they were to make the Finals. In the games against the Heat one featured the Spurs resting Duncan/Parker/Ginobili while the other saw LeBron and Dwyane Wade not play. Both games were competitive and decided by 5 points or less. There is value in the Spurs at 10/1 to win the title.

Below are the odds for each team.

Team Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Heat 2/3 60.0% 54.8%
Thunder 17/4 19.0% 18.9%
Spurs 10/1 9.1% 16.5%
Knicks 16/1 5.9% 2.4%
Nuggets 25/1 3.8% 0.4%
Pacers 25/1 3.8% 3.3%
Clippers 25/1 3.8% 2.3%
Lakers 40/1 2.4% 0.1%
Grizzlies 40/1 2.4% 0.6%
Bulls 60/1 1.6% 0.1%
Nets 60/1 1.6% 0.1%
Celtics 66/1 1.5% 0.0%
Warriors 100/1 1.0% 0.1%
Rockets 100/1 1.0% 0.4%
Hawks 150/1 0.7% 0.0%
Bucks 500/1 0.2% 0.0%

Conference Value Bets

Indiana Pacers (49-32, 31-20 in East)

The Pacers are the best rebounding team in the league, a major weakness for Miami. Indiana also allows the second fewest points per game. Banging the boards and slowing the game down might be the recipe for success against the Heat. There is value in the Pacers at 12/1 to win the Eastern Conference.

Additional Value Bets: Spurs 5/2 to win Western Conference. San Antonio (78.0%) is more likely to make the Conference Finals than the Thunder (63.9%).

Below are the odds for each team.

Eastern Conference

Team Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Heat 2/9 81.8% 78.4%
Knicks 7/1 12.5% 8.9%
Pacers 12/1 7.7% 10.1%
Bulls 25/1 3.8% 0.6%
Nets 28/1 3.4% 1.1%
Celtics 30/1 3.2% 0.3%
Hawks 66/1 1.5% 0.4%
Bucks 200/1 0.5% 0.2%

Western Conference

Team Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Thunder 6/5 45.5% 41.9%
Spurs 5/2 28.6% 41.3%
Nuggets 6/1 14.3% 2.6%
Clippers 15/2 11.8% 8.0%
Grizzlies 14/1 6.7% 3.1%
Lakers 20/1 4.8% 0.7%
Warriors 40/1 2.4% 0.9%
Rockets 50/1 2.0% 1.6%