NBA Futures (2/18/14)

By John Ewing
After 50,000 simulations of the NBA Playoffs we find value in basketball futures: NBA Championship and conference odds. Odds courtesy of


To set up our NBA Playoffs we used our rest of season projections and simulated the playoffs 50,000 times to determine our most likely champion. To read the breakdown click here.
To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the NBA Championship and compare that to our projected odds that they win the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. For example, Miami is listed at 9/4 to win the championship, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Heat they would need to win it all 30.8% (which is 4/(9+4)) of the time. We project Miami to win it all 10.6% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at 9/4 odds.
NBA Finals Value Bets
Indiana Pacers (40-12, 1st in Central)
Current odds: 5/2, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 28.6%
Indiana wins the NBA Finals 47.9% of the time
They say defense wins championships; that is good news for the Pacers who are No. 1 in defensive efficiency. Just how good is Indiana? If they were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference they would still be our most likely champion.
San Antonio Spurs (38-15, 1st in Southwest)
Current odds: 11/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 8.3%
San Antonio wins the NBA Finals 8.9% of the time
The Spurs are battling injuries to key players including Manu Ginobili (hamstring), Kawhi Leonard (hand), and Tony Parker - day-to-day with a hand and back injury. Despite the injuries, San Antonio is No. 7 in offensive and No. 5 in defensive efficiency. Greg Popovich will have the Spurs rested and ready for a deep playoff run.
Conference Value Bets
Oklahoma City Thunder (43-12, 1st in Northwest)
Current odds: 7/5, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 41.7%
OKC wins the Western Conference 42.9% of the time
Hot topic - Has Durant passed LeBron? In terms of the MVP, Durant is LeBron’s superior as the odds on favorite. With possibly the best player in the league, Oklahoma City has opened a comfortable lead in the race for the No. 1 seed in the West. What is scary is that the Thunder have only had Russell Westbrook for 25 of their 55 games, they expect to get their starting point guard back this week.
Toronto Raptors (28-24, 1st in Atlantic)
Current odds: 40/1, Odds needed in order to place a wager: 2.4%
Toronto wins the Eastern Conference 5.3% of the time
  • The Good: Toronto is marching towards an Atlantic Division title
  • The Bad: The Raptors are a combined 1-5 against Indiana and Miami this season
  • The Ugly: Toronto has never reached the conference championship
This is a long shot, what did you expect?
Additional Value Bets: Indiana and San Antonio
Below are the odds for each team to win the NBA Championship and respective conferences. Plus, odds needed to place a wager and our projected odds for each team.

NBA Championship Odds

Team NBA Championship Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Heat 9/4 30.8% 10.6%
Pacers 5/2 28.6% 47.9%
Thunder 13/4 23.5% 21.6%
Clippers 10/1 9.1% 3.7%
Spurs 11/1 8.3% 8.9%
Rockets 16/1 5.9% 3.5%
Warriors 18/1 5.3% 0.9%
Trailblazers 18/1 5.3% 0.4%
Nets 50/1 2.0% 0.0%
Mavericks 66/1 1.5% 0.5%
Bulls 75/1 1.3% 0.1%
Raptors 75/1 1.3% 1.3%
Suns 100/1 1.0% 0.3%
Wizards 100/1 1.0% 0.1%
Hawks 150/1 0.7% 0.2%
Bobcats 500/1 0.2% 0.0%

Eastern Conference Odds

Team East Conf. Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Heat 4/5 55.6% 22.2%
Pacers 1/1 50.0% 68.9%
Nets 20/1 9.5% 0.4%
Bulls 33/1 2.9% 1.0%
Raptors 40/1 2.4% 5.3%
Wizards 50/1 2.0% 0.5%
Hawks 66/1 1.5% 1.4%
Bobcats 200/1 0.5% 0.2%

Western Conference Odds

Team West Conf. Odds Odds Needed Projected Odds
Thunder 7/5 41.7% 42.9%
Spurs 9/2 18.2% 23.3%
Clippers 5/1 16.7% 12.2%
Rockets 13/2 13.3% 11.5%
Warriors 15/2 11.8% 3.7%
Trailblazers 15/2 11.8% 2.2%
Mavericks 33/1 2.9% 2.5%
Suns 50/1 2.0% 1.8%