NBA Value Bets (05/18/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
NBA Playoffs – Conference Finals Value Bets. Odds courtesy of

The conference finals are upon us and the NBA is down to its Final Four. The Golden State Warriors are the oddsmakers favorites to win the championship but is there any value in backing the Dubs to win the title?

Below we look for value in the NBA Playoff odds as the postseason moves to the conference finals. We utilize our updated NBA Playoff Probabilities to find the likelihood of a given team advancing and winning the title. These odds assume that Kyrie Irving misses one game and is less than 100% in the series against the Atlanta Hawks.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the championship and compare that to our projected odds. For example, Golden State is listed at 4/7 to win the title, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Warriors they would need to capture the championship 63.6% of the time (which is 7/(4 + 7)) of the time. We project Golden State to win it all 58.4% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at 4/7 odds.

NBA Championship Value Bets

Houston Rockets
Championship Odds: 10/1, Implied Chance: 9.1%, Projected Chance: 12.6%

A week ago the Rockets were 66/1 to win the title trailing the Los Angeles Clippers 3-1 in the conference semifinals. Houston shocked the Clippers and the NBA by becoming just the ninth team in league history to overcome a 3-1 playoff deficit.

The team's reward is a conference final against the Golden State Warriors. The Dubs were the No. 1 team in our Power Rankings entering the playoffs. Golden State is the most balanced team in the league ranking second in offensive efficiency and first in defensive efficiency. The Warriors also were 4-0 against the Rockets in the regular season beating Houston by an average of nearly 13 points.

Despite facing Golden State and after the team's odds have improved dramatically following their improbable series win against the Clippers, there is still value in backing the Rockets to win their first championship since 1995.

2015 NBA Playoffs – Odds to win Championship

Team Odds Odds Needed Proj. Chance
Golden State Warriors 4/7 63.6% 58.4%
Cleveland Cavaliers 13/5 27.8% 18.6%
Houston Rockets 10/1 9.1% 12.6%
Atlanta Hawks 9/1 10.0% 10.5%

2015 NBA Finals – Exact Matchup

The most likely final is the Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. We project this matchup to occur 44.4% of the time. There is no value in betting this series to occur at 1/2 odds. There is some value in both matchups featuring Houston in the finals.

Exact Matchup Odds Odds Needed Proj. Chance
Cleveland vs. Golden State 1/2 66.7% 44.4%
Atlanta vs. Golden State 2/1 33.3% 32.1%
Cleveland vs. Houston 10/1 9.1% 13.7%
Atlanta vs. Houston 18/1 5.3% 9.9%