On Saturday night, the Miami Heat were one-tenth of a second away from defeating the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and moving on to face the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals. Boston’s Derrick White had other ideas.
Now, it’s fair to say that the oddsmakers don’t like Miami’s chances.
The Nuggets are the only team presently in the NBA Finals. As such, it makes sense that they’d have the best odds to win out of the three remaining teams. That’s exactly the case. FanDuel Sportsbook has Denver at -130 while MGM has the Nuggets at -110. After that, it gets interesting.
Both FanDuel and MGM not only expect the Celtics to win Game 7, but give them decent odds at winning the whole thing. FanDuel has Boston at +120 while MGM has the Celtics at +115. The Heat, meanwhile, also only need to win five more games to win it all, but are seen as much more of an underdog, with FanDuel and MGM putting Miami at +1600 and +1200, respectively.
Updated odds @FDSportsbook to win the NBA Finals after Game 6📊
What's the play? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/FS9DGQaQ5S
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) May 28, 2023
🚨 UPDATED NBA TITLE ODDS 🚨
🏀 Nuggets -110
🏀 Celtics +115
🏀 Heat +1200 pic.twitter.com/WFrkHIFWxK
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) May 28, 2023
So, can we make sense of this?
Certainly, Boston having better odds is understandable. The Celtics have won three straight games over the Heat, so momentum is with them. Also, while home court advantage has not been a particular ally (Boston is 5-5 at home in the playoffs), the Celtics dominated their one home Game 7, routing the Philadelphia 76ers 112-88 in Game 7 of the second round.
Also, even if the Heat win Game 7 in Boston, the Nuggets would have home court advantage in the finals. Denver is a perfect 8-0 at home in the playoffs. Miami can’t take winning even one game at Ball Arena for granted.
So, we understand the Nuggets being the clear favorite of the remaining three teams and the Celtics being No. 2. But by that amount?
Depending on which outlet you used, a $100 bet on the Celtics winning it all would either net you $115 or $120. Conversely, putting $10 on the Heat at +1200 and +1600 earn you $120 and $160, respectively.
Should the Celtics have better odds than the Heat to win the title? Sure. But by that much? That’s a steep difference given that the two teams both need to win five more games to win it all.