After what everyone is calling the first round ever, the 2014 NBA playoffs have settled back into play that makes my job in picking winners you should bet on a lot easier.
It should be obvious by now who the best teams in the league are, so don’t act surprised when you see the 2014 NBA Championship Finals odds update. As you’d expect, Miami is the lead dog with a +120 number while the San Antonio Spurs are the next best bet at +250 according to the oddsmakers. This should come as no surprise.
What’s actually quite astounding is that the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards have equal 2014 NBA Championship Finals odds at +2500. To really understand how dramatic this is for the Pacers, you have to remember that they were +1300 outside shots at the onset of the season. With more than half the league eliminated from contention, and Indiana literally 12 wins away from a title, you’d think their chances would be better. Wasn’t this the best team in the Eastern Conference?
Obviously, this team has fallen on inexplicably hard times and by now it feels like there’s no way out. Roy Hibbert is putting up goose eggs on a nightly basis, and the team chemistry that made Indiana so impervious over the last six months has dissipated at an astonishing rate. The 25-to-1 odds that Indiana carries in the futures market has as much to do with their downfall as it does with Miami, a team they are probably unlikely to beat considering their current state of affairs.
All the grandstanding we paid Indiana last year is being thrown instead at the Washington Wizards who are also +2500 to win the title. At the beginning of the season, they had 100-to-1 odds. That’s +100000 for those of you that want to see what that looks like. The 2014 NBA Championship finals odds update is paying respect to a Wizards team that has come together at an almost remarkable rate, and has all the dangerous pieces you need in both a Heat Beater and a world champion.
On top of that, they’re totally fun to watch. The combination of Marcin Gortat and Nene is absolutely deadly, and just finished off Chicago’s Noah-Boozer duo as if they were d-leaguers. Trever Ariza is harking back to his Lakers days and the Beal-Wall combo that so many people thought would erupt finally has. It’s an intensely awesome starting five to cheer for. So why wouldn’t you lob a play on their +2500 2014 NBA Championship Finals odds?
Miami isn’t impervious, and I only say that because of Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen’s overall health and the lack of a bench. They were taken to seven games by last year’s Pacers and Spurs. After seeing what happened to Indiana this past season, it’s hard to think that Washington doesn’t have a chance of thwarting Miami. As a great man once said, “Anything is possible!”
As for the Western Conference, I’m not a huge fan of any team other than San Antonio right now. The Clippers (+500) and Thunder (+850) both represent mildly strong plays, but I think that both can be seriously outcoached by Poppovich in the Western Conference Finals. And Portland seems like a waste of time in the semi-finals.
If you’re going to take a chance on any other team in the west, I would throw a bone at the Los Angeles Clippers at 5-to-1. They’ve continued to overcome so much adversity while playing at an unearthly level considering the circumstance. I don’t know if they’re good enough to beat the Spurs, but a flier on their updated 2014 NBA Championship Finals odds is a decent value play.