NBA

NBA Playoff Odds Update: Finding Betting Value in the Conference Finals

With just four teams left standing in the NBA, how should we be betting the NBA Finals?

The NBA blessed us with a pair of exciting Game 7s on Sunday, and now we're down to just four teams left as we enter the Conference Finals.

The Golden State Warriors overcame the absence of Kevin Durant and fended off the Houston Rockets (again) to advance (again) to the Western Conference Finals. The Portland Trail Blazers bested the sassy Nuggets in Denver on the back of C.J. McCollum.

The Toronto Raptors needed a glorious Kawhi Leonard buzzer beater to silence the Philadelphia 76ers. Oh, and the Milwaukee Bucks dismantled the Boston Celtics what feels like weeks ago by now.

Of course, we can bet the Finals winner (and a lot more) on FanDuel Sportsbook, and we can lean on numberFire's algorithm to figure out the best value. Let's dig into the probabilities and see what stands out.

Odds Update

Here are each team's finals odds, per our algorithm, and their number at FanDuel Sportsbook.

TeamnumberFire Win OddsFanDuel Sportsbook Odds
Golden State Warriors53.0%-160
Milwaukee Bucks26.8%+240
Toronto Raptors14.0%+550
Portland Trail Blazers6.2%+1500


Overall, the lines are quite efficient when compared to our win probabilities. All teams are all pretty much on par with their anticipated win odds in order to offer betting value, so we'll have to get a little crafty.

The Warriors are around 57% likely to win in terms of the betting line (-160). We have them as a heavy favorite (naturally), but not quite on par with the odds they'd need to give us positive expected value, especially with the uncertainty around Durant's injury. While they're a heavy favorite, the value isn't quite there to recommend backing them at -160.

As far as Portland goes, they beat the Warriors in two of four regular-season meetings, though the Warriors held a net rating of +3.7 in those games. With Durant on the floor, Golden State outscored the Blazers by 6.5 points per 100 possessions. Without him, they had a net rating of -4.8, an 11.3-point swing. On the flip side, the Blazers will be without Jusuf Nurkic and were outmatched with (-6.7) and without (-2.3) him. There's obviously a big return awaiting at +1500, so a small wager would be enough in case they pull off two more upsets.

As for the Bucks, they won three of four games against the Raptors and had a net rating of +6.7. Toronto actually lost both games at home and beat the Bucks 123-116 in early January, a game Kyle Lowry missed. The Raptors have really wacky splits in the regular-season series.

For example: with Kawhi Leonard on the court (111 minutes), they outscored the Bucks by 10.2 points per 100 possessions. Without him? They were outscored by 28.0 points per 100 possessions over 81 minutes. They were +9.0 with Serge Ibaka and -38.5 without him.

So far, the Bucks' estimated net rating of +14.5 is nearly five full points better than Toronto's +9.6, and Malcolm Brogdon is healthy and expected to see his minutes increase for the Conference Finals. Our algorithm has viewed the Bucks as the NBA's most efficient team all season, and they offer the most value of any four remaining teams.