NBA Playoffs: Breaking Down the Four NBA Championship Contenders

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Michael Savio
Basketball news


  • Two Play-in teams made the conference finals this season
  • Boston is the betting favorite to win the 2023 NBA Championship
  • Denver has never been to an NBA Finals

The NBA 2023 Conference Finals are now set and ready to kick off this week. Both matchups contain surprising teams that have had online sportsbook frantically updating their NBA Championship odds. The appearance of two play-in teams has drastically changed the odds for all four teams and should provide sports bettors with some opportunities to make some money.

If you are looking for help with your NBA betting, you have come to the right place. We will review the new odds to win the title and break down the case for betting on each to become NBA Champions.

Boston Celtics (-105 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

The Celtics are the favorite due to their dominance throughout the season. They owned the league's best record for most of the year, and they are coming off an impressive Sixers series that involved them winning a road elimination game. Their depth is unmatched, supporting one of the best duos in the NBA in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They can score and defend better than any remaining team, making them the popular pick to win the 2023 NBA Finals. 

While they match up well against the remaining teams, Miami has been a thorn in their side for years. As Milwaukee did against Miami in the first round, we saw Boston look lost a few times this postseason. Boston has the talent to beat the Heat, but history tells us this series will be closer than the sportsbooks show. The Celtics will need their A-game to avoid becoming Miami’s latest upset victim.

Denver Nuggets (+230 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

The Nuggets' most significant advantage is Nikola Jokic, the best player remaining in the playoffs. He has been incredible during this playoff run, averaging 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, 9.7 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Those are monster numbers that have been supported by point guard Jamal Murray, averaging 25.9 points and 6.5 assists. They aren't alone, as four other Nuggets are averaging double-digit points. This is the best lineup they have had, which has fans hoping they can break through for their first NBA Championship.

Denver split their four-game season series with the Lakers, but this is not the same LA team. The Lakers are now healthy and have a roster filled with veteran stars. Conversely, the Nuggets don't have much experience with deep playoff runs, which could make things difficult.

Los Angeles Lakers (+390 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

The Lakers have been led by great postseason performances from Lebron James and Anthony Davis. James averages 23.4 points and 10.0 rebounds, while Davis averages 21.2 points and 14.1 rebounds. Those are impressive totals that have been supported by the high-level play of DeAngelo Russel and Austin Reaves. Both are averaging over 15 points per game, finding themselves open as defenses focus on Davis and James. Combine that with the fact that the Lakers have the most blocks and rebounds of the remaining playoff teams, and you can see why bookmakers have their odds so low.

The biggest question for LA coming into the Western Conference Championship is how they'll hold up against a great team like Denver. The Lakers caught a break by pulling a Memphis team that was young and distracted and a Golden State team that had the worst road record in the NBA. This Denver series should show us how good this Lakers team really is.

Miami Heat (+1300 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

Jimmy Butler has a special postseason in 2023, averaging 31.1 points and 1.7 steals per game. He carried the Heat to a stunning first-round victory over the NBA-best Bucks and helped finish off the Knicks in the second round. He is dialed in and should be set to continue that level of play against a Boston team he lit up in last year's playoffs. His offensive firepower and Miami's impressive defense give them a chance to win the 2023 NBA Championship.

The reason bookmakers aren't sold on Miami is their depth. They have struggled to get consistent offense from anyone except Butler, including Bam Adebayo. Bam has been good, but not at the level that Miami needs. He can struggle against physical defense down low, which Boston has plenty of. Miami has had an incredible run, but their lack of depth could be what costs them.

Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid. As an adult, Michael started picking games for a small sports betting site and has built it into a career. His experience allows him to provide tips and information to help other bettors improve their game. Michael cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams, the Arizona State Sun Devils (his alma mater), and the Ottawa Senators. He specializes in baseball betting but has extensive experience in football, basketball, and hockey. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children or hiking and enjoying the outdoors.