Ultimately, betting on the NBA comes down to the same sports betting principles as any other wager type. The objective is to combine the most probable outcome to the best possible price. You will often hear the word "value" when discussing sports handicapping. Value has as many definitions and interpretations as there are gamblers. Just keep in mind the ultimate truth that there is no value in a loser. There are too many gamblers and gambling commentators that are too clever by half. These folks often outsmart themselves by taking teams that they consider to be good values, even as these good values have little chance of actually winning the wager.
A Good Price But Poor Value
A great example of a value play for the 2021 NBA championship would be the Boston Celtics. Boston plays good team basketball and defense. The Celtics made the Eastern Conference semifinals in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Boston's price for the 2021 NBA championship is +2000. But the reality is that the Celtics are a longshot actually to win the title. The Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers are the Eastern Conference's top favorites and have more depth than Boston. But there are enough fans and gamblers that will talk themselves into thinking that Boston is an excellent value. Certainly, the Celtics are not a long shot. But they are also unlikely to win the NBA championship
Paying Full Retail for Name Brands Teams
Speaking of Boston, the Celtics are one of the great iconic brands in the NBA. Boston is tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for all-time NBA championships. The Celtics also boast a sizeable generational fan base. All of this means that Boston will attract more wagering action than almost any other NBA team, especially if the Celtics are a merely decent team. To put it another way, you will pay more to bet on Boston than another less popular club with the same ability.
In the same way, the Lakers bring little in the form of good wagering value. Los Angeles is currently the most iconic brand in the NBA, and that is reflected in their futures price. Adding to the price tag is LeBron James, still the biggest name in the game. The Lakers indeed stand the best chance at winning the NBA championship. It is also true that the Lakers will not bring you much in the way of payback for your investment, but Los Angeles does offer a high probability.
Questions to Ask When Handicapping NBA Title Futures
The Los Angeles Lakers are +250 favorites to win the NBA championship. You will want to ask yourself if it is worth having your money tied up for several months is worth such a relatively small payback. To some gamblers, it is because they believe the probability rate is high. Other gamblers think that they can make a lot more money betting on games or different categories offered at the sportsbook, where the payback is more immediate.
The Risks of an NBA Title Futures Bet
Regardless of which team(s) you bet on for the NBA title futures, keep in mind that the team you are betting on now may not be the same team you are riding with seven weeks down the line. Keep in mind that in 2018-19 the Los Angeles Lakers were a popular early futures bet due to LeBron James' arrival. Yet, at the halfway point of the season, James began battling injuries that would end his season prematurely. The Lakers went from a favorite to a long shot, and a lot of gamblers that got in on LA early were left holding an empty bag.
Last year the Philadelphia 76ers were a popular value play. But the Sixers' prospects were ruined by continuous injuries to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
NBA Title Futures
Keep in mind that you can bet NBA Title futures all season long, not just in the preseason. You can even bet on NBA Title futures during the NBA Finals. The odds are updated daily when game results, trades, and injury reports are updated. You can bet on more than one team to win the NBA title. Just remember, a reasonable price doesn't necessarily equate to fair value.