The season ending ACL injury suffered by Jamal Murray has changed the perspective on NBA betting with the playoffs looming
It was the worst possible outcome at the worst possible time. The Denver Nuggets looked to have everything in place to make a real run at the NBA championship this year. One moment all but ended their title aspirations as Jamal Murray’s season ended with a ACL injury. The Nuggets will still be a tough out in the playoffs but it’s impossible to see them surviving the brutal Western Conference postseason, even odds of 30/1 look stingy at this stage. I don’t even like them tonight against Miami where the Heat are 4 point underdogs.
Now for words I didn’t expect to be putting in the same sentence this season: “Los Angeles Lakers” and “good value”. The huge wave of support for the Brooklyn Nets following their in-season trades, has seen the Nets come in to just 5/2 on sportsbooks while the Lakers are second favourites at 7/2.
That’s a lot of faith in a line-up that hasn’t been tested yet and a serious drop off in support for a side that has two bona fide all-timers in its starting five. I’m not saying the Lakers are certs to life Larry O’Brien but that’s a much, much, longer price that I expected to get on them this season.
The one team I’m really keeping an eye on is the Utah Jazz. Sportsbooks are divided over the Salt Lake City based team but the broad consensus has them around 9/1. Considering they have the best record in the West right now and the Nuggets are floundering, that is awfully long. The reason you’re making that “I don’t know” face while reading this is exactly why the Jazz are this good value. They’ve never won the NBA championship before so why bet on them to do it now? Simple, they are tremendous value and punters should keep things simple.
Two other teams stand out for me as potential value plays that could win it all. The Milwaukee Bucks, 9/1 on most markets, and the Philadelphia 76ers, 12/1. Both will need a little bit of luck to get it done but there’s enough talent and grit there to get over the line, especially if the Nets don’t gel in time.
Lastly, not a team to win it all but one that I like to get through at least one series in the playoffs. Were they to start today, the Dallas Mavericks would face the Phoenix Suns. I expect that to remain the match up through season’s end and Phoenix has wildly overachieved this year. In a best of 7 with Dallas, I don’t see them winning.
That makes Dallas a good play to lay as they are 45/1 to win it all, longer than Denver without Murray, and would likely get a winnable series against Portland or the stumbling LA Clippers afterwards. A trip to the Western Conference finals is very doable for the Mavs so use them to insure your other bets.