With the regular season in the books, basketball fans are looking ahead to the upcoming NBA playoffs. There’s not much time for a breather as 2022 postseason play begins on Saturday, April 16th. No doubt, special interest will be shown by sports fans in the states where online sports betting is legally available and a local in-state team will be in action.
Of the roughly 15 states where mobile sports betting is fully live, six in particular look to have the most interest. Bettors in these states can realistically expect a deep run, maybe even a shot at the title. The six teams in question are:
Phoenix Suns (Arizona)
Denver Nuggets (Colorado)
Chicago Bulls (Illinois)
Brooklyn Nets (New York)
Philadelphia 76ers (Pennsylvania)
Memphis Grizzlies (Tennessee)
Here are the currents odds for each of these teams to win the NBA title:
Phoenix Suns +260
Brooklyn Nets +600
Memphis Grizzlies +1300
Philadelphia 76ers +1400
Denver Nuggets +3500
Chicago Bulls +10000
Note: lines vary by sportsbook and change daily
Mix of New and Mature Betting Markets
Based on betting trends of the last few years, online and retail bookmakers can expect a boost in sports betting activity when one of the state’s professional teams makes it to the playoffs. With New York online sports betting now live, the Brooklyn Nets will be putting that theory to the test in the biggest market in the country.
Arizona sports betting will also be seeing its first NBA playoffs and the timing could not be better. The Phoenix Suns have had a fantastic season and enter the postseason as favorites for the championship. On the other end of the spectrum, not much is expected of the Chicago Bulls. However, with Illinois sports betting now fully in action it wouldn’t take much for the sports-mad public to jump on a local bandwagon.
The other teams mentioned are in slightly more mature legal markets. Tennessee online sports betting has been live since November of 2020. Having said that, this is the maybe the most excitement the Memphis Grizzlies have generated locally in that period.
Colorado sports betting has been around even longer, launching in May of 2020. The Denver Nuggets have usually been overshadowed by their NFL counterparts. Maybe this is their chance to shine? Meanwhile, Pennsylvania sports betting is the grandfather of the bunch. Mobile sports betting has been legal in PA since the summer of 2019.
Increased Betting Activity
Experienced sports bettors will likely be wagering just as they have been doing throughout the entire NBA season. Where state bookmakers expect to get a boost in handle and revenue is from casual fans who tend to only get involved when their team is having success. So where will the smart betting dollars be invested?
It’s been a very long time since one team dominated the entire NBA season. But such is the case here in 2021-2022 where the Phoenix Suns compiled a league-topping record of 64-18. How dominant have the Suns been? The next best in the NBA was the Memphis Grizzlies with a record of 56-26.
It is somewhat unfortunate that both of these teams are in the Western Conference. A best of seven series between these two would make for quite a Finals.
In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers had the best record of our six highlighted teams. They went 51-31 for the joint second best in the East. However, it is the talent of the Brooklyn Nets who are betting favorites to advance to the Finals. This is despite a mediocre record of 44-38 throughout the year.
Obviously the oddsmakers believe the various personnel issues the Nets suffered throughout the year are behind them.
NBA Playoffs Betting Value
From a handicapping perspective, it might seem foolish to wager against the Suns to win the title. Last year, they lost in the NBA Finals in 7 games to the Milwaukee Bucks. This year, the team has only gotten better and that Finals defeat will mean they are hungry.
The good news for sportsbooks in Arizona and Tennessee is that it’s fairly likely the Suns and Grizzlies will make it to the Western Conference Finals. Only the Golden State Warriors appear capable of really standing in the way.
A smart sports bettor in Arizona or Tennessee might consider betting on both of these Western teams to win the NBA Championship. The idea is you have the favorite and then the team most likely to upset them. And with the Grizzlies at +1600, despite the fact they might be the 2nd best team in the NBA, an upset in the West could prove very lucrative.