The 2019-2020 NBA playoffs began on Aug. 17 with the Eastern and Western Conference each playing a traditional best-of-seven format to determine the champions of their respective eight-team brackets, which will meet in the NBA Finals in late September and early October. In this article, we look at NBA Playoffs odds and break down the matchups each day throughout the playoffs to streamline your research and help you place bets on sportsbooks.
FanDuel Sportsbook offers series odds that you see below:
- LA Lakers -360 vs. Miami Heat +260
For a full betting breakdown of each NBA Finals game between the Lakers and Heat, go to our NBA Finals page here.
NBA playoffs odds
Who is favored to win the 2019-20 NBA Finals?
The Lakers (-360) have become the favorites to win the title after winning the Western Conference. The Miami Heat are now +260 after taking down the Boston Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
What are NBA futures?
In betting terms, “Futures,” usually refer to wagers with a season-long outcome such as the NBA champion, NBA division winner, or individual award winners. Prior to the season, it’s possible to bet Over or Under on Team Win totals, i.e. the number of games a team is expected to win during the regular season.
Due to the shortened season, bets on Win Totals and division winners have been rendered null and void with the investment going back to bettors.
How to bet the NBA Playoffs
Betting on a potential outcome such as the NBA champion is known as a futures bet. There are several other ways to bet on individual games in the NBA Playoffs including taking the winner on the moneyline. This is the simplest way to bet, but the favored team will always have negative odds to encourage action on both sides. For example, if the Lakers face the Heat in the first game of the NBA Finals, the Lakers might be listed with -250 odds for Game 1, indicating that a $25 bet on the Lakers to win would only profit $10.
If you want a better chance at even money, you’ll have to bet the point spread for a game. The spread is set based on a number that oddsmakers feel will encourage action on both sides of the line. Taking an example from the first round of the playoffs, the Lakers were expected to blow past the eighth-seeded Blazers in Game 4 of their series. They were listed as Lakers (-9.5), indicating the Lakers would have to win by double digits for their backers to cash. Conversely, the Blazers (+9.5) would pay out as long as they lost by 9 or fewer points. With no home court advantage in the 2020 NBA playoffs, most point spreads have been small, with plenty hovering around -1.5 or even a “PK” or Pick ‘Em line that functions just like a moneyline.
Since NBA games often finish in scattered fashion with late buckets and free throws, you may not feel as confident about choosing a winner or betting the spread. If so, you can get some action on the point total or over/under. The total refers to the combined score between two opponents and in today’s NBA, it usually ranges between 205 and 230 points. If a line for Game 6 of the ECF is set at 222.5 and the Celtics defeat the Heat, 112-110, the Under is successful. These lines are set depending on the typical pace and style of each opponent, while accounting for things like home court advantage and back-to-back scheduling. Those factors are almost completely irrelevant in this year’s playoffs, so betting the point total will be all about matchups.
It’s also possible to bet on the prospects of individual players in the form of proposition bets. This is an excellent way to strategize while betting on the NBA, since certain players thrive in certain matchups and it can be predictable which nights they will give their absolute best effort. If the Lakers are playing a Game 7 in the WCF, you can certainly target a proposition on LeBron James going Over 46.5 combined points, rebounds, and assists. If James posts a relatively typical line of 27 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds, the Over would cash. There are also novel prop bets about whether a player will record a double double, triple double, or hit a certain number of 3-pointers.
Bettors can wager on future outcomes without picking the NBA champion, since each playoff series will have a series line. For example, the No.1-seeded Lakers might be listed with -400 odds to defeat the surprise Nuggets, but if you feel Denver matches up well against LA, you could get plus odds on the Nuggets winning that series. These odds will change after each result with the team leading the series getting a significant bump as the favorite.