The NBA schedule is a slog. So often teams that fade from the picture early are right there in the end because they play the long game well. They wait out injuries, they make a few moves, they improve. So while the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets just might meet up in the NBA Finals, it’s just as likely we’ll see someone several pegs down the ladder.
With an interest in helping you out with a long-term bet online at the sportsbook, here’s a glance at some solid values on year-end NBA wagers. Let’s check the latest NBA news, stats, injury report, and NBA lines. We’ve got plenty of NBA picks for you to consider.
Miami Heat: +3500 to Win Championship
An NBA finalist in 2020 and an Eastern Conference finalist in 2022, the Miami Heat are quietly climbing the standings behind their stingy ways. In a battle between the top two scoring defenses in the NBA on Tuesday night, they knocked off the Cavaliers in Cleveland by a 100-97 margin.
That victory gave Miami a 17-8 record over its last 25 games, a stretch that includes the win over Cleveland, another against Boston (2-2 against the Celtics this season), two vs Milwaukee and a series of very close losses.
When healthy, all the pieces are there for the Heat. They have the three-headed monster in Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro, and Victor Oladipo’s emergence has bolstered a bench that was quite lean early on. Kyle Lowry isn’t the same player he was a few years ago, but between him and Gabe Vincent, the team has enough to run the show.
The Heat entered Wednesday 7½ games behind first-place Boston and just 5½ games out of second place. They provide a nice payout right now as an NBA champ pick.
Phoenix Suns: +1000 to Win Western Conference
Get ‘em before they’re hot. Actually, it might be a tad too late, but at +1000 to just win the conference it’s still a pretty good value. The Suns have won six of seven since Cameron Johnson returned from a long injury layoff and they’ll get Devin Booker back this week. When they were both healthy alongside Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Aytbon, you could make a case that this was the best starting five in the NBA.
Phoenix, which went to the Finals in 2021 and had the best record in the NBA – by far – in 2022, has been a chippy team the past couple of years. It thrives on doubters, haters, etc., and would like nothing more than to stick it to all of those who wrote the Suns off amid that brutal 5-17 stretch earlier in the season.
The Suns have a tough remaining schedule, so they may not vault all the way to the top in the West. But they’ll be firmly entrenched as a playoff team and a prime candidate to pull off an “upset” or two or three en route to the Finals.
Washington Wizards: +325 to make playoffs
This is another one where it might be too late by the time you get the wager down, as this is one of the hottest teams in the league. The Wizards have won six in a row – five of them on the road – and seem to be relishing the fact that they (like the Suns above) were somewhat written off. After all, Washington parted with a key bench piece in Rui Hachimura last week in a move that seemed to indicate a look toward the future, not the present.
Heck, the Wizards even won in San Antonio the last time out. Sure, the Spurs are awful, but consider this. When you break 24-year-old losing streaks, maybe you’re onto something.
Between Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis, Washington has that “Big Three” that teams covet. The Wizards are averaging 121.5 points during the current win streak and they have one of the easier remaining schedules, according to various metrics.
7 guys scored in double-digits in last night’s DUUUUUUB.
🎥 highlights, presented by @Verizon ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/EpLc5s8s1J
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 31, 2023
Indiana Pacers: -115 to win over 36½ games
The Pacers were 23-18 entering the game at Madison Square Garden earlier this month where Tyrese Haliburton was hurt. Including that contest, they’ve since gone 1-10. Haliburton is expected to return either Thursday against the Lakers or Friday against the Kings.
Can his comeback help Indiana to 13 wins (what’s needed to get to 37) in its remaining 30 games? Seems quite doable. Haliburton was a fringe MVP candidate when he was hurt and everything’s out of whack without him. He should stabilize things and make the Pacers a .500 team or better the rest of the way.
Atlanta Hawks: +140 to NOT make playoffs
Since we’ve pumped up the Wizards and Pacers, why not knock one of their immediate competitors down a bit? The Hawks seem destined for a play-in game (one needs to advance out of the play-in round to cash in on a playoff bet) and this has the feel of a team that just might wave the flag if they hit another rough patch.
Despite the presence of Trae Young, the addition of Dejounte Murray, and some solid pieces all around them, this is a team that is just 69-69 (including the playoffs) since getting ousted in the 2021 Eastern Conference finals. They continue to get NBA odds worthy of a higher-tier squad, but they’re the same as all the rest just hoping to get a play-in spot.
Dump something on the Hawks to fall flat.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.