2024 NBA Finals Betting Trends & Action Report

For the latest 2023-24 NBA Finals Odds, Check Out NBA Finals Odds Report, Trends: Everything You Need To Know

NBA Finals betting trends stop for no one or nothing, even when the season ends. Because the ramp-up for next season's odds to win the NBA Finals pretty much begins right away.

The Denver Nuggets, fresh off their championship season, are slight favorites ahead of the Boston Celtics to win the 2023-24 NBA title. And the Finals runner-up Miami Heat are the fifth choice while in hot pursuit of Damian Lillard.

BetMGM sports traders Hal Egeland and Christian Cipollini provide insights on NBA Finals odds, betting trends and action. Check back regularly for updates.

NBA Finals Odds

Looking Ahead to 2023-24

Damian Lillard trade rumors have helped improve the Miami Heat's odds. (Getty)

The NBA Finals odds market is always moving. So it's worth starting to look at how 2023-24 NBA Finals betting trends are taking shape. Interestingly, the just-completed NBA Draft didn't shake up any team's odds.

But a couple of key trades moved the needle a little – and a deal that hasn't even happened yet moved the needle even more. Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers star, wants out and prefers to land in Miami.

That led BetMGM to boost the Heat from +1600 to +900 in the NBA Finals futures market. However, it's no sure thing that Lillard gets his way, which is fogging things up a bit behind the counter.

"We don't know what's happening. It seems like it's [Lillard to] the Heat for now, but we don't know how it will really shake out," Cipollini said. "We had people bet the Heat once the news broke, but we are at low limits while everything is in limbo."

Then there's the two deals that were actually consummated:

  • The Boston Celtics acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the Washington Wizards as part of a three-team deal. Marcus Smart was the other key component in the trade, going from Boston to Memphis.
  • Longtime standout guard Chris Paul took a circuitous route to the Golden State Warriors. Paul was first traded to the Wizards as part of a deal that brought Bradley Beal to the Phoenix Suns. The Warriors then traded Jordan Poole to Washington as part of a deal to acquire Paul.

“The Celtics and Warriors' odds to win the NBA championship improved after their respective trades," BetMGM sports trader Christian Cipollini said. "However, no team saw its futures improve due to the NBA Draft."

By way of the Porzingis deal, Boston moved from +550 to +475, briefly overtaking the Denver Nuggets as the favorite. Then, both Denver and Boston went to +450 at BetMGM.

However, with Miami's odds shortening on the Lillard rumors, Boston lengthened just a touch to the +500 second choice. Denver is now the +475 favorite.

Golden State slightly shortened its odds, going from +1300 to +1200.

Another team on the move: the Los Angeles Lakers. BetMGM had L.A. at +1600 in odds to win the NBA title, then went to +1100 after the Lakers signed Austin Reaves to a four-year extension. LeBron James and Co. are now the sixth choice on the NBA Finals odds board.

Updated on 05/28/2024
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Early Action

After Denver beat the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, the Nuggets and Celtics opened as +550 co-favorites at BetMGM. Shortly thereafter, Denver then moved to the +500 chalk, before the Porzingis trade momentarily made Boston the favorite.

“The Nuggets are very worthy of being favorites next season, with their core all coming back," Egeland said. "It's always a talking point to crown a team the next dynasty. I wouldn't go that far, but I'm certain they'll be legitimate contenders for years to come."

The two NBA finalists are the teams receiving the most action thus far at BetMGM.

“The Nuggets are easily the most-bet team to win next year's championship, but that's expected," Egeland said. "The Heat are our second-most-bet-on team. They were overmatched in the Finals and likely overperformed in the playoffs. I'd personally be surprised if they make a similar run next year, if they run back the same roster.”

Miami opened +1600, initially slipped to +2000, then returned to +1600. However, as note above, there are rumblings that the Heat are making a run at Lillard, and BetMGM responded by shortening Miami to +900.

That's what Egeland predicted days before the July 1 news.

"That Heat number could shorten quickly if the Lillard rumors gain any steam," Egeland said before Lillard's trade request went public. "With what looks to be an active trade market, we may see a decent amount of changes in the coming days."

A few other teams are also catching the eye of bettors early on, as NBA Finals betting trends start to take shape.

“Other than the two teams in the Finals this year, the Celtics, Suns and Thunder have had the most interest," Egeland said.

Speaking of the Suns ...

Wheel and Deal for Beal

Bradley Beal is heading from the Wizards to the Suns. (Getty)

The Phoenix Suns, shut down in six games by the Nuggets in the West semifinals, wasted no time making a move to improve. As noted above, just a few days after the NBA Finals ended, the Suns made a trade with the Washington Wizards to acquire All-Star guard Bradley Beal.

Beal joins Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, creating a potentially formidable Big Three.

"It was only a small move after the Beal trade. We moved the Suns from +700 to +650," Egeland said, noting the Woj Bomb from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski precipitated the odds shift. "There were no significant wagers that came in following the Beal trade. We moved off the Woj tweet right away."

Phoenix is now the +600 third choice, behind only Denver and Boston, and just ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks (+700).

On the flip side, the Wizards are 500/1 in NBA futures odds, tied for last with the Charlotte Hornets and Detroit Pistons.

2022-23 Wrap-Up

The Nuggets beat Miami 4-1 in the 2023 NBA Finals. (Getty)

Prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals, Christian Cipollini, Egeland's peer in BetMGM's trading room, noted that customers were looking to alternate Nuggets series markets for value.

"We're getting peppered on basically all the Nuggets [series] props – Nuggets 4-0, 4-1, 4-2, Nuggets -1.5 games, -2.5 games, you name it," Cipollini said.

Obviously, many bettors capitalized in those markets, as Denver cruised to the title with a 4-1 series victory over Miami. It wasn't the most ideal outcome at BetMGM, but neither was it the worst outcome.

“The Nuggets winning [the title] and covering their series spreads wasn't a great result for us," Egeland said. "Had the series made its way to seven games, we likely still would have lost with the Nuggets winning it, but it would have certainly softened the blow.

"Having said that, the other teams that were contenders in the West would have been much worse for us.”

The Los Angeles Lakers were by far BetMGM's largest liability in the NBA Finals odds market. LeBron James and Co. got swept by Denver in the Western Conference finals.

Miami ultimately came up short in the championship series, but the Heat made a tremendous run, to be sure.

"I think Miami surprised most people, including myself. A play-in team winning its conference while being an underdog in each series is unprecedented," Egeland said. "Erik Spoelstra has shown again why he’s one of the best coaches in the NBA. Credit to the Heat on accomplishing that."