May 13, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) interacts with the crowd during a timeout against the Memphis Grizzlies in the fourth quarter during game six of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
- The Golden State Warriors have the shortest odds to win the title heading into the conference finals at +120
- The Miami Heat boast the best playoff net rating of any of the final four teams remaining, and appear undervalued at +425 to win it all
- See the updated 2022 NBA Championship odds, plus analysis and a betting prediction
The NBA’s final four is set, and while things stayed chalky in the East, the same cannot be said for what happened out West. First, the Golden State Warriors took down the higher seeded Memphis Grizzlies, and while that wasn’t a surprise to most, what happened in the other series stunned the basketball world.
The Dallas Mavericks embarrassed the Phoenix Suns in Game 7, ending their Western Conference reign and shaking things up on the NBA Championship odds board. Phoenix had been the title favorite heading into the playoffs, and had been flip flopping back and forth with Golden State atop the board for the first two rounds.
NBA Championship Odds
|Golden State Warriors||+120|
Odds as of May 15th at Caesars Sportsbook.
Now with the Suns out of the picture, the Warriors are the clear favorites. However, that doesn’t mean you should race to the window to bet Golden State.
Fade the Warriors
Aside from their Game 3 drubbing of Memphis, Golden State simply wasn’t that impressive against a Memphis team missing its best player for half of the series. They had no business winning Game 4 and then proceeded to fall by 39 points in Game 5. They rebounded nicely to win Game 6 and close out the series, but now they have to deal with Luka Doncic and company.
The Dallas Mavericks are in the Western Conference Finals after perhaps the greatest Game 7 surprise ever after routing the defending conference champ Suns at home. The Mavericks will travel to San Francisco and play the suddenly higher seed Warriors in Game 1 of the West Finals. pic.twitter.com/FhmiwN6i8j
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpears) May 16, 2022
Doncic has torched the Warriors throughout his career, averaging 30 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in 14 career meetings. He hung stat lines of 41/10/9 and 34/11/2 on them over their last two matchups, and he led the Mavs to three wins in four games versus Golden State during the regular season.
The Warriors boast the third lowest defensive rating of the four remaining teams, and might just find the Mavericks style of play infuriating. While Golden State is routinely one of the league leaders in pace, and are the fastest paced team remaining, Dallas prefers operate much more methodically.
No team averaged fewer possessions during the regular season than the Mavs, and Dallas plays at by far the slowest rate of any team remaining. Another reason to be less bullish than the market on the Warriors is their carelessness with the ball. Only Houston turned the ball over more often than Golden State during the regular season, and their sloppy play has followed them into the playoffs with a 16% turnover rate.
Buy the Heat
That’s not to say you should back the Mavericks either. In fact, if you’re looking for a team to wager on to win it all, the East has two fantastic options.
It wouldn’t surprise anyone if Boston were crowned champs, but there’s plenty of reasons to like Miami as well. For starters, the Heat have been the best team in the postseason per the advanced metrics. They lead all playoff teams in net rating, and boast the best offensive and defensive rating of any of the four remaining teams.
MIAMI’S GOING TO THE ECF 🌶️
The Heat handle Philly in six games to advance! pic.twitter.com/EgrBJH6rFe
— ESPN (@espn) May 13, 2022
All but one of their eight postseason victories have been by at least 9 points, despite not having starting point guard Kyle Lowry for half of their playoff contests.
Also working in their favor is home court advantage in the Eastern Conference Final. Miami was a conference best 29-12 at home during the regular season, and in a series that projects to be extremely close, the extra home game against Boston will be key.
Should they knock off the Celtics in the East Finals, like they did in 2020, Miami matches up extremely well versus both Golden State and Dallas. They have the offensive talent to keep pace with both, and a laundry list of elite defenders to throw at Luka and company or the Splash Bros.
This iconic photo from the last time the Celtics faced the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals 📸 pic.twitter.com/euxTV8otmA
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 15, 2022
The icing on the cake is the value. The Heat’s championship price tag is currently +425, a number that is sure to drop should they knock off Boston in Game 1 on Wednesday.
Pick: Miami Heat (+425)
As SBD’s resident Swiss Army Knife, Chris covers virtually every sport including NFL, PGA, NBA, MLB, NCAAB, NCAAF and the Olympics. A true grinder, he’d rather pick off small edges in the player props market than swing for the fences with a 5-leg parlay.