Table of Contents

    By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast

    The Matchup No One Saw Coming

    Outside of a minute cross-section of diehard NBA fans in metropolitan Denver and Miami, there are very few who saw this NBA Finals matchup coming. On both sides of the bracket, this NBA Playoffs proved to be chock full of unpredictability and it will culminate with a champion that not many had forecasted in April. The Nugs and the White Hot Heat collide for the NBA Title and it’s our last chance as NBA fans for a winning bet on the board.

    Sure – the Denver Nuggets were the top seed in the Western Conference, but they were all but an afterthought for most of the season. While we wasted months wondering when the Lakers or Warriors would return to their championship form of recent years, the Nuggets quietly rattled off win after win and the Joker’s absurd box scores rolled on. As for the Heat, they limped through a regular season without two of their top three scorers, so Himmy Buckets had to do superhuman things. Spoiler – they did. Unprecedented upsets against the Bucks and Knicks, capped with a topsy-turvy seven-game series win over the Celtics, and have our championship matchup set.

    AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

    Series Odds

    If Denver being priced as a -413 favorite to win the finals is any indicator, oddsmakers aren’t expecting much entertainment for the chip. Unless you’re in on the Heat pulling this off (+340) and want to catch lightning in a bottle, there’s practically zero value in betting Denver at this high a number. More realistically for Nuggets backers, you may want to look at betting on a series that’s 5.5 games or less – going off around even money odds. It’s a sound over/under bet without all the juice of the series price, and it gives you wiggle room in case the Heat get one early on in the series. Outside of that, you’ll want to look toward calling your shot as to how long the series goes.

    Exact Outcome Odds

    More specifically for niche bet degens, you can bet the exact series score in games of the NBA Finals where some nice paydays are available. The odds-on favorite for the series result is the Nuggets winning in five games, which sits at +225. From there the payouts are exacerbated as you work towards more extreme or improbable results. If you’re a Heat backer and feeling frisky, it’s hard not to look at Heat to win in six games (+800) or seven games (+900). You know that the Heat will be winning a hard-fought, grind-it-out type of series if they manage to climb the mountain, so might as well hedge on it being dramatic. If you’re looking to get silly with the biggest bomb on the board, a Heat sweep is going off around 55 to 1 odds.

    AP Photo/Charles Krupa

    Finals MVP Odds

    As for who lifts the other smaller trophy when it’s all said and done, this is where you can hit a jackpot type of win. Naturally, Nikola Jokic (-417) and Jimmy Butler (+315) are the odds-on favorites to take home the Finals MVP and there’s not a ton of value on either side there. Looking beyond the brand names and finding one of those special supporting cast members that lift their team over the top is where the biggest payday will emerge. The only direction Nuggets backers can look to is Jamal Murray at +1115, but I’m not seeing Murray surpass whatever amazing stats the Joker puts up on their way to a title. I’m really licking my chops if the Heat were to do the thinkable and win the series because it would HAVE to be done with more than just Jimmy Butler. It would take a Kyrie Irving or Andre Iguodala-like Finals MVP performance from a player that hit big shots and made game-changing plays in the biggest moments. The two flyers that are worth a look are Bam Adebayo (+4500) and Caleb Martin (+6000), who both showed in the Eastern Conference finals that they can lead the Heat offensively in winning performances. 

    Goofy Finals Props

    If you’re just here for a good time, there are some delightfully random places to have action on the finals as well. The first technical foul is always a firestarter in a championship series, and the Nuggets (-137) are favored to have the first implosion on a ref over the Heat (+113), but I’m siding with a Heat player to get their energy up first. If you’re obsessed with the stars, you can keep score on total series points between Jokie (-150) and Jimmy Butler (+200) and see who has more when the series is all said and done. 

    Alex’s NBA Finals Plays

    Series Total Games – Under 5.5 (+108)

    Nuggets WIN in 5 games (+225)

    Heat WIN in 7 games (+900)

    Finals MVP: Bam Adebayo +4500, Caleb Martin +6000

    NBA FAQs

    How do you win NBA pick'em pool?

    In order to win an NBA Pick'Em pool, players must have the most points at the end of the season. For each correct pick during the regular season, members will receive one point (customizable based on the pool commissioner). Some pools will choose picks based on the spread or straight up.

    What is NBA pick'em pool?

    In an NBA Pick'Em pool, players make weekly picks (either against the point spread or straight-up). The number of picks each week is customizable by the pool commissioner. Optional best-bet and confidence pick settings can be put into place as well. Commissioners can use a hosting site like RunYourPool to keep up with scoring and calculations.

    How to play an NBA basketball pool?

    The way one plays a basketball pool varies on the game type. For example, in Pick'em Pools, you simply pick every game each week.

    How to run a weekly basketball pool?

    In order to run a basketball pool, you must first crown yourself as Pool Commissioner. Begin by picking a game type like Survivor or Pick'Em. You'll want to establish rules before inviting friends, family, and colleagues to join. As commissioner, you make the rules and also need to enforce them equally and fairly.

    How do you win NBA Survivor Pool?

    In NBA Survivor, the last player standing wins. The name of the game is to make it to the next week. A member will select one game from all the games in that given week. If members choose the correct winner, they move on to the next week. If they pick incorrectly, they are eliminated from the contest.

    What is NBA Surivor Pool?

    In an NBA Survivor pool, players choose one NBA team each week that they believe will win. They may only pick a team one time per season. Picks are made "straight up," not using a point spread system. If their pick is correct, they survive until the next week. An incorrect pick eliminates the player from the pool for the remainder of the season.

    What is a basketball pool?

    "Basketball Pool" is a broad term for a group of people competitively guessing the outcome of one or more basketball game. There are many types of formats, each assigning winners differently. They can be played informally between friends or through a more formalized system.

    How to make a basketball pool?

    A basketball pool generally requires the creation of a shareable spreadsheet (like Google Sheets) so that members may pick teams. Then depending on the game type, creators must use several kinds of formulas (e.g. CountIF), data validation, and conditional formatting. Or, you can just use basketball pool hosting services like RunYourPool where we do all the work for you!

    How do you win NBA Playoff Bracket Pool?

    In NBA Playoff Bracket pools, the winning entry is the team with the most points at the end of Playoffs. Members try to pick the winner of each playoff series. For each series, they also pick how many games they think the series will go. Points are awarded for each winning pick, with bonus points for how close they come to the correct series length

    What is an NBA Playoff Bracket Pool?

    In an NBA Playoff Bracket pool, players pick the winner of each NBA Playoff series. Commissioners can choose to have members receive bonus points for guessing the series length. Points increase as the tournament progresses (points per round are configurable by the commissioner). The winning entry is the player with the most points at the end of the playoffs.

    Are there other Playoff Pools?

    Yes! RunYourPool offers plenty of contest types for various playoff events! March Madness squares and bracket pools aer very popular among basketball fanatics, while the Super Bowl Prop Pool is the most popular annual event game.

    How to set up a basketball pool?

    To set up a basketball pool, you'll need to first choose a pool type like Survivor or Pick'em. Then, you'll need to set the ground rules. As pool commissioner, you'll enforce these rules and make sure the game runs smoothly throughout the season. Many commissioners use pool hosting sites like RunYourPool to make it easier and more engaging.


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    About Author

    Alex Lauzon

    Lauzon is a podcast host, live broadcaster, analyst and betting extraordinaire for the Course of Life brand. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, he worked in ESPN and ESPN radio newsrooms. He has interviewed athletes and celebrities from all walks of life who often love to play golf. When he's not playing golf or talking about the game on Course of Life, Lauzon enjoys time with his wife and dog, checking off the next island vacation destination or counting down the days to the next Dell Match Play in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

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