NBA Odds Update: Is There Value in the Pacers?
In this edition of the NBA Odds Update, we’ll look at which teams saw their odds move the most since our last update.
Teams that had strong weeks and are starting to look like cohesive units will likely see the most upward movement, while those who had it rough could see their odds spiraling.
The Value Picks
By default, the betting value in the East is much better than that of the West. Six of the nine teams with FanDuel Sportsbook's best odds of winning the championship are in the Western Conference. That implies significantly stiffer competition.
Whoever comes out of the West will have to go through a couple of the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, and Utah Jazz -- in other words, they're going to be battered. Additionally, the fact that the West no longer has a "Superteam" means that the East champion will have a legitimate shot at winning it all.
Another thing to remember about the East is that it is a Giannis Antetokounmpo or Khris Middleton injury away from being as wide open as it's ever been. Again, a stark difference from a Western Conference with multiple front-runners.
FanDuel Title Odds: +6500
numberFire Champs Probability: 2.1%
At 65/1, the upside of betting on the Indiana Pacers cannot be overstated.
This is a team that's hovering near or inside the top-12 in defensive, offensive, and net rating -- and they're doing it without Victor Oladipo. With Oladipo on the court last season, Indiana was on pace to win 57 games. They've since added Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren, significantly outweighing their loss of Bojan Bogdanovic.
Let's put this another way: a team that's just 2.5 games out of the second seed in the East is about to add an elite defensive player, who also happens to be a 20/5/5 guy.
It's possible that 'Dipo comes back, and it takes him and the squad too long to fully mesh. It's also possible that he returns, and the Pacers start looking like a true contender.
Again, at +6500, what do you have to lose? It's worth noting that Oladipo is scheduled to return Wednesday, so these odds might shrink in the near future.
FanDuel Title Odds: +3300
numberFire Champs Probability: 5.4%
It might be time to start treating the Dallas Mavericks like legitimate title contenders.
Dallas currently has the second-best net rating in the West and has an offensive rating that's 2.9 points better than any other team in the league. So far this season, the Mavericks have beaten the Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers. That's an impressive resume for such a young team.
Armed with (arguably) the best player in the Western Conference in Luka Doncic, the Mavericks could make some serious noise this postseason -- especially if they're able to add talent prior to the trade deadline 11 days from now. At 33/1, they're the value play in the West.
Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers
FanDuel Title Odds: +320
numberFire Champs Probability: 15.8% and 7.1%, respectively
Every time it seems like we are starting to get a grip on what either of the Los Angeles teams are (or are not) capable of, they seem to throw us a wrench.
The Lakers have been quite comfortable atop the West for some time now, though they've looked much less invincible as of late. After losing just three times going into mid-December, the Lakers have lost 7 of their last 19. While that's far from terrible, it isn't the dominant squad we saw for the first third of the season. Furthermore, the Lakers have lost each of their last three games against East-leading teams by an average of 15.3 points.
As for the Clippers, their season has been one marred by inconsistencies. Doc Rivers' squad is probably the most talented team in the association, but there hasn't really been a time where they've looked the part. We've seen teams with this level of talent just flip a switch, but we've seen no proof that they have a switch to be flipped. Offensive efficiency has been an issue for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and company, as the Clips are just 17th in effective field goal percentage this season.
Odds are that the West champion will be one of these two squads. The Lakers look like the more cohesive unit on most nights, so they might be the better bet -- but this is more of a gut call.
FanDuel Title Odds: +320
numberFire Champs Probability: 45.4
The Milwaukee Bucks have nearly three times better odds of winning a title than any other team in the league, according to our model. That's significant.
Milwaukee is currently on pace to win the third-most games in a season in NBA history, and they're doing it without having a single player averaging more than 30.7 minutes per game.
The Deer are first in the league in net and defensive rating and second in offensive efficiency. Milwaukee is also inside the top-seven in rebounding, assists, blocks, and nearly every single other statistical category you can think of. Oh, and they also have the MVP.
The Bucks currently have an eight-game lead for home court in the East and a four-game lead for home court throughout the playoffs. That's significant for a team that's 54-10 at home over the last two seasons.
Given all the variables working in their favor, Milwaukee is worth a wager at +320.