NBA Roundtable: Best Bets for Round 1, NBA Finals, Finals MVP and More

NBA Roundtable: Best Bets for Round 1, NBA Finals, Finals MVP and More

This article is part of our NBA Roundtable series.

Welcome to the latest edition of the RotoWire NBA Roundtable. With the playoffs set to begin Saturday, our panel of experts offer up their favorite value bets, series prices, Finals MVP picks and much more.

All odds via the DraftKings Sportsbook.

Which team is currently the best value bet to win the NBA Finals?

Alex Barutha: Given their top-end talent, I still think the 76ers are an interesting bet at +1400. At the very least, they're the team furthest down on the list that I'd entertain. Harden's playoff struggles are well-documented, but he at least has Joel Embiid as a release valve now where the pressure becomes too much. Plus, Tyrese Maxey can take some playmaking pressure off Harden as well.

Nick Whalen: Given how the Suns' path to at least the West Finals is developing, there's a case to be made that they're the best bet on the board at +255. Beyond that, Golden State at +850 and Miami at +1000 are my favorite values. Miami has the benefit of dodging all but one of the Boston/Milwaukee/Brooklyn trio.

James Anderson: Bucks +475 is an obvious value. I think they're going to win the title. But possibly a better value is Warriors +850. Now that Klay Thompson is back to looking close to peak form and Draymond Green is back on track defensively, adding in Steph Curry to the mix could catapult this team back to elite status, especially with Jordan Poole emerging. The Steph-Klay-Poole lineups are basically unstoppable.

Paul Martinez: Philadelphia (+1400) is the best value to win the championship. Unlike the Western Conference, there isn't a clear-cut best team in the East, so any of a handful of clubs could feasibly go to the Finals. Things haven't been as smooth as the 76ers hoped they would be since bringing James Harden into the fold, but the combination of Harden and MVP candidate Joel Embiid is still a scary thought for any team that has to face them in a playoff series.

Henry Weinberg: Miami (+1000) sits in a comfortable spot. They are a bad matchup for the Hawks/Cavs, can out-coach Philadelphia and will draw the winner of what should be a grueling series between Brooklyn (in my opinion) and Milwaukee. I think that the Suns are going to win the finals, but Miami brings value here. 

Ken Crites: Memphis at +1300 screams out at me. That seems like a lot of disrespect for a No. 2 seed. I have a lot more faith in a 22-year-old Morant bouncing back from injury versus 34-year-old Stephen Curry. And in general, the West feels like a much easier field.

Mike Barner: I think the Suns (+255) will win the championship, but since we're hunting for value, I'll go with the Grizzlies (+1300). The Western Conference is the weakest that it has been in a long time, so if one of the key starters on the Suns were to get injured, the Grizzlies could make their way into the NBA Finals. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Bucks, Nets, Heat or Celtics win the East, so picking any of them to win the championship isn't as appealing.

Jeff Edgerton: Although the number is dropping by the day, the Suns (+255) are too hard to ignore. As an alternate to win the West, the Grizzlies' number( +1300) looks like a better value, however.

READ: 2022 NBA Fantasy Postseason Draft Guide

Which matchup is your favorite bet for the Eastern Conference Finals?

Alex Barutha: In the East, Celtics vs. Raptors (+1900) feels like the longest odds I would entertain, but I'd still prefer to bet the shortest odds of Bucks vs. Heat (+310), largely due to Miami having the easiest path.

Nick Whalen: It's somewhat chalky, but Bucks-Heat at +310 is my favorite bet. In terms of value, Raptors-Bucks at 12/1 is a longshot but not completely unrealistic.

James Anderson: Bucks-Heat at +310 and I really like Bucks/Raptors at +1200.

Paul Martinez: I'll take Celtics vs. 76ers (+750) in the East. Again, the conference feels like a tossup between five teams, so why not go with the best value that matches up two of those squads?

Henry Weinberg: I personally won't be touching this bet, but Nets vs. Heat (+500) is my answer. Barring a seismic effort from Jayson Tatum, Brooklyn will advance past Boston. In two recent games against Milwaukee, Brooklyn has won without Kevin Durant, and lost by one point in overtime -- so I'll give them the edge in that series too -- by the narrowest of margins.

Miami's bench will shred Philadelphia. James Harden is the X-factor in offsetting that. He's shot just 29.9 percent from beyond the arc over the past two months and Miami has the second-best perimeter defense in the league. Miami has a top-five defensive efficiency overall, but if Harden is attacking aggressively and drawing fouls, Miami could find themselves in a bind defending Joel Embiid

Ken Crites: Give me Boston vs. Miami at +500. Everyone is talking about the Nets, but the Raptors are red hot and healthy. They ended the season 14-4 and Fred VanVleet has had plenty of rest. Toronto's length is geared for playoff defense and could really pester the Sixers.

Mike Barner: For the East, I'll go Bucks vs. Heat (+310). The Heat dodging the Nets in the first round is big. The series between the Nets and Celtics could go either way, so picking either of them to make the Conference Finals is too risky for me.

Jeff Edgerton: Nets vs. 76ers at +750.

Which matchup is your favorite bet for the Western Conference Finals? 

Alex Barutha: In the West, my favorite bet would be Suns vs. Grizzlies (+260), and the longest odds I would entertain is Nuggets vs. Suns (+700). I won't bet against the Suns getting to the Conference Finals.

Nick Whalen: Warriors-Suns at +250 and Grizzlies-Suns at +260 are the only two I'd be comfortable betting. It's just too difficult to imagine Phoenix not making at least the Western Conference Finals -- barring an injury, of course.

James Anderson: Warriors-Suns +250 is the only Western Conference one I'd bet, although I don't love the price.

Paul Martinez: In the West, give me Suns vs. Nuggets (+700). Phoenix is too good to bet against, and Denver seems like a good team to take a gamble on since they have arguably the game's most valuable player in Nikola Jokic.

Henry Weinberg: Suns vs. Grizzlies (+260). It's a three-horse race between the Suns, Grizzlies and Warriors. Golden State's lack of continuity may be too much to overcome. Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson will be disruptive against an inferior Warriors frontcourt. 

Ken Crites: Out West, I'm sticking with the 1-2 seeds of Phoenix vs Memphis at +260. 

Mike Barner: The odds aren't mouth-watering, but I'll go with Suns vs Grizzlies (+260) in the Western Conference Finals. These two teams are head-and-shoulders better than the rest of the teams in the conference. 

Jeff Edgerton: Suns vs. Grizzlies at +260. The West seems a bit more predictable, whereas anything can happen in the East.

Looking at Finals MVP odds, who would you feel most comfortable betting $1,000 on right now? And which longshot (at least 20/1) could you make a case for? 

Alex Barutha: Giannis at +500. It's hard for me to entertain betting on Devin Booker (+475) or Chris Paul (+650) since I think there's an equal chance either one could win, while it's only Giannis for Milwaukee.

Nick Whalen: Bam Adebayo at 30/1. Miami has the clearest path to the Eastern Conference Finals and would then be looking at a toss-up series against Brooklyn, Boston or Milwaukee. If the Heat were to win the Finals, it's easy to imagine an "Adebayo is actually their most important player" narrative developing.

James Anderson: Giannis at +500. Longshot bets when we're talking about the NBA Finals are for suckers. Steph Curry at +1100 is the longest bet I'd consider. 

Paul Martinez: I don't see any team beating the Suns this season, so if I'm playing it safe, my money is going on Devin Booker (+475). If I'm shooting for the moon, give me James Harden (+4500). The 76ers are legitimate contenders in the East, and we all know what Harden can do if he's able to straighten out his recent shooting struggles.

Henry Weinberg: My band would have to go on Chris Paul (+650). Given that the Suns are my favorite to win, the storylines around Point God and his first ring will push the award in his favor. He's been elite during clutch scenarios this season. James Harden at +4500 is indicative of his recent struggles, but his star power could return and the 76ers have a viable path to the Finals. He's a former MVP who changed the game with his scoring ability. That shouldn't be forgotten quite yet.

Ken Crites: I'd put my $1,000 on Chris Paul and a storybook ending to his career. My preferred longshot is Jayson Tatum, but he's only at +1500. I'll say Bam Adebayo (+3000), who's the real glue for Miami.

Mike Barner: $1,000 is big bucks! With that in mind, give me Giannis at +500. If the Bucks make it to the Finals and repeat, there's no way he doesn't win the award. Either Booker or Paul could win it for the Suns, and I like Giannis' chances of getting to the Finals better than both Durant's (+800) and Stephen Curry's (+1100). For a longshot bet, I'll go with Nikola Jokic (+3500). A lot has to go right for the Nuggets to advance that far, but if they can make it there, it will have been on Jokic's shoulders.

Jeff Edgerton: If the Sixers make it as far as I think, they will be carried on Embiid's back.  I would take him at +1500. Nikola Jokic would be a steal at +3500, but the Nuggets obviously need to put together a long, improbable run for that to happen.

Of the available Series Props, what's your favorite value bet?

Alex Barutha: Grizzlies to win series vs. Timberwolves (-330). This isn't too different from betting the Bucks -1000, but you are least getting some more profits here. Memphis is a Top-5 offense and defense -- it's hard to imagine them losing in the first round.

Nick Whalen: Golden State over Denver at -250 is probably my favorite bet (Milwaukee -1000 doesn't count), but in terms of value I think it has to be Toronto at +150 to beat Philadelphia. The Sixers are the most talented team and should win the series, but the James Harden-Doc Rivers combination worries me. If Philly drops Game 1 or Game 2 at home, things are going to get very interesting as the series shifts to Toronto.

James Anderson: Instead of a retirement fund, just put all the cash you have on hand on the Bucks at -1000. If you want to make a good return, bet the Raptors at +150. I'd take Toronto over Philly straight up, so this is the best value on the board.

Paul Martinez: Just for fun, I'll go with a buzzer beater in the Bucks-Bulls series (+1000). I'd like to think Chicago can hang tough and compete in a game or two, and there are few players I trust more to hit a game-winner than DeMar DeRozan

Henry Weinberg: The Bucks at -2.5 (-170) for the series spread against Chicago is nearly a lock for me. The odds aren't great, but parlaying it with another confident selection will add some value. Taking the Bucks to win the series 4-1 (+190) as an exact result yields a nice return.

Ken Crites: I'll take the Raptors +150 over Philly.

Mike Barner: I like taking a chance on the Nuggets to beat the Warriors at +210. It seems like Stephen Curry is trending towards playing in Game 1, but if he's not completely healthy, the Warriors could be in trouble. Jokic is a bad matchup for most teams, but especially for the Warriors, who don't have a ton of quality size up front.

Jeff Edgerton: I don't see the Warriors making it past the Nuggets, so I will take Denver at +260.

Give us your updated NBA Finals predictions.

Alex Barutha: Bucks-Suns. Bucks in 7.

Nick Whalen: Same result as last season. Bucks-Suns. Bucks in 6.

James Anderson: Before the season, I had Bucks over Warriors. While I think that's the second most likely matchup, I'm going to switch to Bucks over Suns in 7 games.

Paul Martinez: Suns-Celtics. Suns in 6 games.

Henry Weinberg: Nets-Suns. Suns in 7 games.

Brooklyn doesn't have a stout defensive matchup for Devin Booker. Deandre Ayton will have his moments bullying Andre Drummond and Nicolas Claxton. Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson continue to be routinely underrated. The Nets have the two best players across the rosters, but they also have the tougher path to get here. Phoenix has been the best team in basketball all year and I have no reason to think that stops.

Ken Crites: Celtics vs. Suns. Suns in 7.

Mike Barner: Suns over Bucks in 6 games. I feel the most confident about the Suns getting to the Finals out of any team in the West. It won't be easy for the Bucks, but they dodged the Nets in the first round, and they should be able to make quick work of the Bulls. That could set them up for a less-grueling playoff run. In the end, if Paul and Booker can stay healthy, I like them to finally get over the hump and bring home a title.

Jeff Edgerton: Suns vs Sixers. Suns in 6.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Whalen
Now in his 10th year with the company, Nick is RotoWire's Senior Media Analyst, a position he took on after several years as the Head of Basketball Content. A two-time FSWA award winner, Nick co-hosts RotoWire's flagship show on Sirius XM alongside Jeff Erickson. He also co-hosts RotoWire's Football and Basketball podcasts. You can catch Nick's NBA and NFL analysis on VSiN and DraftKings, as well as RotoWire's various social and video channels. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @wha1en.
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