By Adam Thompson | | 7 mins
Best NBA Title Futures Bets To Back: Celtics, Suns & More
The post-All-Star Game portion of the NBA season begins on Thursday. Each team has played roughly 60 of its 82 games, and this stretch run is when the contenders begin to show themselves.
Bookies.com NBA handicapper Adam Thompson has unearthed several teams worth adding to your futures bankroll before the value fades away.
Point Differential A Key Indicator
The NBA season is notoriously long, and let’s face it, we know teams will sit players for rest at times, and players themselves may not give 100% effort every night in the dog days of winter.
But when it’s time to shine, the best teams shine.
Over the last nine years, prior to a strike-shortened 2011-12, all but one of the NBA championship teams ranked in the top five in wins. The one exception was last year, when Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks were seventh.
2021-22 Top Five Teams With Most Wins
An even better indicator is the point differential over the course of a season. All nine champions in that span have ranked top five, and all but two have finished in the top three in the regular season.
In other words, it’s very rare for an upstart to win the title.
NBA Finals runner-up teams are considerably more inconsistent in both those trends. Five of the nine second-place teams have been top five in differential, though only three in the top three (and in all three instances, they lost to a team that was also top three).
Based on those two key nuggets, we can already narrow down the list dramatically to help you make your best bets on betting apps this week.
2021-22 Top Five Teams: Points Differential
Let’s get down to it. Here are four teams worth backing right now and where to find them with the best NBA odds for each:
Odds: +450 at BetMGM
The Suns have the NBA’s best record by a wide margin – at 48-10, they’re 6.5 games better than the Golden State Warriors and 10.5 games higher than the top teams in the East, the Bulls and Heat (each 38-21).
Not only that, they’re crushing the opposition. Phoenix averages 8.1 ppg more than its opponent, easily ahead of the next teams on the list. There is one caveat with going with the leader. It’s been five seasons since the regular-season leader in wins or point differential actually won the title. The last four champs have ranked from third to fifth in differential. You can grab these +450 odds at BetMGM.
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Odds: +1700 at DraftKings
Utah has two perennial All-Stars, including multi-time defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. This season they’re hitting the mark in points differential, and at 36-22 are tied with the defending champion Bucks for sixth in the wins column.
The concern is a consistent lack of progression in the rugged Western Conference Playoffs. Despite five consecutive playoff appearances, Utah has yet to even reach the Western Conference Finals. Last season, the Jazz were the No. 1 seed in the West but lost to the Clippers in the second round.
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Odds: +2700 at Caesars
The Celtics (34-26) are only No. 6 in the East at the All-Star Break, but their fifth-ranked points differential could be a sign of what they’re capable of when motivated and healthy. They are a modest 9-9 when Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown are out, but both are roaring now and Boston won nine of ten into the break.
Boston has reached the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last five seasons. Perhaps this is the year the stars plus a top-shelf defense get it over the hump.
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Odds: +3000 at FanDuel
The odds suggest few NBA betting fans are giving Memphis much of a chance to get past the Suns and Warriors in the West. But its top-five ranking in wins and differential suggest a legit contender resides in Tennessee – if it can keep it up.
Two reasons to suggest it could: The Grizzlies rank second in both road record and record vs. West teams, behind the Suns in both. Memphis is 2-1 vs. Golden State so far and 1-1 vs. Phoenix, with road wins vs. each. These odds at FanDuel look good right now.
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