Guide to Betting on NBA PlayoffsPublished April 20, 2010 by OCR Editor
Cavs, Lakers favored to meet in NBA finals, but history shows that might not happen.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers finished with the best two records in the NBA regular season and the odds suggest the two will meet again in the NBA finals, but many key indicators show one of the two could miss out.
History and form suggest the Cavs will need some luck to win the championship. Although they finished the season with a league-best 61-21 record, Lebron James' men blew an even better record last year when they lost the Eastern Conference finals to the Orlando Magic.
And with the Cavs and Lakers relying so much on LeBron and on Kobe Bryant respectively, an injury to either one of those players will make the attainment of this year's NBA championship almost impossible.
Aside from the usual indicators of history and form, we recommend that those betting look at NBA playoff odds based on Hollinger's power rankings, formulated by ESPN.com's John Hollinger.
Although complicated, the formula is essentially this: a computer at ESPN headquarters simulates the rest of the season 5,000 times based on results already played, then assigns a probability to each team's chances.
The results are surprising. According to the computer, the Orlando Magic, second in the east with a 59-23 record, has a 44.8 percent chance of winning the Eastern Conference and making the NBA finals again, while Cleveland has just a 25.4 percent chance of going through. Orlando is also the most likely to win the championship, at 29.5, ahead of Cleveland 12.9, and the West's third seed Phoenix, 10.9. Incredibly, the Los Angeles Lakers, defending NBA champions and number one seed in the West, are just a 3.9 percent chance.
With most bookmakers offering odds on the championship, on each series in the first round and on nightly matchups, and some including William Hill Sports even offering live play betting, there's a lot to think about.