NBA Championship Odds: 2023-2024 NBA Finals Odds, Favorites, Contenders, & Longshots

Fact Checked by Shannon Lane

In hindsight, we all should have bet on the Denver Nuggets early last season when the top players for other Western Conference teams kept dropping like flies due to injuries. Sure, Kentucky sports betting wasn't legal yet but there's no doubt that Denver was overlooked and underestimated by fans, analysts, and gamblers alike. 

Will this year be so easy? In the world of predicting outcomes in sports, nothing is a lock... except in hindsight. 😉

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NBA Championship Odds: Latest NBA Finals Odds

☘️ Boston Celtics+470
👑 Denver Nuggets+480
🦌 Milwaukee Bucks+600
☀️ Phoenix Suns+650
🔥 Miami Heat+1000
✅ Data Verified by Expert September 22, 2023

NBA betting sites setting the current NBA Finals odds seem to have forgotten about the Denver Nuggets championship already. 

FanDuel Sportsbook does not have the defending champs as the favorite (although they are close) and the Boston Celtics are at +470 to win the Larry O'Brien trophy, followed by Nikola Jokic's team at +480. 

The Milwaukee Bucks are +600 and the Phoenix Suns are +650, and everyone else has double-digit odds. So if an outlier emerges as the winner of the NBA's final best-of-seven series, what was wagered on prior to the start of the 2023-24 NBA season will be paying for our vacations next July. Among the double-digit odds teams, the lowest is on the Miami Heat at +1000. For those who cannot bear to bet against LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers are +1500.

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Who is favored to win the 2024 NBA Championship?

The Boston Celtics are the favorites to win the 2024 NBA Championship. 

After returning All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics added Kristaps Porzingis in a trade with Washington to bolster their offense with a Latvian player coming off his best NBA season. Coach Joe Mazzulla's team highlights the first ESPN telecast on Oct. 25 when they travel to Madison Square Garden to play the New York Knicks.

Jokic and the Nuggets are the headliners of the first game of the season when they will receive their championship rings at Ball Arena prior to the season opener against the Lakers in Denver. They return mostly intact, with Bruce Brown's departure for Indiana in free agency their only big loss.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks have the third-shortest odds to win the NBA title. Of course the Bucks have Giannis, but they also re-signed Khris Middleton, added Malik Beasley, and hired new coach Adrian Griffin to lead the team after cutting ties with Mike Budenholzer at the end of last season. Their first game is against reigning MVP Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on TNT Oct. 27 from the Fiserv Forum.

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What are the current NBA Championship Odds?

The fact of the matter is that there are 10 teams with a legitimate chance to win the NBA championship if things go well and the proper moves are made at the trade deadline. Miami was a play-in team last season but made it all the way to the finals, showing that cohesion and chemistry and veterans can still get the job done. 

There are a couple of teams, most notably the Heat, Sixers and Clippers, that still have changes in store as James Harden and Damian Lillard have open trade demands that remain unfulfilled.

NBA Champion: Opening Odds

The championship odds have remained mostly static throughout the summer, with Boston never dipping below +400 or above +500, and the Nuggets doing the same thing while remaining the second choice. What we want to keep an eye on in the weeks before the season begins are the odds on the Heat, where Lillard wants to land, and the odds on the Clippers, where Harden would like to be dealt. 

Also, there eventually will be a first championship for the Memphis Grizzlies, who acquired tough-as-nails defender Marcus Smart from Boston in the three-way Porzingis deal. At +3000, they could be the best value prop bet with those long odds to win NBA glory for Kentucky's southern neighbors.

NBA Finals Odds News

Player movement leads to odds movement, and if there is one thing that every NBA season has in common it is this: Somebody somewhere is going to want a change of scenery, and there will be trades. That right there is the best bet in the entire NBA. New front-office regimes want to remake their franchises, and players who were indispensable last season can become superfluous this season.

Major Offseason Developments

  • Phoenix Suns: Phoenix opened at +850 before making the trade for Bradley Beal, who comes over from the Washington Wizards and will likely be asked to play point guard after form Suns PG, Chris Paul was a part of the deal that brought Beal in. The Suns now have a superstar trip of Beal, Devin Booker, and Kevin Durant, which is why their odds moved so significantly.
  • Miami Heat: Miami opened at +1800 before Lillard told anyone who would listen that he wants out of Portland and wants to land in Miami. As a result, the Heat have reportedly been the only team making serious offers for the star point guard. Even if it costs them former Kentucky Wildcat Tyler Herro, the Heat will be vastly improved if Lillard joins Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
  • Dallas Mavericks: The Dallas Mavericks opened at +1700 and have moved to +2400 as the team has mostly stood pat throughout the summer, hoping that having a full season of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving together will be the panacea to deliver the first championship since 2011. No news has meant no action, and thus the line movement to longer odds.

NBA Championship Favorites

Now we are going to look at three teams in three general groups of expectations this year --  favorite, contender, and longshot -- that are wager-worthy for a number of reasons. 

There is some author bias here (we believe in full disclosure), so take that into account when considering what the best odds are. A rule of thumb at the home office is to hedge, so you should know it is OK to not put all of your eggs in one basket.

NBA Finals Bets: Best Favorite

Denver Nuggets +480

In case you have forgotten, these guys went 16-4 in the postseason, including 10-1 after being tied 2-2 with Phoenix in the second round. 

They won 10 of their last 11 games. 

They should probably be +200 to +275. They are not getting the respect they deserve, and you can be sure coach Michael Malone will use that as a motivator. 

Also, Jokic is the +430 MVP favorite in player awards futures markets, and he should probably be +150. Do with that information what you wish.

NBA Finals Bets: Best Contender

Memphis Grizzlies +3000

The team that plays closest to Kentucky's southern border picked up Marcus Smart from the Celtics for the price of Tyus Jones and a pair of first-round picks, and the next ESPN commentator who calls it the best deal of the summer will be the first. 

But anybody who understands basketball will tell you that defense wins championships, and elite perimeter defenders are nearly impossible to acquire.

Grizzlies general manager Zach Kleiman did it. Pairing Smart and Ja Morant (after Morant's 25-game suspension ends) and Desmond Bane in three-guard alignments is going to be very tough for opponents to handle.

NBA Finals Bets: Best Longshot

Sacramento Kings +5000

Sacramento was the highest-scoring team in the NBA last year and made a few off-season roster moves that seem to be flying under the radar. 

Most notably, the Kings brought in the reigning Euroleague MVP, Sasha Vezenkov.

Pairing Vezenkov with darkhorse MVP candidate Domantis Sabonis (+6000 in MVP futures) and reigning Clutch Player of the Year De'Aaron Fox, the Kings have the recipe to make a run. Keegan Murray and Malik Monk may not be household names outside of their own homes, but both are serious ballers. 

The Kings play in a small market and have not won a playoff series since 2004, but this team should not be overlooked. 

Western Conference Favorites

Phoenix Suns (+650)

  • Strengths: Star power in Durant, Beal, and Booker, three proven offensive studs.
  • Weaknesses: Not a single pure point guard on the roster.

Do you really need three superstars to win? Or did the Nuggets teach us otherwise?

Denver Nuggets (+475)

  • Strengths: Jokic is far and away the most talented center to come into the league in decades.
  • Weaknesses: The loss of Bruce Brown in free agency deletes a glue guy and locker room leader.

They are capable of losing because it happened twice in a row in the second round against Phoenix.

Golden State Warriors (+1400)

  • Strengths: Steph Curry now has Chris Paul backing him up at point guard and the front office was able to bring back Draymond Green.
  • Weaknesses: Among title contenders, the Warriors may lack depth in the front court. 

Steve Kerr always manages to get the most out of his veterans, which is why these guys have been to six of the past nine NBA Finals.

Eastern Conference Favorites

Boston Celtics (+470)

  • Strengths: Jayson Tatum is coming off the best season of his career and is underappreciated as one of the league's elite players. Porzingis more than adequately replaces the departed Grant Williams.
  • Weaknesses: Smart was their stopper, and nobody on the roster can give them what he did. Mazzulla is one 4-game losing streak away from the hottest of hot seats.

Let us not forget that these guys were 7 1/2 point favorites against Miami in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, at home no less, and were toast by halftime.

Milwaukee Bucks (+600)

  • Strengths: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday are two of the top five or six on-the-ball defenders in the entire NBA. New addition Malik Beasley made 275 3-pointers last season and 280 the previous season.
  • Weaknesses: They have not matched up well with Miami for several seasons, and they may need to be on the opposite side of the playoff bracket.

New coach Adrian Griffin is an untested commodity when it comes to leading a team with legitimate championship aspirations. Still, the Beasley pickup was just what they needed. Grayson Allen should be looking over his shoulder.

Miami Heat (+1000)

  • Strengths: Jimmy Butler is known as "Playoff Jimmy Butler" for a reason, and if they can get Lillard from Portland without sacrificing much more than Herro, look out. You will not see them at +1000 if they pull that deal off.
  • Weaknesses: They lollygag through the regular season and then flip a switch come playoff time, which eventually undermines preparedness if the wrong playoff opponent comes along.

They run hot and cold like a leaky faucet. We saw it against the Knicks in the second round, and in Games 4, 5, and 6 against Boston. Lillard would probably change that.

NBA Championship Contenders

When you go down the odds board and try to identify worthy flyer wager candidates, you can convince yourself of just about anything. So the trick when gambling on NBA title odds is to balance the likelihood of success with the ability to withstand a financial loss. 

There are 30 NBA teams, and 29 of them will have their seasons end in failure. 

With that in mind, we search for undervalued contenders.

Memphis Grizzlies (+3000)

  • Strengths: They had the second-best record in the West last season at 51-31, and they have added Marcus Smart and Derrick Rose.
  • Weaknesses: Dillon Brooks, was a chemistry guy and a terrific defender on bigs. Steven Adams is outmatched against the West's elite centers.

When shopping for value, consider that this team won 51 games. Only six teams won that many.

Sacramento Kings (+5000)

  • Strengths: They run much of their offense out of Sabonis in the low point, making him a different type of point-center than Jokic, the only other NBA player who can be called a point-center.
  • Weaknesses: Two decades of not winning a single playoff series east at your confidence before Day 1 of training camp. "I play for Sacramento, so therefore I am not winning."

Much like the Grizzlies at +3000, the Kings at +5000 makes little sense given their third-place finish in the West last season. They are fast and flashy without being considered a favorite. 

Los Angeles Clippers (+2000)

  • Strengths: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, if they can manage to play the majority of the season together, are a frighteningly good combo.
  • Weaknesses: The term "load management" originated with Kawhi, who seems never as healthy or sharp as he was in his San Antonio/Toronto days.

This is the team that James Harden wants to go to, and if they land him and pair him with Russell Westbrook, Leonard, and George, that is kind of scary good in the abstract.

Eastern Conference Contenders

Cleveland Cavaliers (+2000)

  • Strengths: Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen are the best defensive big-man tandem in the East, and Max Strus was a savvy free-agent pickup. These guys were one of those six 51-win squads.
  • Weaknesses: They were outcoached by the Knicks in losing 4-1 in the first round after entering as heavy favorites.

Donovan Mitchell is a superstud playing for a coach, J.B. Bickerstaff, who has a lot to prove to keep Dan Gilbert from telephoning Jeff Van Gundy.

New York Knicks (+5500)

  • Strengths: Jalen Brunson became an elite player last season, Julius Randle was already in that stratosphere, and Mitchell Robinson can possibly be dealt (along with stashed No. 1 picks) for a better center.
  • Weaknesses: Robinson's inability to make free throws means that teams just foul him rather than let him attempt a shot. Those types of players limit you.

Donte DiVincenzo was an excellent pickup, and re-signing Jason Hart was crucial. Leon Rose has too many stashed No. 1 picks to sit on them forever.

Atlanta Hawks (+7500)

  • Strengths: When you have a player who shines in the spotlight as brightly as Trae Young, you can go places.
  • Weaknesses: Dejounte Murray and DeAndre Hunter are both overdue for meeting expectations. Depth in the frontcourt is lacking.

This was the NBA's "it" team just a couple of years back, and the core has been together long enough to start sniffing that 51-win club we keep mentioning.

NBA Championship Longshots

These teams are long shots for good reason. We put on the "eternal optimist" hat before writing the next six paragraphs.

Western Conference Longshots

Minnesota Timberwolves (+8500)

  • Strengths: When both are healthy, Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns are a Twin Towers duo that no team can match up with. Just for kicks, can they play those two alongside Naz Reid?
  • Weaknesses: They are a good team in a conference with several great teams.

Anthony Edwards is making a lot of noise with Team USA and appears ready to move to the next level. Staying healthy is paramount.

Oklahoma City Thunder (+8500)

  • Strengths: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was first-team All-NBA, and he has a better chance of being a playoff winner if Josh Giddey can become the triple-double machine he looked like two seasons ago.
  • Weaknesses: They are crazy young, which never really works out in the postseason.

Chet Holmgren finally debuts after missing all of last season with a foot injury. One major trade away from being a Top 8 lock.

Portland Trail Blazers (+25000)

  • Strengths: Scoot Henderson will have a chance to average 30 as a rookie if Lillard is dealt.
  • Weaknesses: Lillard's situation is a summertime distraction, and his insistence on going to Miami has deterred other teams from trying to trade for him.

We have to wait and see what they get for Lillard, but if it is a nice haul they can be a play-in team (Miami was a play-in team last year, and that worked out OK for them.)

Eastern Conference Longshots

Brooklyn Nets (+10000)

  • Strengths: Mikal Bridges showed himself to be an All-Star level offensive talent, which is why he is favored for Most Improved Player.
  • Weaknesses: They have Ben Simmons on their team.

Nobody will take them seriously, and they will use that as motivation to win games they shouldn't win.

Toronto Raptors (+10000)

  • Strengths: O.G, Anonuby is the best perimeter defender you may not have known about, and Pascal Siakam can bring a ton in return in a trade.
  • Weaknesses: The uncertainty regarding Siakam's long-term future is the elephant in the room.

They lost Fred Van Vleet in free agency, which hurts, but they will give it a go with Dennis Schroder, who should be in each of your fantasy drafts at a minimum.

Chicago Bulls (+13000)

  • Strengths: On paper, they are better than the Nets and Raptors, who have shorter odds.
  • Weaknesses: They have been underperforming since the Obama Administration.

Zach Lavine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic are damn good players. Something is missing here when those three can only manage a No. 9 finish as they did last season.

Author

Chris Sheridan is a veteran NBA writer who has been covering the league since 1992, with a specialty in international basketball after being credentialed for every Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta. He has been covering sports gambling since 2018.

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