Three Best Bets For NBA Playoffs: Back First-Time Champion

Also expect a tough Cavaliers-Knicks series


Apr 6, 2023

With the NBA regular season dwindling down and the playoffs fast approaching, let’s examine three bets to make on the NBA postseason.

We’ll start with possible league history in crowning a first-time champion.

First-time champion +170 on DraftKings
There are several teams who haven’t captured an NBA championship yet. The Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz to be exact. Obviously, a few of these teams are play-in team placeholders at best. However, you could make a strong case for the Clippers, Grizzlies, Suns and Nuggets. More on who I’m choosing out of this bunch later. But with a handful of teams as a realistic option, it’s worth a sprinkle on a first-time champion at +170 available on DraftKings.

Cavaliers in 7-game exact finish vs. Knicks +360 on DraftKings
New York won the regular-season matchup between these two, and I believe they are being slightly undervalued here in this first-round series. Knicks star Julius Randle has been out of the lineup since late March with an ankle injury but is expected to be back healthy for the playoffs. Although Cleveland is the lower seed and has home-court advantage throughout the series, I would argue the Knicks still have an edge at the mecca of Madison Square Garden, and it will be extremely difficult for the Cavs to get wins there. Ultimately, Cleveland is a more talented team with a higher ceiling, and that’s why I like them in a long series, but the Knicks have been together longer and have built chemistry through continuity. New York could be ready to pull the upset, but at the very least, it will be a tough out. I’ll cautiously take the Cavaliers in a 7-game exact finish vs. the Knicks at +360 on DraftKings.

Phoenix Suns Western Conference champion +210 on DraftKings
There won’t be a dull moment in how the West will be won this postseason. Gone are the days of a dominant Golden State team sitting at the top and everybody else just trying to catch up. The Warriors already have dealt with so much adversity, from the Draymond Green-Jordan Poole drama to a bunch of injuries all season. Obviously, they still are the champs until somebody beats them, but this season could prove to be more challenging for the dynasty out West than previous years. Denver is perched at the top right now but just recently was called out by head coach Mike Malone for being “soft.” That’s not exactly the endorsement you are looking for from a No. 1 seed. Ultimately, I think the combination of talent, coaching and experience lends itself to the Suns coming out of the West. Devin Booker has emerged as one of the best players in this league, Chris Paul is the savvy veteran true point guard, Deandre Ayton is a physical big man and Kevin Durant is one of the all-time greats. Therefore, I’m backing the Phoenix Suns as the Western Conference champion at +210 available on DraftKings.

Thumbnail photo via Alonzo Adams/USA TODAY Sports Images

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