Bettors are backing a Denver Nuggets repeat ahead of the 2023-24 NBA season.
The Nuggets are the No. 3 favorite to win the NBA Finals at +550 at BetMGM behind the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. And as both Eastern Conference juggernauts have undergone offseason makeovers, the Nuggets’ rotation is largely the same. The defending champions’ biggest departure of the offseason was Bruce Brown. And though he was a vital part of the team that beat the Miami Heat for the title in June, the Nuggets are well-positioned to make up for his absence. After all, Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray haven't gone anywhere.
Denver is getting nearly 20% of bets and 38% of the money placed on teams to win the NBA Finals and is by far the most-popular title pick. The Phoenix Suns are bettors’ No. 2 choice, but the Suns (+650) are getting just 14% of bets and 13% of the handle.
Boston and Milwaukee open as co-favorites
The Bucks became favorites to win the NBA Finals after trading for Damian Lillard. Days later, the Celtics joined them as co-favorites after trading for Jrue Holiday — the main player the Bucks traded to Portland for Lillard.
Both Boston and Milwaukee open the season at +400 to win the NBA title and are +175 to win the Eastern Conference. But neither trade has made bettors think there’s value in placing a bet. The Celtics are getting just 8% of the handle to win the Finals while the Bucks are at 5% of the money.
While the Bucks and Celtics are far and away the two favorites to win the East, sharp money has been on the Miami Heat. The Heat’s odds to win the conference are at +1300 and 15% of the handle is on Miami. However, it’s worth noting that the Heat were long viewed as the frontrunners to land Lillard in an offseason trade and could have been a target of speculative bettors before Milwaukee landed the longtime Blazers star.
Who’s behind Denver in the West?
Denver is +250 to win the West and just ahead of the Phoenix Suns at +300. The Suns are the No. 4 Finals favorite at +650 and there’s a significant gap behind them to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers are at +1300 to win the Finals, while the Warriors are at +1400.
The Warriors have shorter Western Conference odds than the Lakers despite having longer Finals odds. Golden State is +700 to win the West, while the Lakers are +750. Just under 14% of the money placed on the Western Conference winner is on the Lakers, while less than 5% of the handle is on the Warriors to advance to the Finals.
A sneaky long-shot pick of bettors to win the West is Oklahoma City. The young Thunder are +4000 to win the conference and are getting the fourth-most bets (8%) and money (just over 6%) to get to the Finals.