After the Lebracle was over and Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh all joined forces in Miami I was curious how Vegas felt. Vegas thinks they are the favorite, last I saw 3 to 2. Now that Miami has already added Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller to the mix I do not have much of a beef as to them being the favorite. When it was just Bosh, James and Wade I would have argued that the Lakers are still better due to the mismatches inside and the (now) easier path to get there through the Western Conference as evidenced by three of the top four teams’ odds to win are from the East.
Miami Heat: 3/2
LA Lakers: 3/1
Orlando Magic: 7/1
Boston Celtics: 10/1
Oklahoma City, Dallas Mavericks: 15/1
Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers: 20/1
Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Phoenix, Utah: 25/1
Memphis, Milwaukee Bucks, Clippers, New Orleans: 50/1
Everyone else: 100/1 or worse.
Bucks Decent Longhot Bet
For a moment forget about how dominant Miami could be or how dominant the Lakers are. NBA future betting, or any future betting, is about finding a long-shot that is undervalued and taking a shot on them. It makes no sense to bet on the Heat or even the Lakers with those odds, you would have to risk too much to come out ahead and one or two injuries and your bet is shot. Now take the Bucks, 50/1. If you had $100, and were in Vegas(wink, wink) you would be risking $100 to win $5000, if you threw in $1000(I would want to shake your hand for either having huge balls, or you are nuts, or both) you would win $50,000. That is more than the average US household annual income.
What Milwaukee Added
Other than Miami has anybody had a CLEARLY better off season than Milwaukee? I go into further detail here in my Bucks Offseason Report Card. The Bucks have added Corey Maggette, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Drew Gooden. The Bucks have lost Dan Gadzuric and Charlie Bell, fans will not lose sleep over either player, although Bell did provide solid perimeter defense. The Bucks also added first round draft pick Larry Sanders, the rookie is turning heads in the summer league and at the very worst can give the Bucks a defensive boost coming off the bench. At least more than Dan Gadzuric could give.
In addition to the additions, the Bucks retained John Salmons through free agency, something that seemed doubtful after he opted out. Andrew Bogut is expected to return from injury healthy and ready to go. Brandon Jennings got valuable playoff experience and will have been through one cycle of the NBA grind. He will only get better. Ersan Ilyasova and Luc Mbah A Moute remain in the rotation, two important role players who are both young and will also benefit from last years playoff experience.
Compare To Teams Above Milwaukee
Where I think this bet becomes much better is when I look at the teams favored ahead of them.
Atlanta 40/1: Milwaukee took Atlanta to game 7 without Bogut. The Bucks have added Maggette, CDR, Gooden and Sanders, the Hawks re-signed Joe Johnson to the highest contract given out this free agency period. Safe to say I feel the Bucks have passed Atlanta.
Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Phoenix, Utah 25/1:
- I do not think Chicago is a better bet than Milwaukee, both teams will battle it out for the division and that team will get a first round series at home.
- The Spurs have had age finally catch up, I do not feel they are a contender.
- Nobody knows what is going on in Phoenix with their roster, last year was as close as I think they can get.
- Utah lost Carlos Boozer and signd Wesley Mathews, I like Mathews but he was overpaid. The Jazz did add Al Jefferson, but his health has to be a concern.
- I have no idea why Houston is this high to begin with, I think the Bucks are a more legit contender at this point so I would love getting the better odds, 50/1 for the better team.
Denver Nuggets, Portland Trailblazers: 20/1
- I have no problem with Denver being ahead of the Bucks. I feel neither team is a major threat to win it all, however, so I would rather place my money on a playoff team with the better odds. I do not think Denver is any more of a legitimate contender than Milwaukee at this point.
- I like Portland but something odd is going on there with the GM getting fired but still running the draft, another team that I do not see being head and shoulders above Milwaukee.
What we are left with are the favorites
Miami Heat: 3/2 I understand why they are the favorites but these odds do not make them worth the trouble, you get nothing back on your investment.
LA Lakers: 3/1 Of the favorites I still like the Lakers but again 3/1 does not provide enough bang for your buck. How would you feel dropping $1000 on LA, only to win $3000, then see Kobe go out with a knee injury in January. Yikes!
Orlando Magic: 7/1 Here the odds start getting better for the good teams, will Orlando bounce back after their disappointing exit last year? A series that was dominated by the Celtics.
Boston Celtics: 10/1 This question will come up for as long as the Celtics are contenders with Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, how much is left in the tank? I love Rondo, as I made a case for how few the number of players that exist that I would take over him. I also like Doc Rivers, but this team has miles on the tires and the tread is wearing.
Oklahoma City, Dallas Mavericks: 15/1 With Kevin Durant and the other young players on the OC roster they are intriguing. I feel the window is closed on the Mavericks.
There it is, with two dominant favorites, Miami Heat and LA Lakers, it does not make a lot of sense to go with either of them, the odds do not pay out enough. If Kobe goes out for a few weeks or longer the Lakers would be in trouble seeding wise and it would be too tough for them to make it to the Finals, not worth the risk at 3/1. The Heat are heavy favorites but you don’t even double your money on it.
The Bucks on the other hand provide great odds at 50/1 and lets face it, for either the Heat or Lakers to not win the title something crazy is going to have to happen. If you bet on any team other than maybe Boston I think you are throwing your money away, so might as well throw it away on Milwaukee.