Betting Guide: Las Vegas Gives Boston Celtics 80-1 Odds To Win NBA Championship


So you’re saying there’s a chance…?

In the year 2000, a Greek-Canadian college student by the name of Haralabos Voulgaris won $500,000 after wagering his entire life savings on a bet having the Los Angeles Lakers winning the 1999-2000 Championship at 6.5-1 odds.

Prior to this jackpot, Voulgaris spent the entirety of his college years working at his self-started porter company in his local airport. He hauled people’s luggage everyday after classes for countless hours before finally amassing a small fortune of $70,000. Voulgaris took all of this money and left his fate up to Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and the rest of the ’99-’00 Lakers.

In hindsight, this bet may seem like a no-brainer, but at that time, it took a special kind of mind to notice how flawed these odds were. The few people who have actually managed to make a career out of sports betting have an advanced knowledge of each team’s tendencies and abilities, and can thus recognize an exploitable line when they see one.

Of course, Vegas is quite good at what they do (why else would they keep building resorts in the desert?), so even the best betters lose often. But as long as you win more than you lose, you’re making money. Voulgaris has won far more than he has lost in his career, as he boasts a 70% win rate on NBA games (this includes moneylines, live-betting, over/unders and spreads).

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While us common folk can dream that we can win 70% of the time, it’s a virtually impossible feat considering the mathematical masterminds Vegas employs. But maybe, just maybe, there will be another line out there like Voulgaris’ 6.5-1 Lakers one.

Maybe it will be with this year’s odds, so let’s examine Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s odds for each team to win the 2016 NBA Championship (all odds are as of Oct. 19).

  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 9-4
  • Golden State Warriors: 5-1
  • Oklahoma City Thunder: 5-1
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 10-1
  • San Antonio Spurs: 12-1
  • Chicago Bulls: 12-1
  • Houston Rockets: 20-1
  • New Orleans Pelicans: 20-1
  • Atlanta Hawks: 20-1
  • Memphis Grizzlies: 30-1
  • Miami Heat: 30-1
  • Toronto Raptors: 30-1
  • Washington Wizards: 30-1
  • Indiana Pacers: 30-1
  • Dallas Mavericks: 40-1
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 40-1
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 80-1
  • Los Angeles Lakers: 80-1
  • Boston Celtics: 80-1
  • Detroit Pistons: 80-1
  • Phoenix Suns: 80-1
  • Utah Jazz: 80-1
  • New York Knicks: 80-1
  • Denver Nuggets: 80-1
  • Brooklyn Nets: 100-1
  • Sacramento Kings: 100-1
  • Charlotte Hornets: 200-1
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: 200-1
  • Orlando Magic: 200-1
  • Philadelphia 76ers: 200-1

Top-3 Most Enticing Odds

  • Golden State Warriors at 5 to 1

Gun to my head – if I had to put my non-existent mortgage down on any bet, I’d go with the Golden State Warriors at 5 to 1. They just won the NBA championship and haven’t gotten any worse. They’re young, elite on offense, elite on defense and extremely well-coached. The biggest thing is that there are practically zero discernible flaws in this team, making it surprising why they have 5 to 1 odds.

All everybody’s talked about this offseason was how “lucky” the team was last postseason, how they had the easiest route to the Finals and how they didn’t have any injuries. While that may be true, they were still the NBA’s best team last season. They’re also deep enough to cover for any injured player not named for Steph Curry for stretches during the regular season.

If it was up to me, I’d have the Warriors at +275 – not the Cavaliers. I also get the feeling betting on Cleveland – regardless of the sport – is a losing formula. Thus, the Warriors are my favorites to win the title and thus, safest mortgage-wagering bet.

  • Houston Rockets at 20 to 1

I’m extremely tempted to put $100 down on the Rockets and then pray Dwight Howard remains healthy for the entire season. The Rockets really need him healthy for the postseason though, as Howard historically plays at his best during the playoffs (see 2015, 2009).

The Rockets have the intriguing up-and-comer center, Clint Capela to back-up Howard, which should be an exciting story line to add to a team many people deem the opposite of excitement. However, don’t expect to see any less Hack-A-Shaq with Capela in, seeing as he hit a titanically abysmal 17.4% from the free-throw line last season.

Trevor Ariza‘s historically skilled from the corner three, but he struggled from there last season. I’m willing to believe he will return to 40% shooter from three again this season as he’s already shown major improvements this preseason. This team will need him to remain a consistent threat from behind-the-arc because if players have to guard him at the perimeter, it’ll mean more spacing for James Harden to continue breaking down opposing defenses, leading to more ticky-tack fouls and trips to the FT line.

Of course, Harden will need to remain in MVP-form for the Rockets to even sniff a Conference Finals game.

  •  San Antonio Spurs at 12-1

Back in August, the Spurs actually had 3-1 odds, but for whatever reason, SA’s odds plummeted to 12-1. I have zero clue as to why this was, but their initial odds were indeed way too high and likely driven up by San Antonio’s collective excitement once they acquired LaMarcus Aldridge. Now that a few months have passed, and the buzz has worn off, it seems that Vegas is now underrating the Spurs.

Sure, I see the reasons why they aren’t necessarily a favorite: age, questions regarding the Duncan-Aldridge frontcourt fit and the impact of Tiago Splitter‘s departure. But between the defense-torching Aldridge, the T-1000 Tim Duncan, and the best wing defender in the league, Kawhi Leonard, the team is a hell lot better than 12 to 1 suggests.

Top-2 Odds To Avoid Betting On

  • Chicago Bulls: 12 to 1

This is Jimmy Butler‘s team now but there just isn’t enough room for his and Derrick Rose‘s ego. I look at the teams with similar odds like the Clippers, Spurs and Rockets, and think I could see any of them pull off a championship. But with Chicago, I just don’t see it.

Noah’s health should be a huge concern and Nikola Mirotic fires too many threes for a guy who shoots 31%. Plus having a new coach installed into a team accustomed to a wildly different system seems like a recipe for disaster.

  • Miami Heat: 30 to 1

Everyone thinks they’re so damn clever for hailing the Heat as underdogs for this season, but the biggest problem with Miami is that their second-best player/closer Dwyane Wade is 33 and basically has one knee. Meanwhile, their best player – Chris Bosh – is 31 and coming off of a season-ending injury.

Their high-priced trade-deadline prize, Goran Dragic has only had one all-star caliber season and is too poor of a shooter to be that starting lineup’s biggest threat from behind-the-arc. How is he supposed to drive to the lane when it’s already clogged? And while Bosh has grown into a serviceable three-point shooter, he’s best inside the arc with his face-up game. Plus, is there a big enough sample size yet for us to know whether the mercurial Hassan Whiteside is stable enough to remain an NBA player?

What 80-1 Odds Say About The Boston Celtics

As Celtics fans we’ve had to endure far too many preseason predictions pegging the Celtics to land in the lottery. But the words of talking heads are inconsequential compared to the word of Las Vegas. However, Vegas has the Celtics right where the pundits had them. For betters, Vegas underrating the Celtics could be a very good thing.

For instance, when the team rallied after the All-Star break, they weren’t expected to have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference. We kept watching them win and we knew how good they were, but the lines still largely favored the Celtics’ opponents. When the Celtics kept winning, it meant more money for Celtics homers and less money for Vegas.

Since our bias for the Celtics derives from our attentiveness to them, it may mean that we have a slight advantage over Vegas. If the team does prove to be a top-5 Eastern Conference team, Vegas will quickly adjust, though. This means that the best time to cash-in would be during the first month of the Celtics’ season when they’ll be largely expected to lose. In their first 20 games, the Celtics will be playing a bunch of middle-of-the-road teams who were granted better odds than the Celtics. This includes Toronto, Indiana, Washington and Milwaukee.

So if you plan to bet any games this month, do it against one of these teams, particularly Washington or Indiana – two teams who are planning to make major changes to their starting rotation, which could result in a poor start to the season.

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