Do you really think that a +4000 price on the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers meeting for the second straight season for the NBA title is a better value than, say, the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns facing each other in the NBA Finals?
If you do, you need to learn a little something about value.
On the other hand, if you DO understand value, then you might be able to take advantage of numbers that are maybe not as "on target" as they should be.
2021 NBA Finals Matchup Odds
This isn't the fault of an oddsmaker, mind you, as much as it is a reflection of what they think the public perception is, and is going to be. So in a case like that you are going to have a strong bias toward the Los Angeles teams winning the Western Conference title, for instance, than for Utah and Phoenix, not located in major media centers, who actually occupy the top two slots.
By and large, you can get a price on the appearance of the Suns in various possible Finals matchups that would produce twice the potential payout as the Jazz. For instance, it is +2200 that the Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks will meet in the Finals, while the price is +4500 that it will be the Suns against the Bucks.
Well, if you have been following basketball, you are well aware that Utah does not have twice as good a chance of winning the Western Conference as Phoenix does. First of all, in my humble opinion, the Suns still have an opportunity to gain first place through the implementation of the tie-breaker, since they already own that advantage.
And if that happens, Utah will have stripped from it one of things that has given it a lot of strength this season, which is the home court advantage throughout the playoffs. At 26-4, the Jazz have been deadly in Salt Lake City, although we must note that when opponents have had at least a little time to acclimate themselves to the altitude, such a thing doesn't bother them so much.
And when you have ten games to go, and so little separating them, how can you have such a disparity in terms of those NBA Finals matchup prices? And how can Utah be +300 to win the West while Phoenix is +500?
And while we're at it, how can the Lakers be priced to bring back lower returns than either of them? Even when they were healthy, they were not the equal of Utah, and they're a mess right now.
The injuries have put them in a position where they might have to engage in a play-in series, and if that is the case, anything can happen, especially if they had to go up against Portland.
Yet they are +165 to win the West? You'd have to be doing it on a lark to think you were getting a good deal with that.
And Miami can find itself in the play-in as well. In fact, it's more likely, as they have to beat out Boston for the #6 spot in the East.
So how does it figure that +4000 on a Heat-Lakers final is a better situation for you to bet into than +4500 on a final series between the Suns, who have a genuine MVP candidate in Chris Paul creating boundless chemistry and bringing everything together, and the Sixers, who have engaged in a nip-and-tuck battle against Brooklyn for the #1 Eastern Conference seed with their own MVP candidate, Joel Embiid?
I don't know if you have ever wondered whether you are a "sharp" or a "square," or have ever heard those terms, but the way you'd answer the above question would go a long way toward determining which of those you are.
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