Is it worth betting on the Bucks to win the NBA Finals?

milwaukee bucks

For all the talk about the battle of Los Angeles in the NBA this season, much of which has been justified, the league’s most formidable outfit right now appears to be last year’s Eastern Conference finalists, Milwaukee.

Eight successive Lakers wins have seen them ascend to the top of the West at 35-7, five wins ahead of the Clippers who boast a steady 27-13 record.

But the Milwaukee Bucks have not been fazed whatsoever by the loss of former Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, nor Nikola Mirotic. Many expected the Bucks to find it difficult without the pair, but, instead, they look to be hitting their stride.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is the face of Milwaukee and the reigning MVP just gets better in every department as he nears his peak. The Greek Freak is averaging 29.8 points per game in 2019-20, and now has a jump shot in his arsenal that makes him almost impossible to guard.

The oddsmakers can now hardly separate the Bucks, Lakers, and Clippers in the NBA Championship winner betting market. Each franchise is now priced at around +300 with NBA betting sites.

Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers began the season as +300 favourites, with the Lakers slightly higher at +400 and Milwaukee a +500 outsider in comparison.

With all three now having the same odds, it appears that punters are hopping on board with the Lakers and Bucks, which is unsurprising given their respective records.

There is no shortage of championship pedigree on either the Clippers or the Lakers roster, but the same can’t really be said for Milwaukee. For this reason, it may be fair to question whether it is the best idea to grab them now at +300 when the majority of the public is buying in and swinging the odds.

It should not be forgotten that the Bucks could not get it done in the playoffs last year despite having the best record in the East. Mike Budenholzer’s team look like arguably the best team in basketball right now but getting past the combination of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, or Paul George and last year’s finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, over seven games in the finals if they get that far, is another feat altogether.

Value can certainly be found elsewhere in the outright winner market, with a number of other teams staking their claim. One of those is the Philadelphia 76ers, who opened at +750 and have drifted out to +1100 with some sportsbooks. A glance at the standings would indicate why, but the Sixers’ home record is one to be reckoned with and if Joel Embiid remains healthy throughout the playoffs, they are a match for anyone.

Philadephia swept aside Milwaukee when the teams met on Christmas Day, and the Sixers have also beaten the Boston Celtics, the second-ranked team in the East, three times this season. Philly shows up when the big boys come to town and you can consider the buy-low window open.

The Houston Rockets have drifted slightly from +700 to +900, but it would require a turnaround in James Harden’s playoff performances to date for that to be considered a worthwhile value punt.

Denver, Utah, Dallas and Miami are dark horses, but unless you are using bonus money from one of the many sign up offers on the market, you may be best served sticking to the bigger favourites.