Favorite Series Props for 2023 NBA Finals

By David Delano Marotta

With only two teams left playing in the NBA season, there are limited options if you are only betting on the point spread or game totals, but there are a lot more opportunities with series props. Here are my favorite props for the 2023 NBA Finals with the odds according to DraftKings.

May 16, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) dribbles the ball up court in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers during game one of the Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Jamal Murray to win MVP (+1400)
The race for the NBA Finals MVP revolves around the star players on the winning team. While Nikola Jokic is the favorite to win the award, with -360 odds, Jamal Murray presents a much more enticing option with +1400 odds. Murray has been sensational in the playoffs, averaging 27.7 points per game and demonstrating his ability to perform under pressure. Notably, he showcased his abilities as an elite scorer with an impressive 32.5 points per game in the four-game sweep over the Lakers. Although Jokic remains the frontrunner, there is little value in taking him because the value is not much better than just taking the Nuggets to win the series outright, which will force you to risk a lot and only win a marginal return. Murray’s odds provide a more significant potential payout, even if you only risk a small wager.

Nuggets to win the series 4-2 (+400)
History often repeats itself, and when it comes to the length of the NBA Finals series, a six-game outcome has been the most common over the past several years, as the previous four NBA Finals have ended in six games. With the Nuggets being the favored team, as indicated by the -425 odds, a 4-2 series victory becomes a much more appealing option at +400 odds. I expect the Nuggets to win this series, but given the Heat’s strong team culture, momentum, and Erik Spoelstra possibly being the best coach in the NBA, I don’t see Miami laying down and getting swept. Although the Nuggets should win this series, this prop offers a much better balanced risk-reward ratio, aligning with the historical trends of recent NBA Finals.

Player to Make a Field Goal at the End of any Quarter as Time Expires with no chance for the opponent to inbound the ball.
Nikola Jokic, with +500 odds for a two-point shot, and Jamal Murray, with +650 odds for a three-pointer, present intriguing options for this prop. Both players have exhibited their ability to hit difficult shots throughout the postseason, making them prime candidates to deliver last-second heroics in any quarter. With the series guaranteed to have a minimum of 16 quarters, the odds favor witnessing at least a couple of chances for Jokic and Murray to deliver on this prop.

May 22, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15)
celebrates winning the Western Conference MVP Trophy and beating the Los Angeles Lakers in game four of the Western Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic to average over 10.2 assists per game (-115)
Nikola Jokic’s passing ability has become legendary, and in the 2023 NBA Finals, he will continue his historic playmaking. With Jokic averaging 10.3 assists per game in the second round against the Suns and 11.8 assists per game against the Lakers, there is a strong chance he will surpass the 10.2 assists per game mark. Jokic has also dished out at least 11 assists in seven of his last eight games.
Miami’s defensive strategy may involve implementing some defensive zone sets and double teams to limit Jokic’s scoring opportunities, but that will not be enough to restrict the passing lanes for his teammates. With sharpshooters like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr, and Jamal Murray ready to capitalize off of Jokic’s precise feeds, and Aaron Gordon moving well without the ball and getting in position for dunks, the two-time MVP will continue to rack up assists throughout the series.

David is a sports writer and handicapper.

David’s other content can be found on various sites, mainly WhinersandWhiners.com

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The Most Profitable Starting Pitchers in the American League

As June approaches, sports bettors are always looking for profitable opportunities. With the NBA and NHL seasons coming to an end, and no current NFL action underway, MLB is on center stage. When it comes to Major League Baseball, starting pitchers play a crucial role in determining a team’s success. While looking for potential angles going forward, let’s look at which starters in the American League have been the most profitable for sports bettors to back, based on their team’s performance when they have taken the mound as of May 28, 2023. These statistics are available on covers.com.

1. Matthew Boyd – Detroit Tigers (+565)

Left-handed starting pitcher Matthew Boyd of the Detroit Tigers leads the American League in profitability, despite his unimpressive 5.74 ERA. The Tigers have managed a 6-3 record when Boyd starts this season. Since Detroit has been an underdog in 22 of its first 24 wins this season, the team’s wins typically come with a nice return. Due to the almost always being an underdog, even in losses, backing Boyd and the Tigers’ has yet to come with additional risk, minimizing the house advantage. With the Tigers playing hard under manager A.J. Hinch and upcoming future starts for Boyd scheduled to be against teams like the Rangers, White Sox, Diamondbacks, and Twins, backing Boyd will continue to offer the potential for low-risk situations with chances for significant returns.

2. Brayan Bello – Boston Red Sox (+468)

At just 24 years old, Bello has been delivering solid performances for the Boston Red Sox. Despite not having an All-Star-caliber season, Bello has contributed to the team’s success helping the Red Sox win five of his last six starts. Over the recent stretch, Bello has maintained a 3.03 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. He will be favored in his May 30th start against the Reds and then will have a tough test against the Rays, possibly on June 4th. Bello’s unproven name, but recent solid form and the support of a potent offense will likely continue to give sports bettors value in supporting him.

3. Shane McClanahan – Tampa Bay Rays (+450)

Unlike the other names on this list, Shane McClanahan stands out as a Cy Young candidate. The Tampa Bay Rays have excelled when he starts, boasting an impressive 10-1 record. With a stellar 1.22 ERA at home, McClanahan provides a reliable option for bettors, regardless of the opposition. As the Rays continue to perform with the best record in baseball, backing McClanahn should be a profitable strategy in the future. However, as great as McClanahn has been, bettors will often have to lay hefty prices on him as we advance, and it’s not realistic to expect the Rays to win more than 90% of his starts. Still with a career 30-14 record and 2.75 ERA in 64 starts, McClanahan’s success is no fluke.

4. Dean Kremer – Baltimore Orioles (+425)

Baltimore has found success behind Dean Kremer going 7-4 in his starts. Although Kremer initially struggled this season, he has shown improvement with a 2.45 ERA in his last five games, with four of those starts resulting in Orioles victories. With upcoming road starts against the Giants and Brewers scheduled for Kremer, bettors should take advantage of the positive trends and consider backing him in these matchups. Not only has Kremer been steady on the mound, but the market still undervalues how good the Orioles are as a team overall. Keep looking for chances to back Kremer and the Orioles, who have been the most profitable team for sports bettors to back in MLB both this season and last season as well.

5. Ken Waldichuk – Oakland Athletics (+385)

Despite being a part of a historically terrible team, Waldichuk finds himself on this list due to the team’s 5-4 record when he starts. With a 7.40 ERA, Waldichuk’s appearance on this list has more to do with the A’s being such a significant underdog whenever he steps on the mound. Given the A’s struggles this season and Waldichuk’s upcoming matchups against the Braves, Pirates, and either the Brewers or Rays, it’s hard to make a strong case for Waldichuk as a trustworthy option in the near future.

Here as some of the best of the rest to consider as summer officially approaches:

6. Martin Perez- Texas Rangers +385
7. Marco Gonzales- Seattle Mariners +370 8. Chris Sale-Boston Red Sox +361
9. Zach Eflin-Tampa Bay Rays +359
10. Gerrit Cole- New York Yankees +342

How to make NBA Live Betting Work for You

Live betting has helped revolutionize how fans are able to engage with their favorite sports. With the NBA in particular, point spreads and totals often see large shifts throughout the course of a game. Due to the sometimes drastic changes, live odds can help bettors gain an edge on the books when done correctly. However, if sports bettors go in without a sound game plan or discipline, a bankroll can be buried fast.

Unlike traditional pregame betting, making live wagers allows sports bettors to observe what is going on and then take advantage of real-time information and dynamic odds. To help live betting work for you, it is vital first to familiarize yourself with the basics of NBA live betting. Make sure you understand the different types of bets you can make, especially how to read point spreads, moneylines, and totals. If you are wagering on game or player props, make sure that you research what bets you may want to target before the game begins and understand how those bets work as well.

No matter what type of bets you are considering, it is crucial to go in with a plan. Sports bettors should have a maximum limit on how much they are willing to wager on a live event and be careful not to exceed that. As odds constantly change, you do not want to keep pouring money into more live bets throughout the game. Know when to walk away.
The odds in live betting are very dynamic so you want to do your research before the game starts and know what you are looking for. Once the game gets going, neither you nor the odds makers will have a lot of time to decide how you feel about the new line, so think about some of the different possibilities beforehand. For example, let’s say you have been researching a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. After analyzing the game, you feel extremely confident that the Lakers will win outright, but they are a five-point favorite, and the money line price is -225, which you don’t see as great value. In many cases, both teams will go through hot and cold spells throughout an NBA game, so if you wait for the game to start, at some point, the opportunity to get the Lakers at a better money line price or even as an underdog may present itself. Or if you are on the other side and like Denver as an underdog, you could get even better value if the Lakers get off to a hot start.

Unlike pregame betting, if you plan to get the most out of live betting, it is important to actively watch the game you’re betting on. Watching the game will allow you to observe momentum shifts, key player body language, and coaching adjustments. Also, remember that unless you are physically at the game, you are likely listening or watching the game on a delay. Radio, television, and internet delays can be up to several seconds and even minutes. I recommend following the score on multiple platforms, and often timeout breaks are a good time to place your wagers.
Ultimately, remember to come in with a plan and do not get too impulsive. If you came into the game liking the Lakers and were looking to get a better number than the -5, remember if they fall behind early 19-12 in the first quarter and are now available at -1.5, that is actually one of the reasons you waited. If you think about it too long, the Lakers can be up 25-22 in a matter of minutes, and the odds can be up to -7.5, just like that. But also watch the game because there could be an injury or player ejection affecting the odds as well.
Like anything, live betting takes practice, some skill, and a lot of discipline that can be learned over time. However, because the oddsmakers are so good at the pregame lines they set, getting a few extra points due to a brief momentum swing in a live wager can make a big difference between you winning and losing.