The Denver Nuggets have never won an NBA championship. They didn’t win one back in the ABA days either.
The betting odds say they have a roughly 80% chance of changing that over the next few weeks.
Now that the Nuggets know they’ll be playing the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, we have odds at BetMGM for the series. And the Nuggets are a hefty -400 favorite to win the title (implied odds of 80%). They’re an 8.5-point favorite for Game 1, which is a bit surprising too.
Maybe that’s just more disrespect for the Heat, who keep proving everyone wrong. But more likely, it’s giving the Nuggets their due.
Denver has been a worthy No. 1 seed from the West, not even pushed to a seventh game as they worked through the playoffs. They swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals. The Nuggets have a great home-court advantage. That might show up big in the first couple of games as the Heat, just off a grueling seven-game series against the Boston Celtics, goes right to high altitude. The Nuggets also have Nikola Jokic playing at a historic level. There’s a reason Jokic is -300 to win NBA Finals MVP. The heavy odds for the Nuggets to win it all has a lot to do with how good Denver has been all season.
The odds still seem a bit high for the Heat, who are +300. The Heat are a rare No. 8 seed to make the NBA Finals but they have knocked off some good teams along the way. Maybe the Nuggets will be a bit rusty from a long layoff since sweeping the Lakers. Nobody seemed to think that Miami would beat the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round or the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals, but the Heat just kept winning.
Even if the series odds seem a bit inflated, the Nuggets are a rightful favorite. It’s their best chance in nearly 50 years of existence to hoist the trophy.
Here’s the first look at the sports betting slate for Tuesday:
MLB takes center stage
We have, at most, seven NBA and seven NHL games left until fall. Football doesn’t kick off until August. Bettors need to get used to baseball being their main option every day.
There are the full 15 games on the MLB slate for Tuesday. Perhaps the most intriguing matchup is the Philadelphia Phillies at the New York Mets. Both teams have been disappointing this season, but there is plenty of time for them to get back in the NL East race. The Mets are a -135 favorite for Tuesday’s game.
Another matchup worth watching is the New York Yankees, with their three-game winning streak, at the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners, who have been hot as well until losing Monday night, are -140 favorites.
What’s the best bet?
Sandy Alcantara of the Miami Marlins hasn’t looked like himself all season, but he still gets a lot of respect from oddsmakers. The Marlins are a -140 favorite with Alcantara going on Tuesday, but I’ll take the other side and go with the San Diego Padres at +115 odds. The Padres are off to a rough start this season, but their offense has shown some signs of life lately.