Tipico Tips: NBA Finals futures


The NHL handed out the Stanley Cup, and the NBA is inching closer to crowning its champion for the 2021 season. This is the future Thursday article on Tipico Sportsbook, so you might be asking why we are talking about these things when discussing futures.

It is true that futures bets can take months to pay off, but they do not have to. The PGA has futures bets every week that pay off that Sunday. The upcoming Olympics will have wagering options in futures markets that pay off within a few days as well. Futures bets can even be made the day of certain competitions, so do not think that a futures bet means your money has to be tied up for months to qualify. 

Are the Suns futures still a good value bet?

The short answer here is no, but the explanation is what I want you guys to understand. We talked about the Suns during the Lakers series. We talked about them during the Denver series and even talked about them before the Clippers series started. If you wanted to get money down on the Suns, you had your opportunity to take them at +4500, +2000, and +1300 to win the championship at those times. Heading into Game 2, they are listed at -319 and that is too short a price to get on the bandwagon now. That price implies a 76% chance of the Suns winning, which is probably about as fair value as you can get on them up 1-0 in a best-of-seven series. I absolutely expect the Suns to win, and I called it before the series as a five-game Phoenix closeout, so I’m sticking to my guns. Even with my faith in them, laying money now at -319 is not a smart thing to do.

So where is the value for the Phoenix Suns?

Just because the series price is not worth taking, that doesn’t mean we don’t have some value to chase here. Chris Paul was slightly behind Devin Booker throughout the playoffs in futures bets for Finals MVP. At one point the payout on Booker even reached a point where Paul was paying twice as much. Now, Paul is listed at -145 after one game and Booker is up to +400. Before Game 1, Booker was favored over Paul. Chasing Paul now at -145 is the same as betting on the Suns at -319. You had better options and better chances to get into this market if you really wanted to. The value on CP3 is now gone, but the price tells me it is overdone. Booker and Paul were neck and neck, with Paul even trailing the rest of the playoffs, and now after one game there’s a 500-basis-point difference with Paul as the clear clubhouse leader? If Paul is overbet, that by default leaves Booker underbet.

Both guys had about a 40% chance coming into the series to win the MVP based on listed odds, but the implied odds now are Paul with a 60% chance and Booker down to 20%. One game should not have moved the market that much. Paul is the sentimental favorite as a longtime star getting his first shot in the playoffs, and he was great in Game 1, but you have to think the Bucks will put effort into shutting him down in Game 2. Maybe he continues to dominate, but maybe he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, you have two other Suns that have a chance to claim the MVP trophy. Booker is the better bet of the two for reasons we already mentioned. At +400, you are now getting more than twice the return you were being offered on him to win the award before Game 1. That is value. His chances of winning may have taken a slight hit with CP3 going off in Game 1, but overall it’s still only one game, and it’s not like Booker was bad either. I still think Paul deserves to be the favorite, but at the prices being offered, Booker is the better bet. 

If you want a longer shot, Deandre Ayton is another guy who deserves some respect here. He had a monster Game 1 with 22 points and 19 rebounds. Averaging 20/20 throughout a series would be something that deserves MVP attention. There is a path for him to win this award. If Booker and Paul alternate big games from the perimeter and Ayton continues to put up close to 20 points and 15-plus rebounds per game, then you will have a tough time saying he is not at least in the conversation. Will he beat out Paul and/or Booker? Maybe not, but the chances of him winning compared to the price make it worth a shot. Currently Ayton is sitting at +1000, down from the +2200 before this series started. I would have liked to take him at double his current price, but right now he is being given a 9% chance to win the trophy and frankly he is the only other guy besides CP3 and Book with a chance to actually take it home. He should be more like 15%-20% which would price him at +500 or +600. At +1000, there is still value left in this number. 

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