Morning Coffee: NBA Western Conference finals odds on the move
You can’t repeat the past.
Then again, the NBA Conference finals are set to begin tonight, and it’s the same final four teams that we saw in the bubble back in 2020.
First up, it’s Game 1 between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals tonight.
The Nuggets opened -135 to win the series. That number has moved all the way to -160 at FanDuel over the past 72 hours.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference finals are considered significantly more lopsided on paper with the Boston Celtics at -500 to win their series against the Miami Heat.
Will the Lakers and Heat turn back the clock for an unlikely rematch of the 2020 NBA Finals?
Or will the Nuggets and Celtics take care of business as the series favourites to set the stage for a showdown between the top two choices to win it all?
Put me on the record as expecting the latter.
This is the Morning Coffee for Tuesday May 16, 2023.
NBA Western Conference finals odds on the move
The Lakers could be found as high as 130-to-1 to win the NBA championship at FanDuel back on Nov. 29.
They were 24-to-1 to win it all heading into the play-in. One month later, L.A. is +360 to win the title.
The Lakers are 7-0 all-time in series versus Denver in the postseason, which is the most series wins without a loss by any franchise versus another.
However, this is the first time that the Nuggets have entered a series versus L.A. with a better record.
The early money is on Denver to advance, driving the price from -135 to -160 at FanDuel over the past 72 hours.
I jumped on the Nuggets to win the series early on and gave out Denver to win the series at -150 as a FanDuel futures play in Monday’s Morning Coffee column.
Meanwhile, Denver opened -4.5 for Game 1 and has since been bet up to -6 at FanDuel.
While I like the Nuggets to win the series, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Lakers earn the split in Denver.
L.A. stole Game 1 on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round and against the Golden State Warriors in the second round.
I’m not convinced they do the same tonight, but I’m also not rushing to bet Nuggets -6, even though I’ll be cheering for Denver for my series bet.
Stanley Cup Playoffs’ final four set
The Dallas Stars advanced to the Western Conference final with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Kraken in Game 7 on Monday night.
It was the first time in the series that the number stayed under the total.
The Stars opened +120 to beat the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference finals. Vegas is a -145 favourite to win the series.
Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes are -145 to win the Eastern Conference Finals against the Florida Panthers. The Panthers are +120 to pull off another series upset at FanDuel this morning.
The top two choices to win the Stanley Cup have been eliminated in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs.
Will we see that trend continue with a Stars versus Panthers matchup in the Stanley Cup Final?
Or will the Hurricanes and Golden Knights take care of business as the favourites to advance?
This year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs have been as unpredictable as I’ve seen in a long time.
At this point, I won’t be surprised at all by whatever happens next.
A FanDuel Best Bet for Tuesday night
We cashed our first FanDuel Best Bet of the week with the Los Angeles Angels to win the first five innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
Shohei Ohtani’s American League Cy Young award winner stock took another hit as he gave up five earned runs over seven innings of work.
He’s allowed 17 earned runs over his past four starts.
However, Ohtani hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning to give the Angels a 7-4 lead and cash the best bet.
He finished 4-of-5 with a home run, three RBI and three runs scored in the 9-5 win.
We also locked in the Nuggets to win the series and the New England Patriots to finish under 7.5 regular season wins as two FanDuel futures bets on Monday morning.
Now it’s time to turn the page and find another winner for Tuesday night.
For as tempting as it is to lock in another NBA Same Game Parlay, I’ve been absolutely on fire with my MLB picks of late, and I’m looking at a potential value play with my FanDuel Best Bet for tonight.
Justin Verlander has allowed just three earned runs in his first two starts for the New York Mets.
However, those two starts came against the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds, which both rank in the bottom half of the league in runs scored.
Tonight, Verlander will face the Tampa Bay Rays, which lead the majors with 260 runs scored this season and are an MLB-best 31-11 overall.
The Mets are 6-15 dating back to April 22, they’re coming off a series split with the Washington Nationals, and now they have to play Tampa Bay after travelling overnight.
Getting the best team in baseball against one of the coldest teams in baseball at +140 is a bet I want to make.
Give me the Rays +140 on the money line as my FanDuel Best Bet.
Also, the NRFI plays have been very good to me of late, so I’ll highlight one play I like for tonight.
The NRFI has cashed at an 83 per cent rate for the Miami Marlins this season.
Tonight, they’ll face Josiah Gray, whose NRFI record is 7-1 this season.
In fact, Gray and Marlins’ starter Jesus Luzardo have a combined 14-2 NRFI record this season.
The total for that game is 7.5 – the lowest on the board at FanDuel.
Give me the NRFI in the Marlins/Nationals game at -115.