The NBA Finals is the biggest basketball moment of the year. The best-of-seven series can define legacies, ensure one’s place in the NBA Hall of Fame or be a chance at a fifth ring if your name is LeBron Raymone James.
Even if you’re not taking to the court, you too can create a legacy as a premier NBA bettor. If you want to get one over on your sportsbook and win some money on the NBA Finals, Dimers.com has got you.
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All right, let’s get to it, without further ado here’s the best betting strategies for the NBA Finals.
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Finals MVP — Take your favored team’s best player
Like almost every award in the NBA, the media darlings are favored, even when they don’t deserve it.
It doesn’t matter if you lead both teams in points, assists and rebounds, all while averaging 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists — we remember, LeBron — you’re unlikely to win if your team loses.
Even with a historic performance, if his team loses, the player will not win Finals MVP. The last player to win MVP on a losing squad was Jerry West in 1969!
The reason we say bet the best player on YOUR favored team is because the equation is usually simple, the most talented player on the winning squad = Finals MVP. As you’ll see below, the favored team doesn’t always become champion.
Over the last decade, Andre Iguodala and Kawhi Leonard — in 2014 with the Spurs — are the only outliers to the above principle.
Beware the Underdog
Across the last 10 NBA Finals, dogs have won four Larry O’Brien Trophies.
LeBron’s 2013 Miami Heat, the historic 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, 2019's Toronto Raptors and the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021 all defied the odds.
Yes, the favorites just edge it over the decade, but do consider matchups and momentum, they’re a massive part of who becomes champion.
Betting LeBron James
LBJ as a favorite
LeBron is favored in the Finals for the second straight year. LeBron’s 4-6 record is constantly brought up as a critique of his clutch gene but his teams have often overachieved to even reach the last dance.
As a favorite, LeBron is 2-1 with the only loss coming as a member of the 2011 Miami Heat.
LBJ over/under bets
During the 2020 NBA finals, LeBron averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists. James led both teams in points and rebounds per game and was only second to Miami’s Jimmy Butler in assists.
This is perhaps a better reflection than looking at his last four Finals appearances in Cleveland where he averaged 33.0 PPG, 11.5 RPG and 9.3 APG. The king had to play without Kyrie Irving and/or Kevin Love in all bar one finals series in the Land.
He did have Matthew Dellavedova then — and doesn’t now — so that’s very much worth considering.
Best offense or best defense?
At Dimers we don’t do things by halves, so we’ve dug deep into NBA Finals statistics to find out whether the better O or D end up with the crown. To keep things relevant we've looked at data from the last five and 10 years respectively.
- Higher Scoring O in Past 5 Playoffs: Won 3/5
- Higher Scoring O in Past 10 Playoffs: Won 6/10
- Fewer Points Allowed in Past 5 Playoffs: 3/5
- Fewer Points Allowed in Past 5 Playoffs: 6/10
- Best O and D in Past 10 Finals: 2/2
Point blank, if you one team has scored more points in the playoffs and allowed fewer, back the Brink’s truck up. As you can see, the team with a higher-powered offense doesn't always win it all.
It must be noted, the dynastic Golden State Warriors accounted for three of the six titles won by the higher scoring offense. You won’t see such an offensive juggernaut like that in the Finals anytime soon.
MORE: How do NBA odds work?
Find value in the Prop Bets Market
Prop bets are some of the most fun you’ll have betting on the NBA Finals.
When doing so we mustn’t forget, the public influences the pricing of odds heavily. Naturally, most people naturally want a great Finals, they want buckets galore and teams moving up and down the field like the Harlem Globetrotters.
With this in mind, consider how realistic some of the over/under bets are, there could be real value if you think a defense will shut down an offense quicker than Kyrie Irving does reporters.Finally, think about your prop bets in relation to your overall belief about the Finals.
If you think the Lakers will win, betting the under on Lebron James’ points total probably isn’t the smartest idea. How realistic is it for those two results to occur simultaneously?
Now you’re well-prepared to bet on the NBA Finals, so what’s next?