The Miami Heat have opened at online sportsbooks as a +150 favorite in 2011 NBA odds to win the championship with the 2 time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers the next betting choice at +250. With the new “Three Kings” trio of James, Wade and Bosh the Heat will prove to be a highly popular and public choice in NBA betting at sportsbooks with the potential to become an overlay that offers little value. Chicago Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf tried to rain on the recent parade in Miami noting that the Heat are over the salary cap and still without a center which sports handicappers should take note.
The Lakers are always a popular public choice in NBA odds to win and a perennial contender. With coach Phil Jackson coming back and the Western Conference lacking a bona fide challenger they are a solid bet to make the Finals again, at the very least. After the Heat and Lakers the prices jump up quite a bit. The Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic are pegged as the top two teams in the Eastern Conference to kill off the Heat with both teams at betting odds of +900. The Magic made the Finals in 2009 while the Celtics were the Finals loser this year after blowing a 3-2 series advantage vs the Lakers but also just signed the “Big Aristotle” in Shaquille O’Neal.
Orlando is the younger team that may prove to be a better value and should make an excellent rival to Miami in the Southeast Division. Incredibly enough the Oklahoma City Thunder have emerged at online sportsbooks as the alternative choice in the Western Conference at +1500 along with the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks in odds to win the NBA championship. Superstar Kevin Durant led the Thunder from the worst team in 2009 to a playoff team that gave LA a run for their money in 2010 and is the reason for the new found respect on the betting board.