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  • Writer's pictureBen Ballard

NBA Title Odds May 25th, 2024

Updated: May 27

We're two games into the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. I'm a Mavericks fan, so I'm thrilled after last night's Game 2 Luka Game Winner. I've probably watched the replay 100 times. And I don't want to Jinx it, but it feels like the Timberwolves don't have answers. I think this series is over in 5.

It looks like Boston will come out of the East. The Pacers are hobbled with Tyrese Halliburton's Hamstring injury in game 2. I think the Mavericks will win the title but right now I'd put it at about 50/50 odds with the Celtics. I don't think they will have an answer for Luka - assuming his health continues to trend positive.

What does Vegas say. They've been wrong before. As of February, the Bookmaker's Top 5 were the Celtics, Nuggets, Clippers, Bucks, and Suns. The Mavericks barely registered at around a 3% chance. That was before the trade deadline moves to acquire PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford. And at that point in the season Derek Lively had been in and out of lineups. The sensational Rookie had injury setbacks earlier in the season.

But as of May 25th, the Mavericks chances have gone up almost 10x from 3% to about 30%. The Celtics are still by far the favorite, but I wouldn't be surprised if this gets closer to 50/50 once that matchups look a little more clear. I don't think the Celtics will have the defenders to match-up against Luka. And I think the Mavericks defense will force Tatum and Brown to take a lot of threes. If they make them, they will tip their hat.

We're setting up for an exciting Boston, Dallas series. There will be many fun story lines. Kyrie returns to Boston. Porzingis against Dallas.

Candidly, Boston might be better without Porzingis returning because Luka might play him off the court. He seems to dominate European Bigs he has a personal vendettas with. See Gobert and Zubac.

Luka now has the roster around him that he didn't have in 2022. The likelihood of a Mavericks championship is determined by what percentage Luka's health we get. If he approaches 80% health, the Mavericks win it all. But it's hard to tell how healthy he is with him being... theatrical. Ice strapped to his knees. Heat pads on his shoulder.

I believe he's getting healthier as he's recovering from injuries he had late in the season and early in the playoffs. The Clippers (Westbrook in particular) got away with rough play against Luka. On a few of plays, Westbrook banged Luka up. He looked rough for his standards starting off against the Thunder. Lou Dort hardly offered a reprieve from the Clippers. He picked up where Russell left off. Playing very physical and frankly it appeared he was trying to injure him. The Wolves don't have anyone that can play that kind of physical defense, and they don't seem to have anyone dirty enough to try to injure. That works in the Mavericks favor. As the playoffs go on, regular games without injury will only have him get healthier, in my view.

I'll keep more updates on the championship odds as we're in the winning time of the season. This should be fun!

Update: May 27th

After the Mavericks won Game 3 they've picked up ~5% on implied probability from the Bookmaker odds. It looks like no changes to the Celtics at the moment, the increase in probability came directly form the Timberwolves. It seems the Vegas is still favoring Boston significantly.

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