The 2022 NBA season kicks off Tuesday, October 18, to launch what should be the most-between professional basketball campaign ever. Sports betting is now legal in 34 states as well as Washington, DC, while the popularity of the NBA continues to rise every year. You may not be quite ready to bet on singles games just yet, as many things can change between now and the regular season opener. But now is the perfect time to get your future bets, especially for the 2022-23 NBA Finals champion.

John Schuhmann and NBA.com recently released their annual NBA GM Poll, which always delivers some interesting tidbits of information from some of the game’s most knowledgeable minds. Among the most eye-catching poll results, 43 percent of GMs chose the Milwaukee Bucks (+650) to win it all this season. The defending champion Warriors (+600) received the second-most number of votes (25%), ahead of the Eastern Conference champion Celtics (+575), who received 21 percent of the vote. The Clippers (+675) were the only other team to appear, receiving 11 percent of GM’s votes.

This is as chalky as it gets from executives. All four of these teams are the unanimous top four players of Caesars and most other athletes futures odds boards. After finishing in the top five in the Caesars, the Nets (+800) are the only team under +1000 not to be selected for the Top General Manager Championship.

Of course, countless program directors — and critics, analysts, writers, and chief speakers — get their final choices wrong every year. The ultimate NBA Finals champion could be off the list of favorites right now, as we’ve seen so much in recent history.

Let’s take a look at Caesars Sportsbook’s full odds board for the 2023 NBA Finals, then discuss the contenders before we finally make our decisions.

2023 NBA Finals odds

Celtics +575
the Warriors +600
dollars +650
clippers +675
Networks +800
suns +1300
76ers +1400
nuggets +1600
Lakers +1800
grizzly +2000
the heat +2200
Mavericks +2700
swans +2800
Cavaliers +3000
Timberwolves +3500
wild birds +4500
hawks +5000
bulls +7000
Trail Blazers +12500
nicks +15000
Hornets +17500
kings +30000
processors +30000
pistons +40000
Charm +50000
thunder +50000
Jazz +100000
missiles +100000
Pacers +100000
Tottenham +100000

The 2023 NBA Finals: A Wide Open Race?

We’ve already talked about our five favorite essentials, and we’ll discuss them more shortly. Outside the top five, the Suns (+1300) always stalk as a contender and have made it to the finals for the past two years. The 76ers (+1400) have improved this season, and an entire year of Joel Embiid and James Harden could destroy the NBA. The Nuggets (+1600) are also improved, putting much-needed shooting and depth around MVP Nikola Jokic’s back-to-back MVP.

We cannot exclude senior statesmen. The Lakers (+1800) still have two of the best players in the world, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and could win their second championship in four seasons with little health. The Heat (+2200), who lost to the Lakers in the 2020 Finals, also has an impressive veteran core led by two-way stud Jimmy Butler.

Then there are the little bucks, who should never count. The Grizzlies (+2000) trailed the league behind breakout star Ja Morant last season, and they could go one step further. Permanent MVP candidate Luka Doncic, and the Mavericks (+2700) have improved their front court over the course of the season, making the star’s life much easier. Pelicans (+2800) Zion have a decent and focused appearance. The Cavaliers (+3000) added Donovan Mitchell to a squad that already made a lot of noise last season. The Timberwolves (+3500) put a massive bundle together to deliver Ruby Gobert into the only bright hole.

Even the fringe teams in the NBA have a lot of promise. Raptors (+4500) are full of talent and great training. The Hawks (+5000) added Dejounte Murray to a backyard that already has long range assassin Trae Young. The Bulls (+7000) have a tandem in scoring from DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, not to mention several other key players. Even jackets with surprising depth (+12,500) have a chance if Damien Lillard can stay healthy for an entire campaign.

Without further ado, let’s discuss our top bets, best sleepers, and our favorite long shots to win the 2023 NBA Finals.

2023 NBA Finals: Best Bets

(+575) Boston Celtics

The Celtics cruised on a relatively easy path to the NBA Finals last summer, but ultimately lost to the hottest, focused and experienced Warriors team. In the offseason, GM Brad Stevens did a great job tackling Boston’s weaknesses on the championship run, particularly ball handling, depth and outside shooting. The Celts have traded for Malcolm Brogdon, a versatile goalkeeper with skills in the game industry who could easily claim the sixth man’s award this season. They also added sniper Danilo Gallinari, though an ACL injury he sustained during the FIBA ​​World Cup could sideline him for the regular season. The other major off-season acquisition has been Blake Griffin, who will provide veteran leadership and some rebounds for this young (and sometimes junior) team. KEY QUESTIONS: Will Player C play under interim coach Joe Mazzola as they did under shameful coach Emi Udoka, who has been suspended for this season? And will Robert Williams’ center (knee) return in full force, or will Boston once again demand a lot from great veteran Al Horford? We know what we’re going to get out of Jason Tatum, Jalen Brown and Marcus Smart at this point: a stifling defense and clever and often easy offensive creation. However, it is the “others” who will make or break Boston’s run at the 18th banner this season. We’re betting they make it happen, and they finally got over the hump for the first time since the widget/garnet era.

Los Angeles Clippers (+675)

The Clippers are a great team from top to bottom, and it would be very difficult to beat them at full force. Like Tatum and Brown, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are easily among the top tandem suites in the pro hoops. It is full of shooters, locked defenders, playmakers and clever veterans. John Wall has been a great addition to the team that has consistently relied on Reggie Jackson to be their running point – and be top scorer – at the defining moments over the past year and a half. Isaiah Hartenstein’s departure to the Knicks limits the depth of the big man in Los Angeles a bit, but don’t be surprised if this team wins a bunch of games with a small ball lineup. Depth has been one of the commonalities of recent NBA champions, and the Clips are arguably the deepest team in the NBA. Fingers crossed they are staying away from the long-term injury report.

Other strong bets: Milwaukee Bucks (+650), Golden State Warriors (+600)

2023 NBA Finals: Highest Value Picks

Philadelphia 76ers (+1400)

With James Harden seemingly in good shape and Joel Embiid as hungry and angry as ever, beware the 76ers lurking in the fringe field of contenders. Philadelphia has a strong young talent around the super duo: Thérèse Maxi continues to develop as a scorer, Matisse Thiebolle is the league’s most underrated defender, plus De Anthony Milton is better at both ends of the field than most people realize. Philly also brought in veteran glue man and defensive maestro PJ Tucker, who finds himself in another contender and continues to serve as the 2020 version of Robert Horry. Tucker, the third-corner, will also take some offensive pressure from Tobias Harris. Montrezl Harrell will also provide some scoring on the bench and plenty of hustle points. Don’t sleep on Philly – this band can win it all.

Memphis Grizzlies (+2000)

How can the Grizzlies be included in the 2000+ just months after they burned down NBA Earth in the 2021-22 season? This is a team that has all the ingredients necessary for an NBA champion: a great attack led by a star scorer in Ja Morant, a great outside shot led by Desmond Payne, a great defense from every position, and great training. We fail to understand how more time and experience makes the Grizzlies less prepared to contend for the title, but we’ll gladly take these generous odds.

Other solid values: Phoenix Suns (+1300), Miami Heat (+2200)

2023 NBA Finals: Favorite Long Shots

Cleveland Cavaliers (+3000)

Everyone loves the addition of Donovan Mitchell, perhaps the last piece of the puzzle to a five-star starter that includes the 2021-22 Rookie of the Year and runners-up Evan Mobley, All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen. Questions remain about the depth of this team – and who will fill the small front position – but this team seems more than capable of making some noise here and now.

Minnesota Timberwolves (+3500)

Another team that went all out for a missing piece, the Wolves sent a massive amount of assets to Utah this off-season to land a coveted big man and several DPOY winners Rudy Gobert. Minnesota now has a board king and rim guard over Karl Anthony Towns, the game’s best shooter, and rising star Anthony Edwards. You won’t find much value outside of the +2200 range, but this squad of wolves might be worth a modest bet when everything is clicked.

Other potential contenders: Dallas Mavericks (+2700), Toronto Raptors (+4500), Atlanta Hawks (+5000)

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