How to bet on the NBA Finals

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What are the NBA Finals?

The NBA Finals are the conclusion of the NBA playoffs, in which the Eastern and Western Conference champions square off in a best-of-seven series to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

This championship series has elevated players to legends of the sport and inevitably receives widespread betting interest as a result.

The NBA Finals are traditionally played in June and have followed a 2-2-1-1-1 format since 2014, whereby the team with the better regular season record hosts the first two games, the other team hosts the next two, and the last three are played alternatively on each team's home floor, if they are required.

The format has changed over the years and was originally set up in a 2–2–1–1–1 format in 1947, before switching to a 2-3-2 format in 1985.

The 2023 NBA Finals are set to begin in June 2023, with exact dates yet to be confirmed.

Basketball_NBA_Golden State Warriors' Gary Payton II with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy
© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The best NBA sportsbooks


How can I bet on the NBA Finals?

NBA Finals futures markets remain open throughout the season, with every team assigned odds before the NBA season gets underway. Futures markets also extend to players, too, with odds on the NBA Finals MVP available throughout the year.

If you're looking for game-by-game bets, the same markets available for regular season games will also be on offer for NBA Finals matchups. That includes the usual point spreads, where a sportsbook will handicap the team they expect to win, and give the underdog a head-start to level the playing field. Betting on the points totals is also a popular option, with totals (or over/under) markets offering you the chance to bet on a game without having to pick a side.

If you prefer to bet straight-up on the result, the moneyline market is for you. Some sportsbooks even offer moneyline odds to win a half, or a quarter, of an NBA Finals game.

Sportsbooks will also offer NBA prop bets for fans looking to get a little more from their NBA Finals betting. These involve betting on outcomes not directly related to the final result, such as the first player to block a shot.

NBA Finals betting tips

Stay up to date with the latest news

A lot can change overnight in the NBA, so try to stay up to date on the latest news and developments. Research and study the teams involved, and analyze their rosters, tendancies, and strategies, as well as their head to head matchups, one-on-ones, and analytics to see who matches up better.

This way, you will be in the best possible position to compare them and then place an educated wager on who is most likely to win.

Check the injury reports

Before the start of the series and each game during it, also make sure to review the injury reports. An injury to a major player can have a significant impact on the outcome of a game and therefore, your wager.

Even though injuries can sometimes be announced only minutes before a game, quick bettors can still take advantage of favorable odds before they are revised.

Follow the betting markets

To determine the best time to place your bet, keep an eye on the opening NBA Finals odds and where they're headed. Monitoring the market to discover value is also essential and you should always have access to several sportsbooks, so that you can compare and shop for the best odds available.

Shop around for the best odds

Finding the best odds is just as important as deciding what to bet on. BET.CA provides the latest NBA Finals odds from reviewed and approved sportsbooks so that you know where the value lies.

Who were the last NBA Finals winners?

The Golden State Warriors won the 2022 NBA Finals. After beating the Dallas Mavericks 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics 4-2 in the best-of-seven series to win their fourth NBA Championship in eight years.

The Celtics took the advantage early in the series after defeating the Warriors on the road, then winning at home to go 2-1 up in the series. But the Warriors bounced back by winning three games in a row to win the series 4-2 and claim the seventh title in the franchise's history.

Who is the NBA Finals MVP?

The NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award is an annual award that has been given since 1969 to the most outstanding player during the series. It is decided by a committee of 11 media members, who vote following the conclusion of the Finals.

In 2009, the award was named the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award to honor the 11-time champion Bill Russell.

Since 1969, the award has been given 53 times to 31 players. Michael Jordan won the award a record six times, while LeBron James has won it four times, and Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Tim Duncan have won it three times each.

The most recent winner of the award is the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry. He was crowned MVP after averaging 31.2 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals per game during the series.

Basketball_NBA_Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry
© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Finals history

Since the Philadelphia Warriors became the first-ever NBA champions in 1947, 19 different franchises have won the NBA Finals. Several teams have dominated the Finals over the years, to the extent that many are now labeled “dynasties”.

The first dynasty in the NBA was the Minneapolis Lakers. With their bespectacled superstar center George Mikan, they dominated the early years of the league and won five titles between 1948 and 1954. After the Lakers, it was the Boston Celtics' turn, and in a 13-year span from 1957 to 1969, they won a mind-boggling 11 NBA titles with rosters containing superstars like Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek.

The Celtics also became the next NBA dynasty alongside the Magic Johnson-led Los Angeles Lakers, as the two teams won eight titles between them during the 1980s. The 1990s belonged to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, as they dominated the league with six NBA Finals triumphs between 1991 and 1998.

The first decade of the new millennium became the battlefield for two franchises; the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. The duo of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to three consecutive championships between 2000 and 2002, and the Lakers also enjoyed back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Meanwhile, Tim Duncan and the Spurs won three titles in five years (2003, 2005, and 2007).

The 2010s saw the emergence of the Golden State Warriors as a dynasty. Guided by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, they played in five straight NBA Finals between 2015 and 2019, winning three.

NBA Finals betting FAQs

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BET.CA's basketball betting guides are written by our seasoned betting experts, whose in-depth knowledge of the NBA and NCAA basketball will help you to bet smarter when searching for your next basketball wager.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff