Fresh off winning the franchise’s first NBA championship, the Denver Nuggets are +475 betting favorites at Caesars Sportsbook for the 2023-24 season.
Denver entered the postseason as the No. 6 favorite with 11-1 odds, despite earning the Western Conference’s top seed. However, winning a championship with Finals MVP and two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic has changed the perception.
“The Nuggets have impressed throughout the playoffs,” Caesars lead NBA trader David Lieberman told ESPN. “They have cemented themselves as not just a great regular season team, but also getting over the hump to become a perennial championship contender with a roster full of players in their primes.”
Denver’s title caps off an NBA season that many perceived as more wide open than any other in league history. The consensus favorites were priced around +600, which were the longest recorded odds for any opening-night favorite.
The upcoming season has a similar outlook. The Boston Celtics (+575), Milwaukee Bucks (+700) and Phoenix Suns (+850) join the Nuggets with single-digit odds. The Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers all sit with 12-1 odds.
“Parity is at a pretty high level and many teams are a healthy roster or a solid player add away from being legitimate title contenders. The odds reflect how close many teams currently are to taking the next step, similar to the one that the Nuggets have made this season,” Lieberman said.
The Miami Heat pulled off an improbable run to capture the Eastern Conference as an eight-seed. The Heat entered the postseason with 150-1 odds and now have 18-1 odds for next year.
“I didn’t want to go too high on them,” SuperBook head NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman told ESPN. “After falling short (to Denver), they could be aggressive and who knows if they trade for someone like (Damian) Lillard. I don’t think they’ll just bring back the same team and hope it’s going to be better next year.”
Each offseason challenges oddsmakers to anticipate player movement in the form of trades and free agency. The Memphis Grizzlies (22-1) finished with the Western Conference’s second seed but have uncertainty surrounding the impending suspension of two-time All-Star Ja Morant (can link to article on Adam Silver waiting).
The Detroit Pistons, which finished a league-worst 17-65, have the longest odds at 600-1.