NBA Championship 2024 Early Betting Favorites
On Monday night, the Denver Nuggets closed out the Miami Heat to win the first NBA title in their 47 years in the league. The 46 years of championship-free basketball that occurred after the Nuggets entered the NBA is the longest stretch in league history. But that time has passed, and a new era in the Mile High City is upon us.
Denver has all five of its starters under contract heading into next season, and all are in their prime. We saw the emergence of role players in these playoffs, like rookie Christian Braun and 26-year-old Bruce Brown. The championship parade isn’t until Thursday, but the NBA world is asking the question today: Is this a new dynasty?
Pundits will debate the answer dozens of times between now and when next season tips off in October. The bookmakers at BetUS.com have already given us their answer.
Denver Nuggets (+600)
The Nuggets rolled through these playoffs, going 16-4 and winning 10 of their last 11 games. They ended the postseason, when the competition is the stiffest, with a better winning percentage than they had in the regular season. And during the season, Denver was no slouch, winning 53 games.
Nikola Jokic is only 28-years-old, and he just became the first player in NBA history to lead the playoffs in points, rebounds, and assists. He is almost assured of winning a third MVP award (and perhaps more than that), and he won’t be a free agent until 2028.
The Nuggets are the cofavorite to host another championship parade next season, and for good reason.
Boston Celtics (+600)
The way the Nuggets rolled, it’s hard to make the case that had the Celtics gotten past Miami, it would have been Boston hoisting a record 18th championship. But the Celtics did nearly do the impossible, taking a 3-0 Eastern Conference Finals deficit and forcing a Game 7. Looking ahead to next season, it’s hard to not like this team.
Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown are superstars, and both are relatively cheap. Boston has the flexibility to add another weapon and once again be an elite team in the East. The conference is loaded, with the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers also expected to be in the top tier of teams. But Boston is the top contender.
Milwaukee Bucks (+750)
Just how good the Bucks will be next season comes down to how they will respond to the embarrassment of being the No. 1 seed in this year’s playoffs, and losing to the No. 8 seed. That shame is tempered somewhat by the fact that the No. 8 seed in question was the Miami Heat, and they made it all the way to the NBA Finals. Still, it was a quick and disappointing end to what was otherwise a great season in Milwaukee.
The Bucks were NBA champions two years ago, and they do have one of the players who will always be in the MVP conversation in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But there are questions about his competitiveness after declaring that this year’s season in Milwaukee was not a failure, despite the first round loss.
Phoenix Suns (+1000)
No team acted more swiftly to their playoff loss than the Phoenix Suns, nor more irrationally. Head coach Monty Williams, who just last year was the NBA Coach of the Year, was fired after the Suns lost to the Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs.
Phoenix pushed the eventual NBA champions the hardest in this postseason. But after trading for Kevin Durant, anything less than a title was considered a failure by ownership.
In order to be back in the title chase, Phoenix needs a new coach, they need depth and reliability in the backcourt to go along with Chris Paul, and they need to find some money. Durant, Devon Booker, and Deandre Ayton take up 90% of the Suns’ salary cap.
Los Angeles Lakers (+1000)
LeBron James is another year older and another year closer to retirement. He did, however, fuel an impressive midseason turnaround for the Lakers, and then lead them to the Western Conference Finals.
Running it back next season with James and Anthony Davis, and convincing Kyrie Irving to join James for one more run at a title, would make this team an instant contender. That’s although they are already top-heavy, salary-wise, and adding an Irving add would limit what L.A. can do elsewhere.