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Which Team Has the Easiest Road to the NBA Finals?

by Joseph King | by Joseph King

image Which Team Has the Easiest Road to the NBA Finals?
With teams facing elimination in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, we take a look at each series and the potential future opponents to determine which team has the easiest road to the NBA Finals starting on June 1st.

Two legends of the game face off in the Lakers vs Warriors

Lebron James vs Stephen Curry NBA Playoffs

The talk of this series has been the blockbuster matchup of two future hall-of-famers in LeBron James and Stephen Curry. The two basketball icons face-off in the NBA Playoffs for the first time since their duels in four consecutive NBA Finals from the 2015 season to the 2018 season.

The Lakers took a huge step to the Conference Finals with a 104-101 game four victory, giving them a 3-1 advantage in the series. Los Angeles is now one win away from making a historic Conference Finals appearance where they will match up against either the top-seeded Nuggets or the fourth-seed Suns. Los Angeles are heavy 1.20 favorites to advance and have odds of 2.40 to make it to the NBA Finals. 

For the Warriors, they’re now looking at having to win three straight against a Lakers team who are playing at a very high level. It’s been a strange year for the defending champions who have been brilliant at the Chase Center but have one of the league’s worst records when playing away from home. They’ll have to sort out their road issues fast if they are to progress any further in these playoffs. The oddsmakers have Golden State as 4.85 odds to win this series and 10.5 odds to win the West.

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The West’s elite lock horns in the Nuggets vs Suns

Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets vs Suns NBA Playoffs

The Nuggets picked up a huge 118-102 win in game five to give themselves a 3-2 series lead over the Phoenix Suns. With a healthy team and two-time MVP Jokic playing at a never-before-seen level, the Nuggets are looking at arguably their best ever opportunity to win their first championship in team history. The oddsmakers have the Nuggets as heavy 1.22 favorites to win the series and 2.25 odds to win the Western Conference.

The Suns made a stunning move at the trade deadline to acquire hall-of-famer Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets. Despite having one of the most potent scoring duos in the league with Booker and Durant, the Suns have been unable to overcome the Nuggets home court dominance in Denver. Phoenix have lost all three trips to the Mile High City in this series and return to Phoenix for game six facing elimination. They’re currently 4.50 odds to win this series and have a price of 8.5 to make the Finals. You can follow the game six action by using our NBA Livescore tool.

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The heavyweight showdown between Boston and Philadelphia 

Jayson Tatum of the Celtics vs 76ers in the 2023 NBA Playoffs

What a turnaround from the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers won game five 115-103 despite coming into the contest as +7 point road underdogs according to the bookmakers. They’re now in the driver's seat in this series with a game six closeout opportunity on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center. The oddsmakers have Philly at around 1.57 odds to win one of the next two games and advance to the Conference Finals.

The Boston Celtics are up against it now as they let this series get away from them despite being heavy favorites to advance when they had a 2-1 lead. Boston will now have to win the next two in a row to make it a fifth Conference Finals appearance in the past seven seasons. The books certainly aren’t counting out Jayson Tatum and company though, as they currently sit with odds of around 2.55 to come back and win the series. 

What’s undeniable is that the winner of this series will be the favorite to make it to the NBA Finals given the potential matchup in the next round. The elimination of the top-seeded Milwuakee Bucks in the first round by the Heat means that the winner of this series will face off against either the eighth-seed Heat or the fifth-seed Knicks in the Conference Finals, either of which they would be favored over. The 76ers are the betting odds favorites to win the East at odds of 1.95 while the Celtics come in at a price of 3.20. As things are currently shaping up, the 76ers certainly appear to have the easiest road to the NBA Finals. 

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A classic rivalry renewed between Miami and New York

Jimmy Butler of the Heat in the 2023 NBA Playoffs

The Heat look set for a third trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in the past four seasons after taking a commanding 3-1 series lead over the New York Knicks. The Heat became just the fifth eighth-seed to upset the number one seed in NBA history with their 4-1 series win over the Bucks in round one. The oddsmakers have Jimmy Butler and company as massive 1.12 favorites to win one of the next three games and advance. They also hold odds of 4.33 to win the East. 

The Knicks certainly have the most difficult road to the Finals as things currently stand. Not only do they have to win the next three in a row to advance, but they’ll be greeted by a Conference Finals matchup against the second-seeded Celtics or third-seeded 76ers should they do so. The Knicks won a playoff series for the first time in 10 years when they upset the fourth-seed Cavaliers and they can certainly build upon their solid young core of players going forward. New York has odds of 7.25 to win this series and 34.0 to win the East. 

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Odds to win the NBA championship

  • Denver Nuggets - 4.0
  • Philadelphia 76ers - 4.25
  • LA Lakers - 4.25
  • Boston Celtics - 5.0
  • Phoenix Suns - 12.0
  • Miami Heat - 16.0
  • Golden State Warriors - 16.0
  • New York Knicks - 81.0

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