NBA Conference Finals 2023 Series Odds and Predictions

Eddie Griffin

Tue May 16 2023

Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics NBA Conference Finals 2023

Only four NBA teams remain in the running to capture the Larry O’Brien Trophy weeks from now, following a second round that saw each series go at least six games.

This year’s conference finals feature a recent NBA champion (the Los Angeles Lakers), two recent NBA Finals participants (the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics), and a recent conference finalist (the Denver Nuggets).

This was the makeup of the NBA’s final four in the bubble in 2020. That year, the fifth-seeded Heat defeated the third-seeded Celtics in six games in the Eastern Conference finals, while the top-seeded Lakers defeated the third-seeded Nuggets in five games in the Western Conference finals.

This time around, the roles are reversed. Denver, the top seed in the Western Conference, and Boston, the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference, are the highest seeds remaining. In their way stand the Lakers, the seventh seed in the West, and the Heat, the eighth seed in the West, both of whom had to go through the play-in tournament.

Before we take a look at Heat vs Celtics and Lakers vs Nuggets, let’s take a look at conference finals series odds.

2023 NBA Conference Finals Series Odds

Eastern Conference Finals

Odds to Win the Eastern Conference Finals

  • Miami Heat +400
  • Boston Celtics -525

Series Handicap

  • Miami Heat +1.5 (+155)
  • Boston Celtics -1.5 (-190)

Series Total Games

  • Four Games +370
  • Five Games +225
  • Six Games +240
  • Seven Games +260

Western Conference Finals

Odds to Win the Western Conference Finals

  • Los Angeles Lakers +145
  • Denver Nuggets -170

Series Handicap

  • Los Angeles Lakers +1.5 (-165)
  • Denver Nuggets -1.5 (+135)

Series Total Games

  • Four Games +750
  • Five Games +300
  • Six Games +175
  • Seven Games +175

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2023 NBA Conference Finals Predictions

LeBron James Anthony Davis Los Angeles Lakers NBA

Eastern Conference Finals

For the second straight year and the third time in four years, the Celtics and Heat are meeting in the Eastern Conference finals.

Will the lower seed win yet again? Along with Miami’s win in 2020, the second-seeded Celtics defeated the top-seeded Heat in seven games last season to reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

Oddsmakers don’t expect such a result, and the most likely outcome, according to series odds, is Boston winning the series in five games.

However, I don’t think that is how things will shake out.

The Celtics have had some highly impressive results in this year’s playoffs, including their demolition of the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 on Sunday.

But they have also done a great job of making things harder than they really needed to be. In the first round, they should have finished off the Atlanta Hawks at home in Game 5. But they didn’t and had to win the series in Atlanta, making them the only team from the East to need more than five games to advance.

Then in the conference semifinals against the Sixers, the Celtics lost twice at home and were on the brink of elimination after losing Game 5 by double digits at home.

The Heat have already gotten the job done against two higher-seeded squads, dispatching the #1 Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and the #5 New York Knicks in the second round. They certainly won’t be running scared, especially given that they split the four-game regular season series between the two teams.

The Heat started each of their previous series by winning Game 1 on the road, and if they can repeat that feat or take Game 2 at TD Garden, this series will be going six or seven.

I do think the Celtics will pull it out to advance to the NBA Finals for the second straight year, but I expect the Heat to really make them work for it. Celtics in six.

Western Conference Finals

The Nuggets are one of six teams that have yet to reach the NBA Finals, in addition to the Clippers, Grizzlies, Hornets, Pelicans, and Timberwolves.

To end that drought and move within four wins of the franchise’s first NBA title, they will have to see off the Lakers, who are healthy, clicking, and winning after an injury-plagued rollercoaster of a season.

Nikola Jokic has been a beast thus far in the playoffs, and the Nuggets are benefitting from a healthy Jamal Murray, whose absence in the playoffs in 2021 and 2022 contributed heavily to early exits for Denver.

But based on current evidence, I’m leaning towards the Lakers to extend Denver’s NBA Finals drought.

They have won nine in a row at home, including six straight across their series wins over the Memphis Grizzlies and Golden State Warriors, and they have managed to get a valuable win on the road in each series. Look for them to follow the same pattern in this series and win in six yet again.

Eddie Griffin
Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.