Before and during the NBA playoffs, the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat weren't getting a lot of respect in betting markets.
The Nuggets, a No. 1 seed, started off with +1000 odds to win the NBA championship. They were underdogs in the second round against the Phoenix Suns.
The Heat were more understandably ignored. They were a No. 8 seed. Even after winning two series to make the Eastern Conference finals, they were +400 to win the series against the Boston Celtics. An ESPN analytics tweet said the Heat had a 3 percent chance to win the series, which was obviously a bit ridiculous. Miami was a home underdog for Game 3 after winning twice in Boston, and that looked like a really bad line as the Heat destroyed the Celtics.
But even if you believed in the Heat and Nuggets this round, you probably didn't think they'd have a shot at sweeping their way to the NBA Finals. You'd be on the verge of a nice betting win if you did.
Long odds for sweeps
BetMGM reminded everyone of the odds of a sweep in each conference before the series began. The Heat and Nuggets are up 3-0 in their respective series.
Odds to sweep before the start of the Conference Finals 🧹
• Nuggets: +1000
• Heat: +4000 👀 pic.twitter.com/iEQj7CnFRj
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) May 22, 2023
Just for fun, a parlay of both teams sweeping would have had 450-to-1 odds.
Neither team has swept, but being up 3-0 gives them a chance. The Nuggets are 3.5-point underdogs for Game 4 on Monday night at BetMGM. The Heat are finally a favorite for Game 4 after an embarrassing no-show by the Celtics on Sunday night. Miami is a 1.5-point favorite for Tuesday night's game.
For anyone holding a Heat sweep ticket a 40-to-1, it's a good (and surprising) place to be in.
Heat, Nuggets playing well
The Heat eliminating the Celtics was a long shot before the series started, even if they had a much better than 3 percent chance of doing it. A sweep would be shocking, though the way the Heat are going through the Celtics is a carbon copy of how they worked the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks in the first two rounds.
The Nuggets were 10-to-1 to sweep the Los Angeles Lakers, and it's a little surprising it was that short. The Lakers came in playing well, with a lot of star power. The Nuggets have just been better.
The Nuggets will be favored in the NBA Finals, assuming neither the Lakers or Celtics pull off a historic comeback in those series. The Nuggets are -225 to win the championship and the Heat are +250. We'll see what the odds are if and when they finish the conference finals. Some bettors might be hoping it happens in Game 4.