NBA season preview 2023-24: NBA Championship Odds, Winner Predictions & Best Bets – Damian Lillard elevates the Milwaukee Bucks
We are just one week away from tip-off in the 2023-24 NBA season and you can already feel the excitement in the air as we get closer and closer to opening day on October 24. Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets will receive their rings on opening night as they host the Lakers, and the oddsmakers have them as 3rd favorites at the start of the season to repeat as champions. The other finalists from last season, Miami, didn’t have the best of offseasons and their odds of +3000 to win it all certainly reflect that.
There are quite a few things to keep an eye on as we head into the new year: Can the Denver Nuggets become only the 4th team to win back-to-back titles since the turn of the century? When will the situation in Philadelphia surrounding James Harden implode? Is this the year Zion Williamson finally stays healthy? Who will become the first winner of the inaugural in-season NBA tournament? Has Father Time finally caught up with LeBron James? Can the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty extend one more year?
The new season tips off with the defending champions Denver Nuggets hosting the LA Lakers in what will be a rematch of last season’s NBA Western Conference Finals, which the Nuggets swept 4-0. The 2nd game of the night will feature two more title contenders as the Phoenix Suns head into Chase Center to take on Stephen Curry’s new-look Golden State Warriors. Along with these NBA championship predictions, be sure to keep an eye on our NBA analysis page for the upcoming 2023-2024 season.
Let’s take a deep dive into my best bet and longshot to win the 2023-2024 NBA title.
2023-24 NBA Championship betting odds and favorites
Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of publishing.
Boston Celtics +380
Milwaukee Bucks +380
Denver Nuggets +550
Phoenix Suns +550
LA Lakers +1300
Golden State Warriors +1400
Cleveland Cavaliers +2400
Memphis Grizzlies +2400
Dallas Mavericks +2500
LA Clippers +2700
Philadelphia 76ers +2700
Miami Heat +3000
New Orleans Pelicans +4200
New York Knicks +4600
Sacramento Kings +5000
Minnesota Timberwolves +5500
Oklahoma City Thunder +8500
Chicago Bulls +13000
2024 NBA Championship winner best bet: Milwaukee Bucks (+380)
For the first time in a long while, the oddsmakers have co-favorites to win the NBA Championship this season, with the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks being tied at +380 odds to start the year. The pressure is mounting on both teams, but to me, it’s the Bucks who have the slight advantage here. Losing Jrue Holiday will obviously hurt their defense, but getting back a generational talent like Damian Lillard on offense could potentially elevate them to heights on that end of the floor we’ve never seen in NBA history. Last season the Bucks finished 4th in defensive rating, so despite the absence of Holiday, I believe they should still be able to crack the top 10.
Another significant addition to the roster is Malik Beasley, who should replace the production of Grayson Allen after he was dealt in the blockbuster trade for Lillard. Over the past two seasons, the shooting guard has connected on 275 and 280 threes on almost 39% efficiency, so adding him into the mix makes Milwaukee one of the best three-point shooting teams in the NBA. That alone should guarantee them a ton of regular-season wins and a high seed come playoff time, which could prove to be crucial in this year’s title race. Last season, the Bucks led the East as the #1 seed, but an unfortunate turn of events and an injury to star player Giannis Antetokounmpo proved to be too costly against the 8th-seeded Miami Heat.
Losing to an 8th seed leaves a stain on the Greek Freak’s legacy, but turning things around this season and winning the title should make up for that. A lot of people are saying the inexperience of head coach Adrian Griffin will be an issue here, but I am not of that opinion. Although this will be his first head coaching job, he still has 15 years worth of coaching experience in the NBA, including spending the last 5 seasons as an assistant with the Toronto Raptors. With arguably two of the best players in the league at his disposal and one of the deepest teams in the league, I think Griffin will do just fine here. It’s also worth mentioning that Khris Middleton starts the year healthy, after struggling to find consistency all year long. Last season was a big disappointment and now it’s redemption time, so I’m picking the Bucks to go all the way at +380 odds.
New to NBA betting? Check out our NBA betting guide
2024 NBA Championship winner best longshot bet: Los Angeles Clippers (+2700)
For the past decade or so, it feels like we’ve always included the Clippers in these discussions and they always find new ways to let us down. Why is this year going to be different you ask? Well, for starters, both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are healthy and have no injury concerns to start the new season. On paper, you won’t find many teams as talented as LA. They have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA and with a fresh start and a full training camp together, this team is showing a lot of promise. Russell Westbrook excelled last season in the absence of Leonard and George, showing that he still has a lot of gas left in the tank despite entering this season nearing the tender age of 35.
The addition of Kenyon Martin Jr. was their biggest offseason move and with the re-signing of backup center Mason Plumlee, this team is almost identical to the one we saw get eliminated in the first round by Phoenix last season. With another year playing together under their belt, the experience is there and with most of the focus being on teams like Milwaukee, Boston, Denver and the Lakers, I feel like the Clippers could slip under the radar a bit this season and make some noise come postseason time.
Obviously, health is always a concern when betting on this team, but even for the Clippers, their luck has to turn around at some point. The championship window is slowly closing for this team, as both Leonard and George are entering the final year of their contracts (assuming they don’t pick up their player options for next year) so it’s now or never for Steve Balmer’s team to do something significant. Let’s also not forget that the Clippers will be moving into their brand new arena in Inglewood next season, so what better way to create a buzz and draw interest around this team than with a deep playoff run? At +2700, I feel like they deserve a bet as a longshot pick for this season.