2014 NBA Title Futures Odds & Final 4 Handicapping Predictions

NBA Futures Betting?

The 2014 NBA playoffs have reached their version of the Final Four. The Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat are set to square off out East, while the Oklahoma City Thunder are hoping to take down the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs. [ad-4468020]

The Larry O’Brien Trophy is at stake, and all four teams are here for a reason. Now it’s time to figure out which of these four are contenders, and which have an uphill battle ahead of themselves.

Odds provided by

Indiana Pacers 10/1

Of the four teams remaining in the postseason, the Indiana Pacers have the worst odds to bring home a title, and it’s easy to see why. The team has been inconsistent dating back to the late part of the regular season, and even more worrisome is that it has looked unreliable at times on the defensive end.

This team has made a mark as one of the best defensive squads in the league, which has compensated for the fact that it is atrocious on offense. Without that defense, the offense has to work even harder, which is a problem considering it is the lowest points-per-game team remaining in the postseason.

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While Paul George is going to remain the star of this team, the difference-maker in a series against the Miami Heat is going to be Roy Hibbert. In two wins against the Heat, the center averaged 22.5 points per game. In two losses, that number dropped to just 5.5

The big man in the middle has been a source of controversy all playoffs, and counting on him is risky. Then again, if you’re looking for a dark horse, and you believe Hibbert can play a consistent brand of basketball, look at the Pacers—a team that split the series with Miami 2-2 in the regular season.

Oklahoma City Thunder 7/2

The Oklahoma City Thunder have two things going against them at this time. First and foremost, they are playing the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs. Not only does this team have Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on its side (not to mention Gregg Popovich), but it is coming off of a complete dismantling of the Portland Trail Blazers.

The bigger issue is that Serge Ibaka, the team’s third option—albeit, in the shadows of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant—is out for the remainder of the postseason. He suffered a calf injury against the Los Angeles Clippers, and he’ll be forced to shut it down until the 2014-15 campaign.

The good news, for those looking at the glass half full, is that Westbrook and Durant are still on board. Durant is the game’s MVP for a reason, and Westbrook, while inconsistent, is a threat to take down opposing floor generals night in and night out.
This is a team that is as exciting as it comes, but excitement doesn’t always win games. Productive basketball players do, and that’s what OKC will be hoping for against San Antonio.

San Antonio Spurs 11/5

Speaking of San Antonio, let’s break down what makes it such a threat this time of year.

Coaching is the first element. Popovich is a key contributor to their success, as he’s been brilliant at getting the most out of his bench players for years. He sets the entire team up with the right mindset, and he doesn’t let any individual player get ahead of himself on a night-to-night basis.

When it comes to the bench, let’s not disregard depth. We all know what the Big Three has done throughout the years, but the truth is that without a solid cast on the block and on the perimeter, getting the job done wouldn’t be as easy.

The third, and far from the final, element is the concept of team basketball. The Spurs play as a cohesive unit night in and night out, and simply put: They make it look easy.

None of this is to say that the Spurs are without their flaws, as we saw them fail to make work of the Dallas Mavericks in Round 1. Then again, we saw what they can do when they’re serious against Portland, and it’s easy to see why they’re the favorites to come out of the West again this season.

Miami Heat 11/10

The Miami Heat are seeking their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance. Even further, they’re looking for their third straight title, and with LeBron James leading the way, it’s easy to see why they’re the odds-on favorites.

At this juncture, Miami’s success largely depends on the health and production of Dwyane Wade. We saw in Cleveland that James can’t do it on his own, and while he has Chris Bosh on his side as well, Wade is the one who takes the pressure off him late in contests (although Bosh has done more and more of that in recent history).

Defensively, this team is great on a nightly occurrence. Offensively, it has the potential to be great, it just depends how disciplined it is from the standpoint of team basketball and long-distance shooting.

The hottest team entering the Final Four is the Spurs, but the most dangerous is the Heat. You never know when James might go off for 40-plus points (as we saw against the Brooklyn Nets), and when this team plays well together while still maintaining stardom across the Big Three, it’s nearly impossible to stop with a title on the line.

By Cappers Picks

Articles on are written by Q (the Head Honcho) at Cappers Picks or by our resident "in house" handicapper Razor Ray Monohan! Enjoy the free picks folks! "Pad that bankroll one day at a time!"