The NBA playoffs / conference finals are one of the most exciting events in sports, attracting millions of bettors worldwide. OpenBet, a world leader in sports betting entertainment that powers some of the world’s biggest sportsbook brands, is at the forefront of facilitating highly immersive experiences for fans across the Playoffs.
Nikos Konstakis, Chief Product Officer at OpenBet, shares the top trends from the NBA season and Playoffs.
Evolving betting patterns: The rise of player props
We’ve witnessed a significant shift towards betting on player props rather than team outcomes within the NBA. Several players in particular have been in the spotlight, attracting a flurry of wagers. Among the most popular players for player props are superstars such as LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid, Luka Doncic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
We’ve continued to fuel our partners with the widest range of player props available, including those which resonate well with recreational bettors who appreciate these types of markets. This is highly beneficial for sportsbook operators, especially during major events like the NBA playoffs and conference finals that attract an influx of recreational punters. Now we’ve reached the conference finals, our platform is averaging double the volume we processed in round one of the playoffs and we’re expecting to see an additional leap for the NBA Finals.
Playoff Finals: Nuggets favorites with Heat defying expectations
While the Nuggets dominated the league throughout the year, Heat faced a challenging road to the playoffs, but managed to defy the odds. Nuggets have maintained an unbeaten record at home during the entire playoffs, showcasing their resilience. As the first seed in the West, Nuggets delivered a stunning sweep against the Lakers in the Conference Finals, potentially marking LeBron James’ final realistic shot at a title. Led by the dynamic duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, the Nuggets’ impressive performance has set the stage for an intense showdown.
On the opposite side of the draw, the Heat dominated with a commanding 3-0 lead in their Conference Final. However, the Celtics mounted an impressive comeback, equalizing the series at 3-3. In a high-stakes game seven, with a spot in the NBA Finals at stake, the Heat outshined the Celtics, securing a comfortable 103-84 victory. Despite entering the playoffs as the lowest seed (number 8), the Heat triumphed over formidable opponents throughout their journey, including a win over Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, as well as victory against the New York Knicks in the second round. One player has emerged as true leader, Jimmy Butler’s consistent high-level performances have set the tone for Heat in their journey to the NBA Finals, in an exceptional demonstration of unwavering resilience and determination.
Odds for Nuggets:
Season Start: +1800
Playoffs Start: +1000
Current (as of 6/1): -425
Odds for Heat throughout season:
Season Start: +1800
Playoffs Start: +15000
Current (as of 6/1): +333
The rise of Same Game Parlays: Tailored betting experiences
The popularity of Same Game Parlays has soared during the playoffs and has contributed to a record year in this growing space, drastically exceeding last year’s playoff numbers. With fewer games and minimal overlap in schedules, high-profile matches have witnessed a remarkable increase in betting volumes.
The upcoming NBA Finals are expected to witness another leap in engagement, as fans hone in on these standalone TV-covered games, crafting winning bets with the help of SportCast’s premium BetBuilder offering. Within the BetBuilder feature, player-specific markets have become the top draw, including Player Points, Player Rebounds, Player Assists, and Player Threes. This trend highlights a shift from traditional game markets, with seven out of the top ten selected markets being player-centric.
Regional trends emerge as Eastern European operators see a significant influx of bets on players such as Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic, reflecting the preferences of their respective markets. Even lesser-known players, like Josh Giddey of the OKC Thunder, garner considerable attention from Australian clients.
Expanding global engagement: Europeans embrace the NBA
The NBA’s appeal is transcending borders, with a surge in international betting on the league. This can be attributed, in part, to the success of foreign-born players. Notably, the top three contenders for this year’s MVP award are all born outside the United States (Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic). Furthermore, the anticipation surrounding the projected number one pick for this year’s draft, Victor Wembanyama, who hails from France, continues to fuel the NBA’s worldwide growth.
The NBA’s brand is flourishing globally. This is demonstrated with highly successful international matchups like the NBA Paris Game 2023, featuring a thrilling matchup between the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons in January of this year. With this approach, we can anticipate continuous growth in the level of betting interest surrounding the NBA from outside North America in the years to come.