The conference finals are underway in both the NBA and NHL, leading to another exciting online sports betting schedule this weekend.
Elsewhere in the world of sports, there are 15 MLB series, the PGA Championship, NCAA softball regionals, the Italian Open championship round, and more.
Spring is indeed a busy time at BetMGM. Here are some notable events:
Lakers vs. Nuggets, Game 3
Saturday, May 20 | 8:30 p.m. ET | ABC
This year’s conference finals matchups are an exact rematch of the 2020 conference finals. Out in the West, that means LeBron James and the Lakers are facing off against the brilliant offense of the Denver Nuggets.
James and Nikola Jokic are certainly key attractions, as they’ve combined to win six Most Valuable Player awards.
However, Anthony Davis could prove to be the best two-way player in the series. His defense has given Los Angeles a key advantage in the playoffs so far; he scored 40 points on 14-of-23 shooting in the Lakers’ failed Game 1 comeback bid.
Denver has taken early control of the series with a 2-0 series lead. But at home during these playoffs, the Lakers are a perfect 6-0 straight-up and 6-0 ATS during the 2023 playoffs.
Panthers vs. Hurricanes, Game 2
Saturday, May 20 | 8:00 p.m. ET | TNT
The NHL’s Western Conference Finals features two teams — the Stars and the Golden Knights — that have both made the Stanley Cup Finals in the last five years.
If you’re looking for a better story, stay in the East, where Carolina and Florida are locked in a feel-good series. Regardless of who wins, one franchise will be headed to its first Stanley Cup Finals in quite some time.
The Hurricanes have been knocking on the door for several years. Ever since the Canes dethroned the Capitals in the first round of the 2019 playoffs, Carolina has been flirting with Stanley Cup relevance. It’s won four playoff series over the last four seasons, but it’s never quite gotten past the conference finals — not since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006.
Even that is better than what the Panthers have. Florida has made exactly one Stanley Cup series, which it lost in 1996. It didn’t win another postseason series until last year, when it won the President’s Cup and advanced past Washington in the first round.
Prior to Game 1, the NHL odds market priced Carolina as the -140 series favorite to win the East and return to the Stanley Cup. But after Florida’s quadruple-overtime win in Game 1 on Thursday night, the Panthers moved to -165 to win the East.
Celtics vs. Heat, Game 3
Sunday, May 21 | 8:30 p.m. ET | TNT
The Heat had six different players score 15 points or more on Wednesday, stealing Game 1 in Boston and taking an early lead in the series.
This is the sixth consecutive playoff series where Miami has won Game 1. Erik Spoelstra’s game approach and tactical acumen likely has a lot to do with that.
Boston isn’t worried yet, though. The Celtics gave up Game 1 to James Harden and the 76ers earlier this month, and that didn’t stop them from coming back and ultimately winning the series.
In fact, Boston remained a +150 co-favorite in the NBA championship odds market on Thursday morning, despite trailing in its own series. Denver finally nosed ahead, at +125, after taking a 2-0 series lead against the Lakers.
The NBA betting population at large either trusts the Celtics because of their talent and experience, or because they’ve seen Boston recover from early series losses before.
Either way, the value remains on Miami, which is three wins away from returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2020, yet is still priced at +170 to win the East.