Globe-trotting Betfair US Sports InFormer Ed Wyatt proclaims 'the king is dead' as he delivers his round up of the NBA Conference Finals.
The king is dead.
Long live the king.
Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers will not win the NBA title this year after being eliminated in five games by Oklahoma City. But several superstars remain in the hunt, including the Thunder's Kevin Durant, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and of course, Miami's LeBron "King" James.
As many of you know, I've been backing the Heat since the pre-season.
It didn't take a genius to back LeBron, Dwyane Wade and co., but they've come through some tough times - including the loss of big man Chris Bosh - and got past Indiana in a physical series.
Now it's the Eastern Conference finals against Boston, who had an even tougher time with Philadelphia.
The Sixers pushed the aging Celtics to the limit, forcing a seventh game decider. Boston veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were all effective at times, but it was point guard Rajon Rondo who came up big in the clutch. He had 18 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in Game Seven to keep the Celtics' hopes alive.
Rondo will need to play at the same level against Miami, because the Heat will be a tougher proposition. LeBron and Wade are a difficult matchup for the Celtics (as they are for anyone) but Rondo is the one guy who can really torment Miami's defense.
Still, the Celtics are a long shot to win the Eastern Conference (6.8) and I'm still bullish on the Heat. Although there's not much value in backing Miami to win the East @ Betfair odds of (1.22), you can still get them @ Betfair odds of $2.32 to win the NBA title.
The Western Conference finals are even more intriguing.
The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are the top two seeds and have been the best in the West all season. This will be a battle of discipline and depth (Spurs) versus speed and youthful exuberance (Thunder).
The Spurs will want to slow things down and work a three-man game between Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, while the Thunder will want to keep running and gunning with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
This will be an incredibly close series, which is why I think there is value in picking San Antonio to win in seven games. The Spurs have home-court advantage, so a 4-3 win @ Betfair odds of $4.20 might be worth a look.
Ironically, I also think the Thunder might be able to steal this series.
They're young and hungry, and if a few things go their way, they could have too much firepower for San Antonio.
So if you like to roll the dice a little bit, maybe have a look at Oklahoma City winning the West at $2.74.