The Big Three have not generated much Heat so far (NBA/Getty)

The NCAA Final Four is now a distant memory and after the excitement of Opening Day, Major League Baseball has faded into the background. From now until late June, it’s time for the NBA play-offs to dominate the North American sporting landscape.

A lot of money will be wagered on the 2013 NBA Play-offs and the bookies have made the Miami Heat firm favourites to repeat again this year. The Heat have been far and away the best team this season, compiling a league best record of 66-16, which will give them home-court advantage throughout the play-offs.

With their three superstars getting back to full fitness, a deep bench and likely sweep of Milwaukee up first, it’s no wonder the best odds available are a miserly 5-6, offered by Paddy Power and Sky Bet.

Unless the New York Knicks get ousted by Boston in the first round (and you can get 13-4 on that to happen from William Hill), the team from Madison Square Garden are currently the team considered the best threat to the Heat. Most NBA fans will be savouring an Eastern Conference finals between these two teams and if it’s anything like the classic rivalry in the late 90s, we’ll be in for a treat.

Everywhere you look, Knicks are offered at 16-1 to win the Championship, but even if they do get there, can they beat the likes of Oklahoma Thunder or San Antonio Spurs in the finals? The Knicks have not won a Championship since 1973, although they did reach the finals twice in the 90s.

Therefore, Knicks fans who think they can get past Miami, but not win the Championship, might want to look at the odds for winning the Eastern Conference, where you can get at least 7-1. Best odds are from Bet Victor, who are offering 17-2 for the Knicks to win the East.

Out in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma Thunder will be doing their best to make sure it’s a repeat of last year’s finals. Despite losing James Harden last summer, the Thunder still finished top of the pile in their conference.

They have plenty of play-off experience under their belts now and  the best odds on Thunder winning it all are 9-2 from Bet Victor. If you think the Thunder will come up short again in the Finals, Sky Bet, Paddy Power and William Hill are all offering 6-5 for the Thunder to win the West.

If you want to look past the normal logic for picking your bets, you’ve no doubt considered the San Antonio Spurs as potential championship winners, especially as all their titles have come in odd-numbered years.

The Spurs, led by Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and  Manu Ginobli, continue to defy father time and enjoy strong regular seasons, but in the play-offs, the Spurs have not won it all since 2007. If you fancy a flutter on the Spurs, you can’t get better than the 10.50 (37-4) on offer at Unibet. If you think the Spurs would not be able to beat Miami in the finals, then again look at Unibet, who offer 3.5 (5-2) on San Antonio to win the West.

Fancy some outsiders? Well, never rule out the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics causing an upset. Both teams have been written off, with good reason, but neither team will back down from the challenge.

Boston face a huge task against the Knicks in round one but despite the long injury list, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will not go down without a fight. Celtics fans will want to look towards Bet Victor who offer a massive 80-1 on the Celtics to lift the Championship, and 33-1 to win the East.

The Lakers to win the Championship without the injured Kobe Bryant? Impossible. But worth a thought is the chance of the Lakers causing a massive upset in the first round and sending the Spurs packing. Die-hard Lakers fans will be tempted by the 13-2 odds offered by Bet Fred.

Let the play-offs begin!

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