Los Angeles Clippers Odds to win NBA Finals: Championship Picks and Predictions
by George Monroy - 3/27/2014
The Los Angeles Clippers are no longer content with simply being a contender for an NBA title, and they believe they have the talent to raise a banner in the Staples Center that does not have the word "Lakers" written on it. The team opened up its checkbook this season and put Donald Sterling's money to work, signing coach Doc Rivers during the offseason and adding bits and pieces to its roster through the year.
Los Angeles now has one of the deepest rosters in the league and continues to be on the short list of legitimate contenders to win an NBA Championship in June. Rivers has the squad shooting for the third seed in the Western Conference behind the stellar play of team-superstar Blake Griffin, who has added multiple dimensions to his game. Let's take a closer look at Los Angeles 2014 NBA Championship odds with picks, analysis and predictions.
Los Angeles Clippers Odds to win NBA Finals Story Lines
Los Angeles is tied for the third seed in the Western Conference playoff race with the Houston Rockets, and barring any major setbacks over the next 10 games will enter the first round of the playoffs with home-court advantage. The team spent the early part of the season adjusting to Rivers and experimenting with lineups while adding key players to its roster.
Griffin vastly improved his overall game this season and has finally become more than just an athletic big man. He is now a very good all-around basketball player. The forward's newfound skills in the paint have addressed a glaring issue in Los Angeles' offense over the last couple of years. The team's fatal flaw during the postseason has been its lack of a low-post presence on offense, which caused the squad to be eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies over the last two postseasons.
Late in games, when the defense tightens up, the Clippers did not have a strong low-post presence to score points and help anchor the offense. Griffin spent too much time looking to take mid-range jumpers during those situations and shied away from the physical play down low. And while the former dunk contest winner may never play the role of team enforcer, he has improved on his low-post play, and he subsequently has Los Angeles in the middle of the title picture.
Los Angeles Clippers NBA Finals Betting Odds and Key Trends
Los Angeles is receiving the fifth-best NBA title odds at +1200, according to Sportsbook.ag. The squad is currently 50-22 SU with a 39-32-1 ATS record and a 36-35-1 totals record and is also receiving +500 odds to win the Western Conferences, which trails only the Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Los Angeles is the highest-scoring team in the league, averaging 107.1 points per game and shooting the fourth-best field goal percentage as well. The squad also has Griffin averaging 24.3 points per game and both Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford averaging 18 points apiece. On the defensive side of the ball, Coach Rivers has the team more active and committed to producing stops. Los Angeles allows the lowest 3-point shooting percentage in the league and 13th lowest points per game.
Los Angeles Clippers Odds to Win NBA Finals Picks and Predictions
NBA Championships are difficult to win. Many great players, and teams, go unrewarded for their hard work and effort year-in and year-out. The list of great players and teams without NBA Championship rings is a long one, and unfortunately the Clippers may be destined to be on that list. The team is excellent on offense, but not the best. They are also good on defense, but again, not the best.
Everything that Los Angeles does, another team in the league does better. The team will simply have too difficult of a road out of the Western Conference to be serious contenders for a title. As things stand at the moment, Los Angeles would have to play the toughest first-round series against the Golden State Warriors and then have to face the Thunder then the Spurs and then the Heat or Pacers in the Finals. The Clippers are receiving a nice price, but it does not justify a bet on the team. Expect the team to make another second-round playoff exit.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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