2019 NBA Championship Odds and Expert Predictions
We are a quarter of the way through the NBA season, so it is a good time for us to revisit the NBA Championship futures that we haven't looked at since before the season began. The race to the championship sure hasn't set up so far like we expected it to at the start of the season. And that means that these numbers don't look like we expected them to - but unfortunately the changes don't really make them more attractive. (odds to win the NBA championship are from Bovada ):
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Golden State (-150): This number is just a big reminder that we need to take a step back, calm down, and keep our perspective as we look at things. Sure, things have been relatively rough for the Warriors. They aren't getting along, can't stay healthy, and haven't been particularly strong - or at least not consistently so. But they are still heavy, heavy favorites. Perhaps heavier than ever because Houston has been a mess, and the rest of the contenders outside of Toronto have not looked ready for primetime just yet. The depth of talent, and the experience they have, are just too much for anyone else to handle. I wouldn't bet this price, but only because I wouldn't tie up money until the late spring for this kind of potential return for any team.
Toronto (+850): Maybe I just have my maple syrup goggles on as a Canadian, but I sure believe in what these boys are doing up north these days. Kawhi Leonard has fit like a total glove and is only getting better. The roster is deep, the talent is strong, they have played as well on the road as at home, and their new coaching situation is excellent. There is a long time between now and the finals, but as we sit right now it sure feels like this is the only team capable of giving the Warriors a real test. There is more relative value here than there is for any team in the league.
Boston (+1100): On paper the Celtics are no worse than the second-best team in the conference, but it sure hasn't looked that way. For the entire Brad Stevens era until this year it was most striking to see just how in control this team always looked. They always had a big advantage in scheming. But this year that hasn't always seemed to be the case. They just look confused too often, and the results are evident in their betting performance - they are a dismal 8-13 ATS. They are too talented and too well coached to keep struggling all year, but for now it is, above all else, a reason to doubt this price.
Houston (+1100): The Rockets just lost their fourth straight game. And it was to a Dallas team that shouldn't be in their class - and it was in Houston. This doesn't qualify as rock bottom yet, but it isn't that far off. They are better than Phoenix, and that's it in the West right now. Now, disappointed starts to the season have been contagious in the West, so they are only a game and a half out of a playoff spot. All isn't lost. But they really suck right now. And this price sucks, too.
Philadelphia (+1200): We don't have enough information to deal with this number. Not yet. Jimmy Butler hasn't meshed entirely yet. The Markelle Fultz situation is just a confusing mess that will take time to resolve. And the team probably needs to add another shooter - and Kyle Korver, who was the obvious fit, is off the market now. I like this price better than Boston and Houston right now, but we still really don't know what this team is.
L.A. Lakers (+1800): This number is so incredibly stupid. LeBron James is really, really good. We all know that. But he has no help, and we have seen that even with a lot of help around him he is at a huge disadvantage against the Warriors. I don't want to judge, but you would have to be a total and utter moron to find this number worth betting.
Milwaukee (+2000): The Freak is playing like a freak, Khris Middleton is an excellent second option, and there is some decent depth here. This is a good team playing right up to expectations. But it just doesn't feel like they are up to the caliber of the best teams - they aren't beating the Warriors, or the Raptors for that matter.
Oklahoma City (+2200): Like the Thunder, they are a good team with a great player at the helm, but they just aren't good enough to beat the rest unless the circumstances really break down just right for them. It's hard to get too excited about this price.
Utah (+4500): Entering the season I would have been all over this price. I really liked what this team had going. But they have been a huge disappointment up to this point, and I am not convinced that they will get it fully back on track. They'll be a playoff team for sure, but they aren't nearly as threatening as I sure hoped they were going to be.
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