Updated odds to win the 2019 NBA Finals
We’re already one-third of the way through the 2018-19 NBA season and what a ride it’s already been. How many could’ve predicted Houston and Boston to flounder as they have so far? How many saw Denver and Milwaukee being this good? Who has the inside track for the MVP trophy, Kawhi Leonard or Giannis Antetokounmpo?
Here’s one more lingering question, especially important to futures bettors, who will win the NBA championship as season’s end? It’s anybody’s guess, but here’s who Bovada has slotted with the best NBA title futures as of today:
- Golden State Warriors (-155)
- Toronto Raptors (+700)
- Boston Celtics (+950)
- Houston Rockets (+1400)
- Los Angeles Lakers (+1600)
There’s enough of a sample size on NBA teams to readjust futures wagers made before the season or even make one for the first time. If you’re are betting, just make sure it’s on these teams:
The Wild Wild West (if Curry goes down)
For starters, yes, you should absolutely wager on Golden State still. Matter of fact, you should put more money on them than any other team across the league. With three titles in four years, this is an all-time great dynasty and you simply don’t pass up that betting opportunity. Don’t let that Kevin Durant–Draymond Green spat deceive you, there’s no trouble brewing in Oakland (yet).
Now if Steph Curry were to find himself out of the lineup come postseason time, that’s when you hit the panic button. Since the Dubs reign of terror began in 2015, Curry has missed 49 games during that stretch. In those games, the Warriors are just 26-23. They’re simply not the same powerhouse without his sharpshooting and ball-handling capabilities.
The smart strategy here is to spread some futures money around to a few different teams. Again, Golden State should earn the lion’s share of your betting funds, but a few dollars on other teams could go a long way — just look at those steep odds across the board.
If the Dubs slip up out West, who could it be against? No, not the Rockets. They opened the season hovering at +850 odds and have nosedived to +1400 for good reason — they’re a shell of last year’s team. Barring a roster mix-up, that won’t change. What about the LeBron-led Lakers? They’re still too green to seriously threaten the Warriors this season.
Instead, our pick is Oklahoma City, who is currently slotted at +2100. If you’re going to top the Dubs, you’ll have to stifle them with defense, not try to outscore them like many other teams have tried and failed. No team has a more stingy defense than the Thunder, who have an NBA-best defensive efficiency rating of 102.1 points per 100 possessions.
The only other West teams that rank top-10 in defensive efficiency is Denver, Memphis, Utah, and Dallas — all of which are barely hovering at .500, minus Denver. But it’s the Thunder’s star power in Russell Westbrook and Paul George that could overcome a Curry-less Dubs team. Not saying it’ll happen, but they have a better chance at unseating Golden State than any other team out West.
The Rise of the East
While we like the Thunder as futures plays, we’re not in love with them, either. That’s not the case with Toronto, who we believe our must-bet options at +700. That betting confidence comes from the Raptors sweeping the Warriors in two meetings this year.
They first won a 131-128 overtime thriller up north in November, a game where both Curry and Green sat out. However, the follow-up was more impressive. Just last week, Toronto went into Oakland and beat the Dubs by 20 points. That’s not the most remarkable part, either, it’s that the clobbering came with Leonard out of the lineup.
The Raptors matchup well, not only with the Dubs, but the entire league. They rank second and seventh in offensive and defensive efficiency, respectively. That success comes with a versatile lineup that can play deep into their bench and at various positions depending on their opponent.
Earlier we mentioned the Leonard-Antetokounmpo MVP race, if we had a vote, we’d give it to Leonard right now. He’s looking like a better version of his 2014 self — the one who dominated LeBron en route to an NBA Finals MVP win. This version of Kawhi could pose serious problems to the Dubs’ death lineup.
If we’re going to bring up Toronto’s in-season success against the Warriors, it’s only right we talk about the Bucks beating the Raptors twice already this year. Milwaukee won the first matchup by 15 points followed by five on the road. Two more meetings remain between the two, so it’s something to keep an eye on if the Bucks success continues versus them.
Akin to Toronto, Milwaukee can dominate on both ends of the floor. In terms of offensive and defensive efficiency, the Bucks are three and four, respectively. With Antetokounmpo, they have a game-changing player that’s on the cusp of becoming the world’s best. All things considered, Milwaukee’s +1900 odds to win the NBA championship makes a lot of sense here.
So in summary, the Warriors remain the team to bet on until Curry gets hurt. But in the event such disaster strikes, you need to be prepared with wagers on Toronto, Milwaukee, and Oklahoma City — in that order. Opportunist bettors need to cover all their bases.
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