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Odds to Win 2018-19 NBA Championship: Warriors are Heavy Favorites to Three-Peat

NBA Championship Odds August 20

We’re just over a month away from the 2018-19 NBA season tipoff and it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the Golden State Warriors remaining the odds-on favorites to win their third NBA championship in a row.  

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Warriors at -195 followed by the Boston Celtics at +500, Houston Rockets at +850, Los Angeles Lakers at +1000, Toronto Raptors at +1400,  Philadelphia 76ers at +1600, Oklahoma City Thunder at +3000, Utah Jazz at +7500, San Antonio Spurs at +8000 and Milwaukee Bucks at +10000 to round out the top 10.

Let’s break down the odds for the top five teams outside of Golden State and whether they can upset the apple cart and stop the Warriors from three-peating:

Boston Celtics

The Celtics, who should be the class of the Eastern Conference, are loaded at every position and were a good fourth quarter away from making the NBA Finals last season. Boston’s starting five of Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford will be the envy of the other 14 teams in the East as no team will be able to put that much talent on the floor.

At +500, the case can be made that the Celtics are the best value on the board as they should have an easy time getting to the NBA Finals if they can knock off the Raptors and Sixers. This is a team that is built to contend with a Warriors squad as the Celtics will have players all in the six-foot-eight range who can close out on shooters and potentially stifle the Dubs on the perimeter. The main knock on them is health. Irving isn’t exactly known as an iron man as he has yet to play an 82-game season in his career while Hayward is coming off a gruesome ankle injury. But considering the C’s made Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final without those two all-stars, Boston could be in line to make its first NBA Finals since 2010 and topple the Warriors dynasty.

Los Angeles Lakers

This is where NBA fans may get to see the true greatness of LeBron James as he could become the third player in NBA history to win a title with three separate teams (elite company with the likes of Robert Horry and John Salley). The Lakers are in line to make a big jump in the standings after going 35-47 last season and with nearly the same roster outside of the one-year deals of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and JaVale “Two-Time NBA Champion” McGee, Los Angeles may have a great foundation for LeBron to flourish.

For starters, he won’t have to bring the ball up the court every possession with Lonzo Ball pushing the pace and will have up-and-coming wings in Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma to help shoulder the scoring load. Last season in Cleveland, LeBron didn’t have anyone outside of Kevin Love who averaged double-digit points so to be able to pick his spots offensively and take on a closer role could set James up for his fifth NBA MVP award.

However, where this team falls short is on the defensive end as they may need to go to small ball to have all of their best players on the floor and in the Western Conference, they’ll simply get outmuscled down low. While I think the Lakers (+1000) will finish in the top three in the West, taking down the Warriors will be a huge undertaking as this team ranked 25th in points allowed per game last season and didn’t really add anyone who will move the needle defensively.

Houston Rockets

In what felt like a kick in the gut for Rockets’ NBA championship backers, Houston couldn’t slay the dragon after Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury and fell short of toppling the Warriors. Now it feels like they took a step back after losing Trevor Ariza and replacing him with Carmelo Anthony.

While I don’t think the drop-off will be as obvious in the standings, Ariza was the perfect complementary piece to the Rockets’ “3 or Layup” offense whereas Carmelo is a ball-stopper and will likely clog up Houston’s efficiency. At +850, bettors can’t be faulted for backing them but don’t be surprised if they still can’t get over the hump that is Golden State.

Toronto Raptors

The leader in the Eastern Conference standings last season, the Raptors were unceremoniously dumped in the postseason by the Cleveland Cavaliers for a third straight year. But things have changed with the bogeyman known as LeBron gone from the East and the Raps swapping their all-time leading scorer in DeMar DeRozan with arguably the third-best player in the NBA in Kawhi Leonard.

This is a team that may be geared toward a deep postseason run based on the current personnel and adding two defenders on the perimeter in Kawhi and Danny Green. The Raps were ranked fifth in points per game last season and sixth in points allowed so at +1400, it’s not inconceivable for the Raptors to make the NBA Finals and legitimately challenge Golden State as they can match up with almost all of the Warriors’ all-stars.

Philadelphia 76ers

Not to be overlooked last season was the emergence of the East’s best one-two punch of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. The Sixers finally showed promise from “the Process” and should be in contention for years to come with this duo but the downside of becoming a contender is now they won’t sneak up on anybody. Coaches will be able to game-plan around Simmons’ lack of shooting and Embiid’s inability to switch on the perimeter. To be fair to Embiid, that’s a problem for any seven-footer in the pick-and-roll.

Another facet that can’t be overlooked for why the Sixers at +1600 don’t represent the best value is their depth as they didn’t add anyone to improve their roster while the two top dogs in the East did. The Sixers lost Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova in free agency and both of those midseason additions were huge in crunch time as Philly made its run in the East playoffs. Unfortunately, this all hinges on Simmons’ development and the improvement of his jump shot – an improvement that may not happen for a few years.

Bet on the NBA here!

Odds To Win The 2018-19 NBA Championship

Odds as of September 7 at Bovada

  • Golden State Warriors -195
  • Boston Celtics +500
  • Houston Rockets +850
  • Los Angeles Lakers +1000
  • Toronto Raptors +1400
  • Philadelphia 76ers +1600
  • Oklahoma City Thunder +3000
  • Utah Jazz +7500
  • San Antonio Spurs +8000
  • Milwaukee Bucks +10000
  • Washington Wizards +10000
  • New Orleans Pelicans +12500
  • Indiana Pacers +12500
  • Denver Nuggets +12500
  • Portland Trail Blazers +15000
  • Minnesota Timberwolves +15000
  • Dallas Mavericks +25000
  • Los Angeles Clippers +25000
  • Miami Heat +30000
  • Detroit Pistons +30000
  • Charlotte Hornets +30000
  • Chicago Bulls +30000
  • Atlanta Hawks +40000
  • New York Knicks +40000
  • Phoenix Suns +40000
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +45000
  • Brooklyn Nets +45000
  • Orlando Magic +45000
  • Memphis Grizzlies +50000
  • Sacramento Kings +50000