NBA Betting Favorites & Underdogs for 2018 Championship
With the 2017-18 NBA regular season steamrolling toward a fast and furious finish and teams in both conferences looking to put the pedal to the metal in the hopes of boosting their chances of winning it all this season, now is a perfect time to take a look at some of the top favorites and underdogs. Whether you like one of the top favorites on the board or you think some underdog could pull off what would amount to an earth-shaking upset, the expert analysis that you’re about to get could help you cash in big with your NBA Finals futures odds wager.
— NBA (@NBA) March 9, 2018
Odds to win the 2017-18 NBA Finals
Golden State Warriors 2/3
Houston Rockets 4/1
Cleveland Cavaliers 6/1
Let’s just be honest and just admit that the likelihood is that one of these three teams is going to win this season’s NBA Finals – and really, it’s more of a two-team race if you ask me (I’m sorry Cleveland).
In the case of the reigning champion Golden State Warriors (50-14), they’ve clearly going to have their hands full trying to defend both, their NBA title and status as top dogs in the Western Conference. Still, until, someone actually unseats them, the Dubs are prohibitive favorites for a reason.
Golden State still has a quartet of all-star players, one of the game’s best head coaches and a bench full of both, key veteran and youthful contributors that often get overlooked because of their four all-star starters. Golden State ranks first in scoring (116.0 ppg) and has a pair of unstoppable offensive forces in Steph Curry (26.8 ppg) and Kevin Durant (25.9 ppg), plus they’re still very good at the other end of the floor as they limit the opposition to just 44.1 percent shooting from the field to rank third in defensive field goal shooting percentage. Until I see otherwise, I believe the Dubs will somehow find a way to win the Western Conference once again.
Having said all of that, if there’s one team that I believe is built to beat the Warriors, it’s undoubtedly the incendiary Houston Rockets (50-13). Not only has Houston won 17 straight games at the time of this writing, but really, they’ve been transformed into a powerhouse because of the addition of future Hall of Fame superstar point guard Chris Paul, who himself, has been re-energized after carrying the perennially-underachieving Los Angeles Clippers for years. Combined with now, sure-fire MVP winner James Harden, an athletic, but the underrated big man in Clint Capela and a cast of sweet-shooting veterans like Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza, and Ryan Anderson, Houston could very well take out Golden State as conference and league champs this year.
As far as LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (38-26) are concerned, they definitely were given a boost in chemistry and energy by the handful of trades that brought them veterans Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood, George Hill, and Larry Nance Jr., but recently, they’ve come back to the pack again and have gone 6-4 over their last 10 games while suffering losses to the Wizards, Spurs, Sixers, and Nuggets.
I love their additions, but I’m starting to think the specter of losing LeBron James is not going to allow the Cavs to reach their full potential this postseason no matter who’s on their roster. The Cavs rank a dismal 26t in points allowed (109.7 ppg) and that’s just not going to cut it if they reach the Finals opposite either Golden State or Houston.
The Top Underdogs
Toronto Raptors 12/1
Boston Celtics 20/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 33/1
San Antonio Spurs 33/1
Philadelphia 76ers 50/1
Minnesota Timberwolves 66/1
Washington Wizards 66/1
Analysis: Toronto (47-17) suddenly has the look of a team that could very well dethrone James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Raptors have ripped off nine wins in their last 10 games with their only loss along the way being an overtime loss to Milwaukee. While I remain skeptical about my ‘Philly homeboy’ Kyle Lowry and his playoff struggles, let it be known that Toronto has five players averaging double figures in scoring an absolutely amazing bench that has features six players averaging at least 5.9 points per game.
In the case of the Boston Celtics (45-20), they also have the look of a team that is going to be tough to dispatch in the Eastern Conference. The C’s have a flat-out superstar in point guard Kyrie Irving (24.8 ppg), even if he does believe the earth is flat. Boston also has an all-star big man in veteran Al Horford and another capable scoring big in recently acquired veteran Greg Monroe. The Celtics also have a pair of gifted young wings in second-year swingman Jaylen Brown and rookie forward Jayson Tatum that could be game-changers this postseason. If only they had Gordon Hayward.
Oklahoma City (37-29) has a pair of legitimate superstars in Russell Westbrook and Paul George and a fading former star in Carmelo Anthony that can still put the ball in the basket when called upon. Unfortunately, the Thunder are wildly inconsistent and they don’t really like to play defense very much.
The San Antonio Spurs (37-27) are still very good and I think they might reach the 50-win mark again this season, but you’d be better served saving your postseason betting bucks on San Antonio seeing as how they really are a shell of their former selves without perennial all-star forward Kawhi Leonard.
The Philadelphia 76ers (35-28) are going to be a dangerous team with a capital ‘D’ in the very near future thanks to young stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons first and foremost. However, Philly is like a fruit that isn’t quite ripe and ready to be plucked. Still, I say trust the process.
As far as the Minnesota Timberwolves (38-28) are concerned, they’ve got a really nice trio of stars in Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jimmy Butler and a couple of other excellent veterans in point guard Jeff Teague and forward Taj Gibson, but they’re lacking quality contributors on the bench and that just won’t cut it in the powerful Western Conference.
Last but not least, I’m just about sick and tired of the Washington Wizards (37-28) letting me down year after year despite having what looks like a title-worthy roster featuring a pair of all-star guards, an underrated two-way player at small forward and a pair of really solid big men. Again, I say save your betting bucks with the Wizards, who can both, beat – and lose to just about anyone on any given night.
Indiana Pacers 80/1
Milwaukee Bucks 80/1
Miami Heat 100/1
Utah Jazz 100/1
Portland Trail Blazers 125/1
Denver Nuggets 150/1
New Orleans Pelicans 150/1
Detroit Pistons 250/1
Los Angeles Clippers 250/1
Charlotte Hornets 500/1
Los Angeles Lakers 500/1
Chicago Bulls 1000/1
New York Knicks 1000/1
Orlando Magic 2000/1
Atlanta Hawks 5000/1
Brooklyn Nets 5000/1
Dallas Mavericks 5000/1
Memphis Grizzlies 5000/1
Phoenix Suns 5000/1
Sacramento Kings 5000/1