Golden State Warriors Odds-On Favorites to Win 3rd NBA Title
The NBA Championship odds for the Golden State Warriors make them the odds-on favorite to three-peat as NBA champs, a proposition which appears to be driving away sports bettors from pro basketball wagers. In fact, Las Vegas oddsmakers say their NHL handle is greater right now than the NBA handle.
The NBA regular season begins this week, so it was worth taking a look at the NBA championship odds.
Golden State has -200 odds to win their third straight title, meaning they are favorites against all other teams in the National Basketball Association combined.
The Boston Celtics have the second-best odds at 6/1. Next is the Houston Rockets, who came one game from eliminating the Warriors last year, with 9/1 odds.
Lakers and 76ers NBA Title Odds
The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers tie for fourth-best odds at 12/1. The LA Lakers, of course, added LeBron James to the roster. While the Lakers’ roster is thought to be more talented than the one James led to the NBA Finals last year, the Lakers are considered way behind Golden State — and even behind the Rockets in the West.
The Sixers have a young set of star players led by Ben Simmons and Joel Embid, who should improve on last year’s results. Markelle Fultz, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, starts the year as the team’s sixth man and could be a wild card in whether the team can challenge the Celtics in the East.
Raptors and Thunder NBA Title Odds
The Toronto Raptors, which has a recent history of excellent regular season play followed by playoff letdowns, is next at 22/1. The Oklahoma City Thunder, led by Russell Westbrook and Paul George, are the next team with 40/1 odds of winning the title.
Every other team has 75/1 odds or lower. The Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, and Utah Jazz all come in at 75/1. The New Orleans Pelicans, whose leader Anthony Davis said he was the best player in the NBA the other day, has 100/1 odds.
Long Shots to Win the NBA Title
The Sacramento Kings and the Brooklyn Nets bring up the rear with 1000/1 odds. Bettors should save their money, though. Betting on the Kings and Nets to win the NBA title in June 2019 is like investing in penny stocks. Virtually every other team in the league would need to sustain massive injuries to make it happen.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, which lost Lebron James in the offseason, now has 500/1 odds. The Cavs’ odds went up by a factor of 100 from last year, due to the loss of one player.
Golden State Warriors’ Dominance
The real story is the dominance the Golden State Warriors represent. With their All-Star core of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the Warriors have won the last 2 NBA titles. Last year, the team swept the Cavs in four games, so their dominance seems to be growing.
In the offseason, the Warriors added Demarcus Cousins on a one-year “prove it to me” deal. Andre Iguadola remains a key glue character. Players like Cousins, Iguadola, and Durant have taken less money to bolster their team’s chances of a three-peat.
Even before the addition of Cousins (or Durant), the Warriors came one minute from having won four NBA titles in a row. Only the heroics of Lebron James and Kyrie Irving in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals pulled out that series for the Cavs. Otherwise, the last 4 years of NBA history would have been entirely about one team’s domination.
Sports Bettors Less Interested in NBA Futures Bets
The perception that the Golden State Warriors are going to sail to another title has turned off sports bettors. A sports betting director at Caesars Palace said, “That has more to do with how the market is laid out than the sport itself. There aren’t eight teams who can win the NBA title. There are only eight teams in the NHL who can’t win [the Stanley Cup].”
Jeff Sherman, a sportsbook director at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, backed up the opinion the Caesars bookmaker. Sherman said, “If the NBA was more wide open, or at least perceived that way, [betting] handle would be greater than what we are seeing now. So many teams have little to no chance of winning the title with the lack of parity. At this point, our handle on NHL outrights [odds to win the Stanley Cup] is greater than NBA outrights.”
It is a long NBA season. Injuries happen. Trades happen. A favorite at the start of the season might not be the favorite by the end. But the Golden State Warriors are such a sure thing — 5-deep full of All-Stars — that no single injury is likely to derail their status as title favorites.
Perhaps the Warriors’ four deep runs in the playoffs leads to physical or mental exhaustion or increases the odds of key injuries, but the team is young and has tremendous depth. Less than most NBA repeat champions, the Warriors appear less likely to fall prey to the usual depredations of a longtime contender.
Las Vegas Golden Knights Betting
Part of the reason the Vegas Strip sports bettors are more interested in the NHL this year is local fervor. The second-year Las Vegas Golden Knights went to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals last year. Fans are probably betting more on the Golden Knights than they otherwise would.