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Odds to Win 2018-19 NBA Championship: Can Anyone Stop the Warriors?

NBA Championship Odds February 19, 2019

As we embark on the final leg of the regular season with teams moving up and down the standings for playoff seeding, oddsmakers continue to have the Golden State Warriors as the odds-on favorite to win their third straight NBA championship.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Warriors (-210) at the top of its list followed by the Toronto Raptors (+850), Milwaukee Bucks (+950), Houston Rockets (+1100), Philadelphia 76ers (+1400), Boston Celtics (+1600), Denver Nuggets (+2500), Oklahoma City Thunder (+2800), Los Angeles Lakers (+5000) and San Antonio Spurs (+6000) to round out the top 10.

Instead of boring you by gushing about Golden State, let’s take a look at the nine teams behind them on the list and see what team might be able to play “David” to the Warriors’ “Goliath.”

Toronto Raptors +850

The trade for center Marc Gasol could be a home-run swing by GM Masai Ujiri and you have to give him credit for going for it this year with the uncertainty of Kawhi Leonard’s return. The Raptors are an excellent 27-7 SU in 34 home games and, on paper, have a starting lineup that could give the Warriors’ defense fits. Being able to have a shooter like Gasol, who can also play serviceable defense down low, should be able to give the Raptors the edge in most matchups in the East to get to the NBA Finals.

But like any team challenging the Dubs, can they limit the Warriors from the three-point line? The Raptors have ranked in the top 10 in opponent three-point percentage and attempts allowed this season but that’s easier said than done in a seven-game series against arguably the greatest shooting team in NBA history.

Boston Celtics +1600

Coming into the season, the Celtics were the darlings of the East with some analysts predicting they would win 60 games and dominate the Atlantic Division. They have enough talent to put out two NBA starting lineups and made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final last year WITHOUT Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Well, winning 60 games is out of the question considering they have 27 losses already and they might now be the third-best team in their own division.

So, what went wrong? Stat comparisons from this season to last don’t show much variance as they actually average nine more points a game on offense and only allow three more points on defense but this actually comes down to a team chemistry issue. You don’t need to look further than the Celtics’ road record as they finished last year at 28-13 in 41 road games but this season, they’re 17-17 SU through 34 away games.

Milwaukee Bucks +950

My personal favorite of the nine teams listed, the Bucks have made a believer out of me. They own an outstanding 27-5 SU home record, have a transcendent superstar and matchup nightmare in Giannis Antetokounmpo and could possibly have home-court advantage in the NBA Finals if they continue winning at this pace.

Giannis will need to improve on his three-point shooting (24.8 percent) if they want to seriously contend with Golden State but Milwaukee’s offense has been so good this season that it almost gets lost in the shuffle that the Bucks also lead the league in opponent field-goal percentage. With those factors combined, the Bucks lead the NBA with an excellent +9.1 point differential. It’s also worth noting that the Bucks are 16-9 SU in 25 games vs Western Conference teams and beat Golden State on its home floor early in the season.

Philadelphia 76ers +1400

Adding a fourth piece to the puzzle has gotten some mixed results thus far in the City of Brotherly Love but since the NBA’s main adversary is overwhelming teams with talent, the Sixers decided to fight fire with fire. Adding in Tobias Harris should give Philly an added boost in the shooting department and complement pass-first guard Ben Simmons in running the offense.

On paper, the Sixers should be destroying teams because no other team (even the Celtics) can put that much talent on the floor at one time but the system that coach Brett Brown has implemented has made Jimmy Butler a bystander on offense. Butler is averaging 18.8 points per game since arriving in Philly and, similar to the Celtics, I’m not sure the Sixers have the team chemistry to get out of the East, let alone beat the Warriors.

Los Angeles Lakers +5000

I won’t spend too much time on the Lakers because, honestly, the Lakers sit seven games out of the final playoff spot in the West and I don’t think they’ll even make the playoffs.

Another issue is the lack of defense for the Lakers. LA is allowing teams to score over 114 points per game (ranked 25th) and dropped 11 of 15 games with LeBron back in the lineup. I just think the road is too hard for the Lakers to make the playoffs and, at this point, they have no shot. Fade accordingly.

Houston Rockets +1100

The one West team that actually gave the Warriors a scare during their four-year run of dominance, the Rockets barely resemble that squad from last season. For one, Chris Paul looks to have slowed down and is not the impactful force in the backcourt like he’s been in past years. His regression along with the James Harden Show taking over Houston has effectively made the Rockets a volume three-point shooting team that is playing basketball’s version of Moneyball.

I don’t think this current formula can beat the Warriors, and the Rockets’ defense has been awful compared to last season when they had the best record in the NBA. Houston held opponents to 103.9 points per game and its ability to switch and close out on shooters was a key factor in holding the Warriors to 107 points per game in the Western Conference final, even though they lost in seven. I think I need to see more of the Rockets with Clint Capela back in the lineup before I write off their title chances but it looks like their window to win a championship may be closed.

Oklahoma City Thunder +2800

Based on value alone, bettors should take a hard look at the Thunder. OKC has been on a rampage by climbing to fourth in the West standings. Paul George has been on a tear and his game reminds me of a peak Tracy McGrady with his ability to defend and shoot the three.

I think they can match up well with the Warriors but the Thunder’s chances will hinge on Russell Westbrook. Westbrook in his career may be averaging 23.1 points per game vs Golden State but his three-point shooting is atrocious (27.4 percent) and he’s only hit 28.4 percent from deep this season. He has too high a usage rate to trust in big games and if the score is close, we’ve all seen the moments where he has an awful shot selection and essentially shoots his team out of the game. Maybe this year, things will be different but that’s not something I’m willing to count on given the 11-year sample size we have of Westbrook’s game.

Denver Nuggets +2500

One of the more pleasant surprises of the NBA season has been the Nuggets, who missed the playoffs by one game last year. The Nuggets are an outstanding 27-6 SU in 33 home games this season and have gone 17-3 SU in their last 20 games at the Pepsi Center.

Home-court advantage will be crucial in the Western Conference playoffs and I expect the Nuggets, led by center Nikola Jokic, to be in the thick of it in the postseason. The Nuggets are 17-4 SU in 21 home games this season vs West teams but when it comes to the second round and the West final, I worry about their lack of experience. Denver’s most experienced postseason player is Paul Millsap and he’s been a shell of himself since coming over from Atlanta. I think they could possibly get to the West final but I am highly doubtful they can beat the Warriors in a seven-game series.

San Antonio Spurs +6000

While it’s cute that the Spurs still remain competitive and have snuck their way back into the playoffs by shooting a blistering 40 percent from three-point range this season (ranked first), the fact remains that they are severely undermanned. The Spurs have been going with a point guard by committee since Dejounte Murray was lost for the season and while Derrick White has filled in admirably, he has been injury-prone and wouldn’t be the caliber of a guard to take down the Dubs.

There’s a reason why the odds take a big jump from a contender like the Thunder (+2800) to the Spurs at +6000, and that’s because oddsmakers believe what I believe: the Spurs are not a legitimate threat to win the title. If you want to take them, you must know something I don’t and I’d actually be more inclined to back the next team on the list – the Utah Jazz at +6600 – over San Antonio.   

Odds To Win The 2018-19 NBA Championship

Odds as of March 12 at Bovada

  • Golden State Warriors -210
  • Toronto Raptors +850
  • Milwaukee Bucks +950
  • Houston Rockets +1100
  • Philadelphia 76ers +1400
  • Boston Celtics +1600
  • Denver Nuggets +2500
  • Oklahoma City Thunder +2800
  • Los Angeles Lakers +5000
  • San Antonio Spurs +6000
  • Utah Jazz +6600
  • Indiana Pacers +9000
  • Brooklyn Nets +10000
  • Detroit Pistons +10000
  • Portland Trail Blazers +10000
  • Los Angeles Clippers +12500
  • Miami Heat +12500
  • Charlotte Hornets +15000
  • Orlando Magic +15000
  • Sacramento Kings +17500
  • Washington Wizards +20000
  • Minnesota Timberwolves +30000
  • New Orleans Pelicans +100000
  • Dallas Mavericks +150000
  • Memphis Grizzlies +150000
  • Atlanta Hawks +200000
  • Chicago Bulls +500000
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +500000

With the NBA’s all-star break just around the corner, oddsmakers haven’t changed their minds on having the Golden State Warriors as the odds-on favorites to win the 2018-19 NBA championship.

The Warriors’ odds moved from -190 to -230 since our last update in January and with DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins in the lineup, the Dubs look even more formidable.

After the Warriors on the oddsboard are the Toronto Raptors (+750), Boston Celtics (+950), Milwaukee Bucks (+950), Los Angeles Lakers (+1100), Philadelphia 76ers (+1200), Houston Rockets (+1300), Oklahoma City Thunder (+1800), Denver Nuggets (+2000) and Utah Jazz (+7000) to round out the top 10.

Let’s dive in one contender from each conference and see why their odds have dramatically improved since our last update:

Denver Nuggets – Opened at +12500, Now at +2000

At 37-18 SU in 55 games, the Nuggets’ success has seen their odds plummet for futures bettors. Denver was at +4000 in our last update after opening the season at +12500 and bettors who got in on the Nuggets early should be patting themselves on the back. The Nuggets are 23-4 SU in 27 home games this season and if it wasn’t for a 31-point beatdown by the Warriors last month would have won 18 straight home games.

Home-court advantage will be crucial in the Western Conference playoffs and I expect the Nuggets, led by center Nikola Jokic, to be in the thick of it in the postseason. However, like placing any futures bet on a team in the West, you know what awaits you at the end of the tunnel and that’s a date with the Golden State Warriors. I wouldn’t put too much stock into one regular-season game but if that stomping is any indication, Denver will fall short just like every other Western Conference team has over the last four seasons. At +2000, the value isn’t terrible but it’s all but gone at this stage.

Milwaukee Bucks – Opened at +10000, Now At +950

Another team similar to the Nuggets, Milwaukee’s value to win the championship is at a season low. The Bucks have a lot of traits similar to Denver like owning a 23-5 SU home record and having a transcendent superstar, and some would argue that their route to get to the NBA Finals is easier through the East, hence their odds are at +950. Well, I disagree because the top half of the Eastern Conference is arguably stronger than the West with the Bucks having to go through the Raptors, Sixers, Celtics or Pacers just to get to the Finals and one of those teams, the Raptors, has better odds than the Bucks right now.

My concern with the Bucks to get out of the East, let alone win the title, is that Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t a good enough shooter from the perimeter to lead the team to the promised land. Giannis is averaging an ugly 21.6 percent from three-point range and in the playoffs, teams will pack the paint and take away his driving lanes to ensure he doesn’t continue to shoot nearly 60 percent near the basket.

That means secondary scorers like Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe will be relied on to win playoff games and those two don’t measure up compared to the talent that these other teams boast. I think they have a great shot to get to the Eastern Conference final but would fall short to a team like the Celtics in a seven-game series. But if you disagree, get on them now because the Bucks’ odds are only going to continue to drop barring injury.

Odds To Win The 2018-19 NBA Championship

Odds as of February 11 at Bovada

  • Phoenix Suns +300000
  • New York Knicks +300000
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +300000
  • Chicago Bulls +300000
  • Atlanta Hawks +200000
  • Memphis Grizzlies +35000
  • Orlando Magic +25000
  • Sacramento Kings +20000
  • Washington Wizards +17500
  • New Orleans Pelicans +17500
  • Minnesota Timberwolves +17500
  • Dallas Mavericks +15000
  • Brooklyn Nets +15000
  • Miami Heat +12500
  • Los Angeles Clippers +12500
  • Indiana Pacers +12500
  • Detroit Pistons +12500
  • Charlotte Hornets +12500
  • Portland Trail Blazers +10000
  • Utah Jazz +7000
  • San Antonio Spurs +7000
  • Denver Nuggets +2000
  • Oklahoma City Thunder +1800
  • Houston Rockets +1300
  • Philadelphia 76ers +1200
  • Los Angeles Lakers +1100
  • Milwaukee Bucks +950
  • Boston Celtics +950
  • Toronto Raptors +750
  • Golden State Warriors -230

Moving close to the meat of the 2018-19 NBA season, it’s time to check out the betting oddsboard for what movers and shakers could be a decent value to wager on outside of the Golden State Warriors, who remain the odds-on favorite to win the NBA championship.

The Warriors are listed at -155 at online sportsbook Bovada followed by the Raptors (+750), Celtics (+950), Rockets and Sixers (both at +1500) to round out the top five.

While an argument can be made that the Warriors are almost a lock to win their third NBA championship in a row, the beauty of sports is that nothing is set in stone so let’s look at some of the biggest shifts in odds for the other 29 teams:

Clippers, Thunder and Grizzlies See Biggest Jump

Most of the odds movement is happening in the Western Conference with the scrappy Los Angeles Clippers among the leaders, going from +10000 to +5000. The Clippers sit fourth in the West at 16-9 SU in 25 games and are only one game back of the Warriors in the standings. All five of their starters are averaging double digits in points with Tobias Harris making his case for an all-star bid by averaging 21 points per game. The Clip-Show is fourth in the NBA in scoring and with its current nucleus could give some teams fits in the playoffs.

Another team with a big rise in the board is the Memphis Grizzlies from +15000 to +8500. The Grizz defense has been outstanding through 25 games, ranking second in points allowed per game and fourth in forced turnovers, which is impressive as I expect most bettors would have a hard time naming their entire starting five. I wouldn’t rush out any time soon to wager on the Grizzlies but their inside-out game with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol has shown (when they’re healthy) that it can be a force.

The team that may get overlooked by bettors that I would put my money down on is the Thunder, whose odds have jumped from +3000 to +2100. The Thunder are 16-8 SU in 24 games and Paul George is playing out of his mind. George’s play and adjustment to being in an offense with Russell Westbrook has made them look completely different after bowing out of the first round in last year’s playoffs. Outside of the Warriors, this is the only other team in the West that I would consider to win the ’chip.

Spurs and Hornets Sliding

You can’t fault the Spurs for trying to recoup costs after the Kawhi Leonard debacle but so far, they're looking like a team in shambles. San Antonio’s odds dropped from +4000 to +6500 and at 13-14 SU in 27 games, they may not even make the playoffs given how deep the Western Conference is. Defensively, the Spurs rank 24th in points allowed per game and are allowing almost 50 points per game in the paint. I honestly think the only reason their odds aren’t longer is due to the respect in the NBA (and betting) circles they have earned over the years. Stay away!

Another team that got off to a hot start but has since tailed off is the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets have fallen back to 13-13 SU in 26 games and can’t seem to sustain success for too long as they win a couple, then lose a couple, which is no man’s land for success in the NBA. Outside of Kemba Walker, this team doesn’t have anyone who will strike fear into the East contenders like the Raptors, Sixers, Bucks and Celtics and with this being a contract year for Walker, the chances of him being dealt before February’s trade deadline increase by the day. Outside of the top five on the oddsboard at the top of the article and the Thunder, I wouldn’t waste my money on any other team.

Odds To Win The 2018-19 NBA Championship

Odds as of December 10 at Bovada

  • Golden State Warriors -155
  • Toronto Raptors +750
  • Boston Celtics +950
  • Houston Rockets +1500
  • Philadelphia 76ers +1500
  • Los Angeles Lakers +1600
  • Milwaukee Bucks +2000
  • Oklahoma City Thunder +2100
  • Denver Nuggets +4000
  • Los Angeles Clippers +5500
  • Utah Jazz +5500
  • New Orleans Pelicans +6500
  • San Antonio Spurs +6500
  • Detroit Pistons +7000
  • Indiana Pacers +8500
  • Memphis Grizzlies +8500
  • Portland Trail Blazers +9000
  • Charlotte Hornets +9500
  • Dallas Mavericks +10000
  • Minnesota Timberwolves +10000
  • Washington Wizards +10000
  • Miami Heat +12500
  • Orlando Magic +12500
  • Sacramento Kings +15000
  • Brooklyn Nets +30000
  • New York Knicks +50000
  • Atlanta Hawks +100000
  • Chicago Bulls +100000
  • Phoenix Suns +100000
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +200000

Archived Articles

After being held hostage for the first part of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Minnesota Timberwolves have dealt all-star Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers. The package reportedly involves Sixers’ Robert Covington and Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2020 second-round pick for Butler and forward Justin Patton.

This has shifted the Sixers’ odds to +1400 to win the 2018-19 NBA championship, which is behind the Golden State Warriors (-155), Toronto Raptors (+850), Boston Celtics (+950) and Houston Rockets (+1400), with the Milwaukee Bucks (+2000) right behind Philadelphia. 

Let’s examine the new-look Sixers and if it’s worth investing in their NBA title chances:

Butler Completes A Big Three in Philadelphia

This is a huge get for the Sixers. After some small struggles coming out of the gate, Philly should now feel comfortable competing on the same stage as the Celtics, Raptors and Bucks in a very top-heavy Eastern Conference.

Butler will give the Sixers a firm option on the perimeter who can create his own shot and provide tough defense to allow Ben Simmons to be even more of a playmaker going to the basket. Even in limited time with the Timberwolves this season, Butler averaged 21.3 points, 4.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds on a team he clearly didn’t want to play for anymore. Now, he gets to play with two of the best under-25 players in the NBA and can get the long-term contract he’s been aching for.

What Philly backers should worry about

Where this may not go well for Philadelphia is in the shooting department. Robert Covington and Dario Saric may not be hitting shots from deep like in years past but they were decent complementary pieces who could drain jumpers when given space. While Butler is a decent shooter, he may not get the space he needs now with sometimes having two non-shooters on the floor in Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons.

This team already ranked 21st in the NBA in three-point percentage and the only way you are beating teams like the Celtics and Raptors is quality three-point shooting which means Philadelphia may not be done tinkering with its roster. At +1400, the Sixers are priced appropriately but bettors need to be aware of where this team’s shortcomings lie. 

Odds To Win The 2018-19 NBA Championship

Odds as of November 12 at Bovada

Archived Articles

UPDATE: ESPN is reporting all-star Jimmy Butler has been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for a package that includes Robert Covington, Dario Saric and draft picks. NBA championship odds will be added once available.

We’re only a few short steps into the NBA season and the oddsmakers have shuffled their board with some new teams moving into the top 10 in odds to win the 2018-19 NBA championship.

The Golden State Warriors are still the odds-on favorite at -165 followed by the Boston Celtics (+500 to +700), Toronto Raptors (+1400 to +900), Houston Rockets (+850 to +950) and Los Angeles Lakers (+1000 to +1800) to round out the top five.

These are the same five teams favored to win the title prior to the season but there are some teams in each conference that are making noise in the early stages of the season.

Let’s look at the Eastern and Western Conferences and see where the odds have shifted:

Eastern Conference 

The Raptors are the talk of the East after getting two huge home wins over the Celtics and Sixers and the addition of Kawhi Leonard has changed the whole team’s championship outlook. Kawhi is averaging 27.3 points per game and his usual brand of lockdown defense has put him firmly in the conversation for MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards. The Raptors’ only loss this season came when Leonard sat out against Milwaukee, which may be a good call to keep him rested as the Toronto brass should know that you can’t win championships in October.

Speaking of the Bucks, they’ve also turned heads as the only undefeated team left in the NBA. Their championship odds have jumped massively from +10000 to +3500 to win the title. New head coach Mike Budenholzer has harnessed Giannis Antetokounmpo and the rest of the roster to push them to become the fourth-best team in the league in points allowed per game while putting up 120 points per night. I’m not sure if Giannis and Milwaukee have enough firepower to get out of the East but the Bucks have let the world know they’re a rising force.

Another team in the East that has made waves is the Detroit Pistons, who are 4-2 SU this season with their only two losses coming to the Boston Celtics. The Pistons are getting an MVP-type season from Blake Griffin, who is averaging 27.7 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists and as long as he stays healthy, Detroit could be a tough out in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

I still think if you’re betting on a team from the East, you go with the Raptors or Celtics because of the strength of their rosters but the Bucks and Pistons will be heard from in the postseason.

Western Conference

The Warriors and Rockets are the usual suspects coming out of the West but squads out of New Orleans and Denver have seen the biggest change in odds after two weeks of the season.

Anthony Davis and the Pelicans have carried over their strong play from last year’s postseason when they swept the Blazers in the opening round and are shooting the lights out by averaging 122.5 points per game with Davis making his case for the title of best player in the world. The Brow has missed some time recently and it’s no surprise that the Pellies lost the two games he didn’t play in. Their odds prior to the season were at +12500 but the good start has pushed them to +4500. While I think Davis is an incredible talent, in order for this bet to hit, they need to beat the Warriors and one player cannot beat four of the top 15 basketball players in the world.

The Nuggets, on the other hand, are doing something that no basketball analyst could’ve seen coming and that’s play defense. Denver is ranked fifth in points allowed per game this season (105.2), which is a huge jump since they ranked 22nd in that same category last season. Nikola Jokic is another big man throwing his hat into the MVP ring as he leads all centers in assists this season while chipping in 21.5 points per game. I think Denver is a balanced team but doesn’t have the offensive skill to match up with the Dubs (sensing a theme here?), so while the odds jump from +12500 to +4500 is impressive, it’s not worth backing them at this stage.

If I had to take a dark horse from the West to somehow upset the Warriors, I would pick the Jazz. Their odds have moved to +3500 from +7500 and I think Utah is the most complete team in the NBA. The Jazz are getting contributions up and down the roster and Donovan Mitchell may make another leap in his progression in his second year. It’s still an uphill battle to topple Golden State but with the way the Rockets and Lakers have played this season, the Jazz seem to be the only worthy contender in the West.

Odds To Win The 2018-19 NBA Championship

Odds as of October 31 at Bovada

Archived Articles

The 2018-19 NBA season has tipped off 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 and  Rondo 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 October 16 at Bovada

    • Cleveland Cavaliers +10000
    • Phoenix Suns +75000
    • New York Knicks +35000
    • Dallas Mavericks +35000
    • Atlanta Hawks +35000
    • Chicago Bulls +30000
    • Washington Wizards +15000
    • Sacramento Kings +15000
    • Orlando Magic +15000
    • Minnesota Timberwolves +15000
    • Memphis Grizzlies +15000
    • Los Angeles Clippers +10000
    • Miami Heat +9000
    • Charlotte Hornets +8000
    • Indiana Pacers +7000
    • Detroit Pistons +7000
    • Portland Trail Blazers +6000
    • New Orleans Pelicans +5000
    • Utah Jazz +4500
    • San Antonio Spurs +4000
    • Denver Nuggets +3500
    • Oklahoma City Thunder +3000
    • Los Angeles Lakers +2500
    • Brooklyn Nets +2500
    • Milwaukee Bucks +2000
    • Philadelphia 76ers +1400
    • Houston Rockets +1400
    • Boston Celtics +950
    • Toronto Raptors +850
    • Golden State Warriors -150