Let’s face it: NBA futures markets are ruined.
The Golden State Warriors are -135 and mostly much worse than that to win it all at many books and you’re looking at -200 juice for them to win the West, give or take a handful.
All of that would be just fine if the Warriors weren’t going to win. But, sorry Charles Barkley, that’s what they are going to do. Barring major injuries or an act of God, you are going to have a hard time convincing me this 73-win team is stoppable.
So what do you do?
Well, I wouldn’t suggest you take them to win. The prices are too ugly now. They were 5-1 to open the season and looking back that's a pretty generous number.
The good news is there are some recent options that have popped up and you’ll probably need them. You are a hoops fan after all and you’re going to watch the movie even though you know how it ends.
Here they are and the picks I’m taking:
OVER or UNDER 5.5 Warriors losses in the playoffs:
I love this one if the odds are right on the UNDER. The South Point in Las Vegas offered this one first with the UNDER favored while Sportsbook had it at plus money (as of Wednesday).
The 1995-96 Bulls – the team whose 72-game win record was just broken by the Warriors – went 16-3 on their way to cruising to the NBA championship. The Warriors only lost five games last year en route to the taking the ring and I think they are even better this year.
When you look back to the very best championship teams over the past 30 years, six losses or more in the playoffs is something that rarely happens.
1995-96 Bulls? Three losses. 1985-86 Celtics? Three losses. 1986-87 Lakers? Three losses. 1988-89 Pistons? Two losses. 1994-95 Rockets? Five losses. 1996-97 Bulls? Four losses. 1998-99 Spurs? Three losses.
I think the Warriors will cruise through the first two rounds without any defeats (they had one loss through two rounds last year) and I don’t see them losing more than five in the final two rounds. Unless they want to.
Exact NBA Finals matchup:
Below is a list of odds of potential matchups for the NBA Finals. And obviously if you’ve read to this point you know I like the Warriors to be there. The other team I like to make it is the Toronto Raptors at odds of 11-1 for a Dubs-Raps finals.
I really feel the Raptors are the best team in the East. Not the most talented, but the best.
The most talented team is the Cavaliers by far but for whatever reason they just couldn’t seem pull away from the rest of the East as a group like they should have. The Raptors went 3-1 against the Cavs in their head-to-head meetings this season and I feel they are the much better coached team. Toronto can adapt its game plan to gain the edge based on the opponent they're playing better than anyone in the East and the Raps might also be the grittiest team.
The Raptors are continuously one of the most underestimated teams in the NBA and are 26-1 to win the NBA championship. They performed better against playoff teams than any team in the NBA this season for bettors at 28-13 straight up and 27-14 against the spread.
The Raptors can play big or small depending on what the opponent gives them and they tied for fifth in 3-point shooting this season.
At 11-1, this is a bet I love.
The possible giant killers:
If you feel you must take someone other than the Warriors to win the title this year, I really only think there are two teams who have a shot: the Los Angeles Clippers and the Raptors.
(See above for the Raptors.) When it comes to the Clippers, we’ve really only seen a glimpse of what they can do this year because of the Blake Griffin hand injury. But they have an incredible point guard (Chris Paul), an inside game that could give the Warriors problems (Griffin, DeAndre Jordan) and they rank sixth in the league in 3-point shooting. I don’t think it’s enough because they still have to come up with some way to stop the Warriors from raining in threes, but if anyone has a chance in the West I think it’s them.
You’ll notice I didn’t say the Spurs. As good as the Spurs are, they were just completely outmatched by the Warriors this year. San Antonio has to be disheartened after losing to Golden State on April 7 and 10 in games where Golden State looked to be in total control.