Rockets Keeping Up With Champs
The Golden State Warriors are the odds-on favorites to defend their NBA title.
No big surprise there, since they have won two of the last three NBA Finals. The reigning champs are currently listed at -175 (odds provided by Bovada), but before anyone in Oakland starts planning another victory parade they might want to check out the high-flying Houston Rockets.
Best record in the NBA? Houston (47-13)
Hottest team in the league? Houston (13 straight wins)
Best conference record? Houston (29-8)
Of course, championships aren’t won in the regular season. But the Warriors will have their work cut out for them just to get out of the Western Conference this season. The Rockets and James Harden, the league’s leading scorer, will make sure of that.
There’s nine games on tap on Wednesday in the NBA. Let’s try to pick a winner against the spread (ATS) in two of those games and cash a winning parlay ticket.
**VGB’s NBA parlay pick — Take Toronto (-9.5) over Orlando and Golden State (-9) over Washington. If both teams cover the spread, the payoff is $66.13 for a $25 bet. If either team loses against the spread, the ticket is void.
Raptors Beasts Of The East
Toronto (-9.5) at Orlando — The Raptors (42-17) have the best record in the Eastern Conference, and yet they garner little respect from oddsmakers to win the NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers are just under 6-1 to win it all, while the Raptors are slotted in at 18-1.
All Toronto has done this season is post the best home record in the NBA (25-5) and one of the best conference records in the league (26-8). The Raptors’ point differential of +8.6 is tied for second with Golden State
Toronto has a 2-2 record against the big three in Houston, Golden State and Cleveland. Here, they travel to Orlando (18-42) to meet the Magic for the first time this season. The Raptors will also play their conference rivals twice more on March 20 and April 8.
DeMar DeRozen carries the load for the Raptors, who have won 11 of their last 14 and are 17-12 on the road this season. The four-time all-star averages 23.8 points a game.
Aaron Gordon (18.2 points per game) and Evan Fournier (18.0) lead the Magic, who have lost six straight including their last three home games.
Road Warriors Battle Wizards
Golden State (-9) at Washington — The Warriors (47-14) had a bit of a stretch from Jan. 30-Feb. 6 where they lost three of four. Other than that little slide, the defending champs have been playing at an extremely high level all season — thanks to their fab four of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Curry (26.7), Durant (25.9) and Thompson (20.0) all average 20 points or more per game. Green picks up a lot of starting minutes and is the team’s leading rebounder.
The Warriors are 6-1 in their last seven and 23-7 on the road. The Wizards (36-25), who are 5-1 in their last six, are 18-11 at home.
These two teams also met earlier in the season when the Warriors beat the Wizards in Oakland 120-117. But the hardest part of this matchup for Washington will be the scheduling. They played (and won) just 24 hours ago in Milwaukee.
VGB’s Top 10 NBA Teams
(Current odds to win the NBA Finals listed after team record. Odds provided by Bovada.)
- Houston (47-13) +275 — Haven’t lost at home since Jan. 4 vs. Warriors.
- Golden State (47-14) -175 — One loss away from last year’s total of 15.
- Toronto (42-17) +1800 — Huge odds for team with best record in the East.
- Boston (43-19) +1800 — Should battle Raps, Cavs for spot in NBA Finals.
- Cleveland (36-24) +575 — 15-15 road record could cost Cavs in playoffs.
- Minnesota (38-26) +7500 — Turnaround story of the year, 31-51 last season.
- San Antonio (36-25) +4000 — Not getting it done on road, under .500 last 10.
- Washington (36-25) +7500 — Winning records at home and on the road.
- New Orleans (34-26) +50000 — Six victories in a row after losing five of six.
- Indiana (34-26) +30000 — 7-3 in last 10, but not good away from home court.