Warriors Remain Huge Favorite
The Golden State Warriors remain the odds-on favorite on NBA betting lines to win the 2019 NBA Finals about a third of the way through the 82-game regular season.
The two-time defending champion Warriors (-155) are currently tied with the second-best record in the NBA. The Toronto Raptors (+700) and superstar Kawhi Leonard are three games ahead of the pack (odds provided by Bovada).
The Raptors have never made it to an NBA Final in their 23-year history, let alone win a championship. The Warriors have won six NBA titles, including three of the last four.
The Warriors swept with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Finals. This marked the first time in NBA history that the same two teams had met in the championship for four consecutive years.
NBA Championship Odds Explained
Before the regular season started, the Warriors were -195 to win their third consecutive NBA title. That means, a bettor would have to wager $195 to earn a profit of $100 for a total return of $295.
Today, with the odds at -155, a bettor would have to wager $155 to earn a profit of $100 for a total return of $255. Even with the odds dropping, bettors still can’t double their money on Golden State. Bettors must ask themselves, is it worth the risk to wager on the Warriors? Many of the contenders offer a lot better value.
A $100 bet on the Raptors would pay $800 on a winning ticket ($100 bet + $700 profit = $800 total return).
A $100 bet on the Milwaukee Bucks would pay $2,000 on a winning ticket ($100 bet + $1,900 profit = $2,000 total return).
These odds are fixed when you make your bet. However, odds change over the course of the season and playoffs depending upon the team’s performance and how much money has been bet on each club.
Let’s count down from No. 5 to the top spot in our championship predictions (odds provided by Bovada).
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No. 5 | Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers (+1600) rarely lose at home, which is great if the team has homecourt advantage in the playoffs. The problem this season has been they rarely win on the road or against division opponents. That’s not a recipe for an NBA title.
Jimmy Butler, acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves, has been a great addition to a young, talented squad which includes Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The Sixers are winless against the top three teams in the Eastern Conference — Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee. They still have 50 games to solve that issue as well.
No. 4 | Los Angeles Lakers
Wherever LeBron James goes, the hype and hope of an NBA title follow. The Lakers (+1600) are still learning the ropes with their superstar in the mix. But come April, this unit will be ready for the playoffs for the first time in six years.
James leads the team is every offensive category, but he’s also taking a career-high 29 per cent of his shots from beyond the arc. The play of second-year power forward Kyle Kuzma has improved as well, which helps when opponents double-team LeBron.
The Lakers last won an NBA Final in the 2009-10 season.
No. 3 | Milwaukee Bucks
It has been 48 years since the Bucks (+1900) last won an NBA championship. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the star of the show then. Today, it’s the Greek Freak (Giannis Antetokounmpo).
The athletic power forward has the Bucks on top of the Central Division standings and looking to earn a spot in the postseason for the third straight year.
The Greek Freak is one of five players to average double-digits in scoring for the Bucks this season. A huge road win over Toronto recently was a big boost to the team’s confidence, especially since the Bucks having a losing record away from the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
No. 2 | Golden State Warriors
The Raptors won both rounds of the regular season against the Warriors (-155). Golden State had an excuse in the first meeting at Toronto with Steph Curry on the bench with an injury. But the defending champs were at full strength for second meeting in Oakland, and the Raptors won big.
Injuries continue to plague the Warriors throughout the regular season. Come playoff time, though, this team of all-stars — Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — will be ready to roll.
The Warriors are .500 on the road and have battled descension in the early going. The heated exchange between Durant and Green in November was an obvious distraction.
No. 1 | Toronto Raptors
The Raptors (+700) got off to the best start in the league, winning their first six games and 12 of the first 13. They followed that stretch up with an eight-game winning streak at the end of November.
Many felt the Raptors’ playoff chances suffered a huge blow when the team dealt top scorer DeMar DeRozan and got rid of head coach Dwayne Casey. But the Raptors haven’t missed a beat, thanks in large part to Kahwi Leonard. The seven-year small forward leads Toronto in points, rebounds and steals and he is one of five players that averages double-digits in scoring.
The Raptors have an outstanding 12-3 record on the road. No other team is close to that mark.
Prediction — Toronto (+700). The Raptors have proven they can beat the champs at home and on the road. Their odds offer better value as well.