The All-Star break is a natural time to look at updated odds to win the NBA title, but do keep in mind that the break isn’t the halfway point of the 82-game regular season. Not even close. Some clubs have played as many as 59 games to this point. So, we are really entering the stretch run when the schedule resumes Thursday.
When the season began, the Golden State Warriors were +100 favorites to win a third championship in four seasons and they are heavier favorites now at -180 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com – even though they have just the second-best record in the league at 44-14 behind Houston (44-13).
The Warriors also somewhat limped into the break in going just 3-3 over the final six games, but most believe they are simply bored with the grind and will flip a switch come playoff time.
The Houston Rockets, led by MVP favorite James Harden and offseason trade acquisition Chris Paul, were +700 to win the franchise’s first title since going back-to-back in 1994-95 but are now +400. Houston almost surely has to get home-court advantage over Golden State to have a shot at knocking off the Warriors in the West.
LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers were +500 and are now +600. No team was busier at the trade deadline than the Cavaliers, and it appears to have rejuvenated LeBron. The Cavs remain without All-Star forward Kevin Love due to injury, but he’s expected back near the end of the regular season. The Cavaliers have only the third-best record in the East.
The club on top of the East currently is Toronto at 41-16, and the Raptors are +2200 to win the franchise’s first title after opening at +5000. They have been eliminated from the playoffs each of the past two seasons by LeBron’s Cavaliers.
The Boston Celtics are battling the Raptors for the East’s top seed and are +1200 on the odds to win the 2018 NBA Championship. Where would the Celtics be if All-Star Gordon Hayward hadn’t broken his ankle on opening night? Could he make a surprise return at some point this season? The Oklahoma City Thunder are +2000; OKC likely needs a deep playoff run to help convince All-Star Paul George to re-sign as a free agent.
The Utah Jazz come out of the All-Star break on the NBA’s longest winning streak at 11 straight, but they aren’t taken seriously by oddsmakers with futures odds of +30000.
For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.
Source: Heavy Sports