The Toronto Raptors have the NBA’s best record by a few games, the second-best point differential and probably are the deepest team in the league with a second unit that could beat some teams on their own. So, naturally, the Raptors are betting favorites to win their first NBA title come June? Nope.
Despite Toronto already owning a win over the Golden State Warriors, it’s the Dubs who remain -155 favorites to win their fourth title in the past five years with Toronto at +750 on the latest NBA championship odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Hard to read too much into the Raptors’ thrilling 131-128 home overtime win over the Warriors on November 29 because Golden State was without two-time league MVP Stephen Curry and fellow All-Star Draymond Green due to injury. The Dubs nearly won anyways because Kevin Durant was unstoppable with 51 points.
The two teams meet in Oakland on December 12 and Curry is back from injury now. Green remains sidelined with a toe injury but might make it back by then. A Raptors season sweep could be important for home-court advantage in the NBA Finals should the two teams finish with the same regular-season record.
Even though the Los Angeles Clippers are in the mix for the West’s best record, oddsmakers aren’t taking them seriously as championship contenders as they are +5500 to win the first title in franchise history. Only teams with superstars win championships in the NBA with few rare exceptions. The Clippers are likely the deepest team west of Toronto but don’t have that one star.
Speaking of stars, LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers got off to a bit of a slow start but have begun to climb up the Western Conference standings. Are the Lakers legit title contenders? Probably not this year barring a major trade, and they are +1600 on the odds to win the NBA championship. Think the NBA would like to see James face the Warriors in the playoffs again?
Another team that started slow but is moving on up is the Oklahoma City Thunder (+2200). They have the second-best point differential in the West and are playing fantastic defense.
Oklahoma City leads the league in steals per game and most turnovers forced per game. They did recently get some bad news when terrific defensive guard Andre Roberson had another setback with his surgically repaired left knee and will miss six more weeks at least. He has yet to play this year.
Source: Heavy Sports