NBA Title Futures – More Than a Two-Horse Race?

Tim_DuncanThe most built-up game of the season didn’t exactly live up to expectations when the Golden State Warriors trounced the San Antonio Spurs, 120-90, on Monday night. The Warriors have now run their home winning streak to 40 games over the last two seasons, including 22-0 this year. But the Spurs have been even more perfect in their own building this season, going 25-0 at the AT&T Center.

So while the Warriors have their eye on catching the ’95-’96 Bulls for best single-season record (72-10), their real goal is to maintain their three-game lead over San Antonio; whoever has home-court in their seemingly inevitable Western Conference Final matchup will have a huge leg up.

At the moment, it looks like whoever emerges from that series should just be crowned the NBA champs, too. While Cleveland entered the season as favorites to win it all, the Cavs are marred in a rough stretch. They fired David Blatt – the man dressed up in a head coach costume – last week, but still need to find a way to successfully use Kevin Love. Their excuse for losing last season’s final to Golden State was injuries to Love and Kyrie Irving, but with both of them in the lineup against the Warriors on Jan. 18, the Cavs got roasted, 132-98!

As is the norm, regular season turmoil for a Lebron James-led team has not dashed the lofty expectations. The East is far more fascinating this year, but playoff time is when the King reigns supreme. Even if the Raptors or Bulls are able to upset Cleveland in the postseason, they will have long, long, long odds to beat the Western representative.

It’s no guarantee that the Warriors or Spurs represent the West. The Oklahoma City Thunder machine isn’t as well-oiled as Golden State or San Antonio, but they do two of the five best players in the league; Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook can take over any game, and will prove to be a tough out in the playoffs.

And, of course, the Los Angeles Clippers will look to punch their ticket to their first conference championship when they aren’t busy punching other people.

After that, there’s a huge drop off in the odds, and a pair of teams have even fallen off the board entirely. Have a look at our updated NBA futures.

2016 NBA Title Odds:

Golden State Warriors: 5/4

San Antonio Spurs: 7/3

Cleveland Cavaliers: 7/2

Oklahoma City Thunder: 12/1

Los Angeles Clippers: 25/1

Chicago Bulls: 30/1

Toronto Raptors: 35/1

Atlanta Hawks: 40/1

Indiana Pacers: 50/1

Boston Celtics: 65/1

Miami Heat: 75/1

Detroit Pistons: 125/1

Houston Rockets: 125/1

Memphis Grizzlies: 125/1

Washington Wizards: 125/1

Dallas Mavericks: 200/1

Charlotte Hornets: 300/1

New York Knicks: 300/1

Sacramento Kings: 300/1

Utah Jazz: 500/1

Milwaukee Bucks: 600/1

New Orleans Pelicans: 700/1

Portland Trail Blazers: 1000/1

Minnesota Timberwolves: 1000/1

Orlando Magic: 1000/1

Phoenix Suns: 9999/1

Brooklyn Nets: 9999/1

Denver Nuggets: 9999/1

Los Angeles Lakers: Off the Board

Philadelphia 76ers: Off the Board

 

(Photo credit: Keith Allison from Owings Mills, USA (Tim Duncan) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Boris

Hockey may be a wildly unpopular sport in the U.S., but where no one is paying attention, there's a ton of value for Boris to mine. An avid NHL fan of over 20 years, Malloy made his first bet against a friend during the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals (going against Ray Bourque) and has been hooked ever since. He has yet to pay off that debt of $2, but he's made plenty back since. In between worrying about the league's next lockout, he regularly contributes to MTS and is also fluent in football, basketball, baseball and French (sort of).

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