- The Warriors remain the odds-on favorites to win the 2019 NBA championship
- The Raptors are off to their best start in franchise history and look poised to reach the Finals
- The Thunder are emerging as a legitimate threat in the West
The NBA season is nearly at its quarter point, and it’s becoming easier than ever to separate the contenders from the pretenders. We know by now that the Hawks’ hot start was little more than smoke and mirrors, and that the Kings are far more likely to end up in the lottery than the playoffs.
But what about the Warriors? Are they still a lock to win their third consecutive championship after losing stumbling badly during Steph Curry’s absence? Or how about the Raptors? Can they finally reach the NBA Finals now that LeBron has changed zip codes?
Let’s dig into the latest numbers available at Bovada and see where the value lies.
2019 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||Odds to Win the 2019 NBA Championship at Bovada|
|Golden State Warriors||-150|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+1800|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+2200|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+5000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+6000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+6000|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+7000|
|New York Knicks||+50000|
The Favorite: Golden State Warriors
Every dynasty must eventually come to an end. It happened to Russell’s Celtics, Magic’s Lakers, and Jordan’s Bulls, and it appears to be happening this season to the Warriors, who have had to deal with losing streaks, infighting, and injuries. It’s shocking to see Steve Kerr’s squad struggle after years of sustained brilliance, but it was only a matter of time before they had to face the adversity of the “real NBA.”
Steve Kerr on the Warriors adversity: “We’ve lived a charmed existence…This is the real NBA.” pic.twitter.com/TW4LVpw4TU
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 19, 2018
The reason oddsmakers aren’t more concerned with the Warriors’ pedestrian record is because the team has been at half strength for much of the season. Steph Curry has missed 10 games, Draymond Green has missed nine, and DeMarcus Cousins has yet to lace ’em up. Once those players return, the Warriors will be get back to the business of steamrolling the rest of the NBA.
The Usurper: Toronto Raptors
No team is in better position to overthrow the reigning champs than the Raptors, who have raced out to their best start in franchise history. Toronto ranks in the top five league-wide in points per game, offensive rating, net rating, and true shooting percentage, and has already strung together a pair of six-game winning streaks.
Kawhi Leonard has gotten much of the credit, and deservedly so, but the Drakes have also benefited greatly from the development of Pascal Siakam, who has nearly doubled his scoring average in his third year in the league. The Cameroonian forward has been terrorizing opponents at both ends of the court with his hard-nosed defense and his ability to make things happen in transition.
Pascal Siakam with the left-handed ?!
(?: @NBA) pic.twitter.com/f2KHnuDVtc
— theScore (@theScore) November 25, 2018
Keep a close eye on Siakam and the Raptors as they continue to slice throw the Eastern Conference like a knife through warm butter.
The Wildcard: Oklahoma City Thunder
If any team is capable of overthrowing the Warriors in the West, it’s the Thunder, who have gone 12-3 since starting the season 0-4. The key to their resurgence has been the return of Russell Westbrook, who has found a way of dominating games without dribbling the air out of the ball. The seven-time All-Star is converting a career-high 45.9% of his shots while also posting his lowest turnover percentage in five seasons.
“How’d he make that?” @russwest44 pic.twitter.com/83gxNZyxdv
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 24, 2018
One reason for Westbrook’s improved efficiency is the fact that he finally has some help. Paul George appears far more comfortable as the team’s clear-cut number two option, and explosive newcomer Dennis Schroder has been the third scorer OKC sadly missed last season.
As good as Oklahoma City has been lately, they should be even better by Christmas when three-and-D specialist Andre Roberson returns and brings better balance to the Thunder’s lineup. Snatch them up at +2200 while you still can.