With the NBA set to tip off its regular season with a trifecta of high-profile games on Tuesday night, bettors are lining up to back either side of a two-horse title race.

According to the season-opening odds to win the 2017 NBA title at online sportsbook Bovada, LeBron James and his defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers (+300) are heavy favorites to take on the Golden State Warriors (-125) for the third consecutive Finals.

Along with an all-time great in James – who has won the NBA title three times in the last five years, while leading his teams to the Finals in the last six seasons – the Cavs return their core supporting cast of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, and Channing Frye. After finally ending the “Cleveland Curse” and securing his surrogate hometown’s first professional sports championship since 1964, James and the Cavs are heavy favorites to at least represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals for the third consecutive year.

If they do, the Cavs are widely expected to face the re-tooled Warriors for the third straight time, having split the last two Finals. After compiling an all-time great regular season with 73 wins – breaking the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls’ hallowed 1995-96 record of 72-10 – the Warriors went up 3-1 on James and the Cavs last June, only to blow the big lead and lose a close Game 7.

As a result of that particularly empty defeat, which ended their own run as defending champs in brutal fashion, Golden State happily welcomed Kevin Durant into the fold in a blockbuster free agent signing. The newly formed “Big Four” of Durant, sharpshooting phenom Steph Curry, superstar of any other team Klay Thompson, and defensive disruptor Draymond Green is the latest NBA “superteam” – after James himself set the mold with the Miami Heat.

The Warriors clearly have the league’s most talented starting lineup, but Durant’s signing necessitated parting ways with valuable role players. Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa, Marreese Speights, Festus Ezeli, and Brandon Rush have all departed due to salary constrictions, so Golden State’s quest to vindicate last year’s Finals collapse will be led almost exclusively by the team’s new “core four.”

Aside from these two juggernauts, the only NBA team pegged at less than 10 to 1 to win it all at Bovada is the San Antonio Spurs (+900). From there, the odds drop off precipitously, doubling for the Boston Celtics (+1800), before veering into the range of longshot even for talented teams like the Los Angeles Clippers (+2500) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (+4000).

Further illustrating the drastic disparity between the contenders and pretenders, even for the NBA’s dynastic standards, 17 of the league’s 30 franchises are tabbed at 100 to 1 or worse to unseat James and his Cavs from their throne. This middling group includes perennial playoff teams like the Miami Heat (+10000), the Atlanta Hawks (+10000), the Houston Rockets (+10000), and the Dallas Mavericks (+20000).

Five teams will be bringing up the rear at 500 to 1 underdogs – the Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, and Brooklyn Nets.

The full table of title odds for all 30 NBA teams can be found below:

2017 NBA Championship Odds at Bovada

Team NBA Title Odds on 10/25
Golden State Warriors -125
Cleveland Cavaliers +300
San Antonio Spurs +900
Boston Celtics +1800
L.A. Clippers +2500
Oklahoma City Thunder +4000
N.Y. Knicks +4000
Toronto Raptors +5000
Chicago Bulls +5000
Indiana Paces +6600
Minnesota Timberwolves +6600
Memphis Grizzlies +6600
Portland Trail Blazers +7500
Miami Heat +10000
Atlanta Hawks +10000
Houston Rockets +10000
New Orleans Pelicans +10000
Detroit Pistons +10000
Washington Wizards +10000
Milwaukee Bucks +10000
Utah Jazz +10000
Dallas Mavericks +20000
L.A. Lakers +20000
Orlando Magic +20000
Charlotte Hornets +30000
Denver Nuggets +50000
Sacramento Kings +50000
Philadelphia 76ers +50000
Phoenix Suns +50000
Brooklyn Nets +50000


Jonathan Zaun

One of Gamble Online's first dedicated reporters, Jonathan has spent well over a decade reporting on the gaming industry. While breaking legal news is his main area of expertise, Jonathan is an avid blackjack player & strategist who follows professional poker closely.

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