We posted our first look at futures betting odds for the 2016-17 NBA Championship – as posted by online sportsbook Bovada – just before Halloween, and at the time, the league stacked up as the ultimate two-horse race.
The revamped Golden State Warriors were heavy favorites at (-125) thanks to the addition of Kevin Durant, while the LeBron James-led defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers were their closest competition at (+300).
In revisiting those odds a week after New Year’s Day, little had changed, with the Dubs and Cavs reigning supreme at (-110) and (+300), respectively.
In taking a third look at Bovada’s lines on winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy, little has changed – at least for the top two contenders.
Despite the sudden loss of Durant for at least four weeks, due to a sprained MCL, the Warriors (51-11) are still locked into the favorite position at (-130). In fact, that number makes Golden State even wider favorites than they were entering the season.
The team experienced the expected discombobulation in losing its first two after Durant went down, but the Warriors still have all-world talents Steph Curry and Klay Thompson performing at the peak of their abilities. Along with the game’s best record, Golden State has put up a gaudy +12.1 point differential – which has them challenging the 1971-72 Lakers (+12.3) for the best ever. And of course, that Lakers squad finished off the stellar scoring run with an NBA title.
As for the Cavaliers (42-19), an injury to Kevin Love has threatened to derail what most NBA insiders viewed as a one-way ticket to the Eastern Conference’s top seed. With 8.5 games separating Cleveland from Golden State, the race for the league’s top record is all but settled, but LeBron and the Cavs suddenly have the Boston Celtics (40-23) breathing down their necks for home-court advantage in the playoffs.
That Celtics squad is keyed by pint-sized point guard and scoring sensation Isaiah Thomas, and while the team lacks the overall talent that defines Cleveland’s “Big Three,” they are listed as the fifth-most likely to win it all at (+2000).
The gap between Boston’s chances and those of Golden State and Cleveland is rather wide, but that holds true across the league.
To wit, the only other team to join that dynamic duo at better than 10 to 1 against is the perennial playoff power San Antonio Spurs (48-13; +700). They’re playing the Boston role in the Western Conference, keeping Golden State honest by remaining within closing distance of the top seed. And the combination of a typically stacked roster with head coach Gregg Popovich’s playoff mastery makes the Spurs a real dark horse to turn the upset.
Aside from the Houston Rockets (44-19; +1400), Bovada doesn’t list a single other team better than 33 to 1 against, which illustrates the true lack of parity among NBA elites this year.
A full table of title odds for the 23 NBA contenders currently listed by Bovada is shown below:
2017 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||NBA Title Odds on 3/6|
|Golden State Warriors||-130|
|San Antonio Spurs||+700|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+3300|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+10000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+25000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+50000|