Entering the 2016-2017 NBA season, most pundits and prognosticators penciled in the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers, and the team they usurped for the crown, the Golden State Warriors, to reprise their rivalry for the third straight Finals.
Back on October 25, the Opening Night odds released by Bovada put the retooled Dubs (+125) as big favorites to win it all, with the Cavs (+300) their only close competitor.
Just over six weeks has passed since then, and today the NBA’s premier team pecking order remains largely unchanged. The LeBron James-led Cavaliers top the Eastern Conference at 15-5, while Steph Curry and new sidekick Kevin Durant have staked the Warriors to a 20-3 record out West.
Accordingly, Bovada has barely adjusted Golden State’s (+110) title odds, while Cleveland (+300) remains unchanged. Both teams are doing exactly what was expected of them, no major injuries or off-court imbroglios have emerged, and their respective paths through the conference seem to contain only two viable contenders each.
Those contenders are the teams driving the real change in Bovada’s championship odds, as several teams have made major moves in either direction.
The Los Angeles Clippers (+650) are currently given the best odds of disrupting the Cavaliers/Warriors duo, after entering the year at +2500. After starting a scorching 14-2, the Clips have come down to Earth a bit with five losses in their last seven games – including a 115-98 demolition at the hands of the Warriors.
The San Antonio Spurs (+800) have seen their title odds increase slightly, having started the season at +900. At 18-5, the perennial powers own the league’s second-best record, and Gregg Popovich’s team appears poised to power onward in their first season of the post-Tim Duncan era.
The Toronto Raptors (+2800) have narrowed their Opening Night odds (+5000) by nearly half, on the strength of a 15-7 record – second only to Cleveland in the East.
The team that has enjoyed the largest jump thus far is the new-look Houston Rockets (+3300), who are thriving under new head coach Mike D’Antoni’s famously fast-paced system. With James Harden flourishing as a hybrid point-shooting guard, the 15-7 Rockets have climbed into the championship conversation after starting the year as +10000 longshots.
One team that has fallen off considerably is the Boston Celtics (+3300), who have dropped from their (+1800) status despite sitting in third place in the East at 13-9.
The Chicago Bulls (+4000) are the only other team in basketball pegged at 40 to 1 or better to win it all, a slight improvement over their +5000 starting odds.
The full table of title odds for all 30 NBA teams can be found below:
2017 NBA Championship Odds at Bovada
|Team||12/09 Title Odds
|Golden State Warriors||-110|
|San Antonio Spurs||+800|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+5000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+7500|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+50000|