Following three consecutive NBA Finals matchups between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the basketball world has been bracing for Round 4 since June.
Back when online sportsbook Bovada posted its opening betting odds on the 2017-18 NBA Championship, the Warriors (+100) and Cavaliers (+400) were overwhelming favorites to return to the Finals stage. In fact, before the regular season tipped off, the San Antonio Spurs (+1000) and Boston Celtics (+1600) were the only teams offering better than 20 to 1 against.
And after accounting for the Houston Rockets (+2500), the entire NBA was boxed out of the title talk with odds of 33 to 1 or worse.
Today, most teams have played through 28 games or so, representing right around one-third of the regular season schedule. And with the standings now sufficiently shuffled, it’s time to take a second look at those NBA Championship odds.
Sporting a 22-6 record, the Warriors (-175) are once again the consensus favorite to win it all for the third time in the Steph Curry era. Golden State’s chances of doing so have nearly doubled, moving from even money to almost 1 to 2, a sure sign of confidence from both the public and sharps.
Impressively, the Dubs have even managed to keep the train rolling without Curry serving as conductor. Since the diminutive two-time MVP twisted his ankle on December 4, the Warriors have reeled off three straight victories to extend their current win streak to seven games. That’s the second seven-game win streak on the short season, showing the Warriors still have their world beater abilities close at hand.
Predictably, fellow superstar sharpshooter Kevin Durant has carried the team, averaging 37 minutes and 33 points per game since Curry went down.
Things haven’t been so easy in Cleveland, where LeBron James watched Kyrie Irving lobby his way into a trade to the Boston Celtics. Irving has thrived in green, but the Cavs have been without return piece Isaiah Thomas all season.
With Thomas still suffering through an ailing hip, and Cleveland mindful of rushing their prized point guard acquisition back too early, the Cavs struggled to a 5-7 start. LeBron and losing records don’t mix, however, and King James responded by sparking a 13-game winning streak from there.
At 20-8 overall, Cleveland finds itself in a familiar position, leading all Eastern Conference teams on the Bovada betting board at (+500).
Interestingly enough, even with the shortest title odds, both the Warriors and the Cavaliers sit in second place in their respective conferences.
The Houston Rockets have seamlessly added Chris Paul to an already explosive offense. Led by the supernatural scoring abilities of James Harden, and historic three-point shooting numbers under the run-and-gun coaching of Mike D’Antoni, the Rockets lead the Western Conference with a 22-4 record.
Since November 1, Houston has sandwiched just a single loss between a six-game winning jag and their current 11-game win streak. And with an +11.0-point differential – tied to the tee with Golden State – the high-flying Rockets are head and shoulders above the rest of the NBA in that department.
Accordingly, the Rockets have watched their title odds drop from (+2500) all the way to (+500).
Over in the East, the aforementioned Celtics have taken full advantage of Irving’s desire to lead his own squad, compiling a 24-6 record. Things didn’t look good when the newly acquired Gordon Hayward suffered a gruesome broken ankle in his Celtics debut, and Boston dropped its season-opener to Cleveland. They lost their next game as well, but proceeded to rip off 16 straight wins while taking firm control of the conference.
But even with a full three-game lead over Cleveland for home court advantage throughout the playoffs, Boston has only experienced a modest bump on the betting board, dropping from (+1600) to (+1000).
In terms of dark horse contenders, the San Antonio Spurs (19-9) and Oklahoma City Thunder (13-14) are both tabbed at (+1800), despite drastically different seasons thus far.
From there, the rest of the league is consigned to the realm of 50 to 1 longshots or worse, and seven cellar-dwelling teams have already been removed from the board.
The full table of title odds for the remaining 23 NBA title contenders can be found below:
2017-18 NBA Championship Odds at Bovada
|Team||NBA Title Odds
|Golden State Warriors||-175|
|San Antonio Spurs||+1800|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+1800|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+30000|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+50000|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+50000|
|New York Knicks||+50000|