When the 2017 NBA season started, many thought that the Golden State Warriors were destined to be the champions. After all, they nearly won the title last season, then added Kevin Durant to an already stacked roster. But now, Durant is dealing with a knee injury, the Warriors are suddenly losing, and the door seems wide open for the defending champions Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and a few other teams.
Who’s the odds-on favorite to win the title now, with the playoffs right around the corner? Let’s answer this question by looking at NBA championship odds (futures) provided by a sports betting site and analyze the top teams’ chances of winning.
- Golden State Warriors: -135 odds
The Warriors’ odds may not be anywhere near -300 anymore, like in the preseason. But Golden State is still BetOnline’s favorite to win their second championship in three years. The team is playing its worst basketball right now as they adjust to Durant (25.3 PPG) being out for a few weeks with an MCL sprain and tibial bone bruise. But it feels like Golden State is still the favorite, even with losses suddenly piling up. However, at -135, they’re also overvalued given that Durant won’t be back until right before the playoffs.
- Cleveland Cavaliers: +200 odds
The Cavs have hovered between +200 and +300 odds in NBA futures as they look to defend their title. Frankly, it’s hard to see how they’re not closer to +100 based on the addition of Derrick Williams, Kyle Korver, and Deron Williams. This has suddenly gone from LeBron (26.1 PPG), Kevin Love (20.0), Kyrie Irving (25.0) and some other guys, to the Big 3 plus the league’s best bench. We feel that Cleveland is undervalued now, but there’s still uncertainty until J.R. Smith gets back in rhythm after his injury return, and Kevin Love returns in April from knee surgery.
- San Antonio Spurs: +600 odds
The San Antonio Spurs are the NBA’s New England Patriots since they’re always in the title hunt year after year. The only difference is that the NFL doesn’t have a Golden State Warriors in their league. Last year’s Spurs-Warriors matchup didn’t materialize in the playoffs because San Antonio lost to the Thunder. But with Kawhi Leonard (26.2 PPG) quietly playing MVP basketball, it feels like the Spurs can get to the Western Conference Finals this season. We still think the Warriors have too many elite players to overcome, but San Antonio has a chance and is undervalued right now.
- Houston Rockets: +1800 odds
Houston is the ultimate wild card due to their trend-setting style, which includes launching 40+ three-pointers a game. New coach Mike D’Antoni’s style suits James Harden (29.1 PPG) and company well as they play a wide-open style that perfectly fits the personnel. Adding Lou Williams for the cost of a late first-round pick was huge since Williams is having his best season (14.7 PPG). Eric Gordon (16.9) and Ryan Anderson (13.8) are also tailored for the Rockets’ new playing style. Their championship odds look correct at +1800, but it’ll be fun to see Houston play either San Antonio or Golden State.
- Boston Celtics: +2500 odds
Much of the 2017 trade deadline centered on what Boston would do with their lottery pick via the Brooklyn Nets. Chicago guard Jimmy Butler was a frequent subject of these trade tumors. But the Celtics stood pat, putting their title hopes on guard Isaiah Thomas (29.4 PPG) and a cast of strong role players. We like Boston’s team from top to bottom, especially players like Avery Bradley (16.9) and Jae Crowder (13.7). But we don’t see them getting past Cleveland in the East, meaning they’re probably a little overvalued at +2500.