The playoffs are slowly approaching in the NBA — so it’s time to take a fresh look at the favorites to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy as the league’s champion. Find out more about the latest NBA betting odds here.
Examining the NBA 2016 NBA Championship Odds Favorites
Golden State Warriors (55-6)
Yes, the lowly Los Angeles Lakers upset the Warriors. It’s hard to win all 82 of your games, even when it looks fairly clear that you’re on another planet. The Mavericks blew the Warriors out by more than 20 points (with Curry out with an injury). The Bucks beat the Warriors, and then almost beat them in Golden State a week later. The Sixers almost took the Warriors to overtime. But this is still a team running circles around the rest of the Association, until someone proves otherwise in a seven-game series.
San Antonio Spurs (53-9)
If the Spurs hadn’t had an uneven first week or so in the regular season, they might have an even better record than the Warriors. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to stay with Golden State in their meetings this season, so I’m not taking them seriously as contenders to knock off the track-meet Warriors. It will make for an intriguing conference final, the old-school Spurs and the small-ball Warriors.
Cleveland Cavaliers (44-17)
I know the Cavs made it to the Finals last year, and they’ve only added to their roster. However, they have a better foil in the conference in Toronto than they did last year in Atlanta — Chicago gave them their biggest challenge in the playoffs before the Finals — and they have a glass jaw in the fact that their leadership is soft and petulant at times. Yes, this is a richly talented team, but I wouldn’t call them mentally tough by any means.
Toronto Raptors (41-20)
Defense wins championships — unless you’re playing Golden State. The Raptors play better defense than Cleveland, and they might have a better offense too, which might make them the better option to take down Curry in the summer.
Who would have known that losing Blake Griffin would be the best thing to happen to the club this year? Even if Griffin comes back to contribute in the playoffs, how much does the team want or need him? This is someone who could definitely end up in a different uniform next season.
The Celtics are a bizarro version of the Warriors in the East — they regularly go over 110 points, playing a sort of small ball that, paired with a pesky defense, will make them a really tough team to beat in the postseason. Whoever emerges from the East in the playoffs this year will have gone through a much tougher road than the Cavs had to travel to face Golden State last year.