It’s playoff time in the NBA, starting on Saturday, and if the NBA championship betting odds are to be believed, only five of the 16 teams have a serious chance to win the championship and three of those five stand above the class.
The reputation of the NBA is being a league where you’re the champ until your crown is knocked off is affirmed by the prices below. The Miami Heat haven’t looked the part of a champion for at least three months, and in spite of the best effort of the Indiana Pacers to give away the #1 seed in the East, the Heat couldn’t take it. Nonethless, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh come into the postseason as the 19-10 favorite to win a third straight title.
San Antonio posted the best record in the NBA and came within a missed free throw or a defensive rebound from winning the championship in 2013. The Spurs come in at 3-1, and the Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t far behind at 19-5 (slightly less than 4-1).
The track record of the NBA as one where the chalk rules probably narrows the championship race to these three, but the Pacers and the Los Angeles Clippers still have enough respect in Las Vegas to give them a puncher’s chance, particularly since Indiana does have that aforementioned top seed in the East. Indiana is 8-1, while Doc Rivers and the Clips are 10-1.
If this were the NHL, where upset champions happened, it would be worthwhile to dig deeper, particularly with teams like Houston, Brooklyn and Chicago still on the board. But the history of the NBA tells us that while this teams might be carrying a bigger price tag than they should, wagering them to win the championship would be throwing your money away.
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Here’s the complete list of NBA championship betting odds for all 16 playoff teams. TheSportsNotebook’s coverage of the playoffs will begin in earnest over Friday and Saturday morning (the first game tips at 12:30 PM ET on Saturday). We’ll have a “Tale of the Tape” that will summarize each playoff team and then a brief look at the specific first-round matchups.
San Antonio: 3-1
Oklahoma City: 19-5
LA Clippers: 10-1
Golden State: 60-1