Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The Golden State Warriors (46-9) just keep on rolling for the most part despite suffering an occasional loss.
The defending Western Conference champion Warriors may not be on pace to top the best regular-season record of all-time that they set last year in finishing at 73-9, but Golden State is better with the addition of Kevin Durant and focused on winning its second NBA title in three years as a strong -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) over the defending league champion Cleveland Cavaliers (37-16).
The Warriors and Cavaliers – the +275 second choice (bet $100 to win $275) to repeat – are favored to meet in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year, and it may take a major injury to one of either team’s star players or trade by a top competitor to derail that possibility come June.
Golden State fell to the Denver Nuggets 132-110 on the road Monday, but the home team got an NBA record-tying 24 three-pointers to pull off the upset.
That seems to be the type of effort it will take to bury the Warriors, although Cleveland found a way to limit them defensively in rallying back from a 3-1 deficit to win their first championship last June.
Golden State responded by signing Durant in the offseason to give the team even more offensive firepower and cause another mismatch for the Cavs.
There are limited teams that could challenge the favorites in the Eastern and Western Conferences, most notably the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, respectively. The Celtics (36-19) earned high praise from Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle on Monday after his team lost to them at home 111-98 when he said they have a “legitimate chance to get to the Finals.”
Boston has won 10 of 11 since a three-game losing streak. Boston is listed at +2500 and could also make a deal to bring in another star like Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls to seriously threaten Cleveland.
In the West, the Spurs (42-13) have already put together a league-record 20th straight winning season and have successfully transitioned from the Tim Duncan era with LaMarcus Aldridge continuing to emerge as a team leader.
While Aldridge did not make the All-Star team, teammate Kawhi Leonard did, and he is viewed as one of the few players in the NBA who can match up with LeBron James of the Cavs and Durant.
San Antonio is the +800 third choice to win its sixth championship and first without Duncan followed by James Harden and the Houston Rockets (+2000) and the Celtics.