The Golden State Warriors are set at a line of -160 to take home their third Larry O’Brien Trophy in four years, which makes them the clear betting favorite on the NBA championship odds with the start of the regular season fast approaching.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
However, the Warriors losing either Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant to injury would most likely put them behind the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are listed as the +450 second choice on those futures to earn their second title in three years behind LeBron James.
In what could again be the last year for James in Cleveland before he possibly bolts for another team like the much-rumored Los Angeles Lakers in free agency, the Cavaliers are an intriguing possibility considering they still have the best player in the league.
Cleveland sent All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics and have essentially replaced him with Derrick Rose and Isaiah Thomas, who was acquired in the trade for him but may not return to the court until at least December due to a hip injury.
The Celtics are the +800 third choice to win their 18th championship, and they also added small forward Gordon Hayward in free agency in an effort to prevent James from reaching the NBA Finals for the eighth year in a row. Hayward made the All-Star team for the first time in 2016 with the Utah Jazz and gives Boston another offensive weapon.
Three other teams to watch in the Western Conference include the San Antonio Spurs (+1200), Oklahoma City Thunder (+1200) and Houston Rockets (+1600). Any of them could challenge Golden State if Curry and/or Durant go down, but that’s a big if.
The Rockets added point guard Chris Paul in the offseason while the Thunder have a new Big Three after acquiring Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to help reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook. The Spurs still have arguably the best coach in the league in Gregg Popovich, although they still need more help around star Kawhi Leonard.
The Minnesota Timberwolves sit at +2800 on the NBA championship odds right now, putting them atop the next tier of contenders. The Washington Wizards hold down odds of +5000, with the Philadelpha 76ers and the Milwaukee Bucks set at +6600 odds.