The Houston Rockets (42-13) headed into Tuesday’s NBA action just one game behind the defending champion Golden State Warriors (44-13). The Rockets are also one of just two teams in the league to beat the Warriors twice this season. So it makes perfect sense then that Houston is the +400 second choice to win their third NBA championship this year behind heavily favored Golden State.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
The Warriors are listed at -180 to win their third NBA title in four seasons, and they seem to be on a collision course to meet the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals for the second time in four years.
Both teams have made significant changes since they met in the 2015 Western Conference Finals, with Golden State adding Kevin Durant prior to last season’s championship run and Houston picking up Chris Paul this past offseason. The Rockets also hired a new head coach last year in Mike D’Antoni who has helped transform James Harden into a top MVP contender.
While it certainly seems like one of those two Western Conference teams will win the title this season, the Cleveland Cavaliers (33-22) dumped some former All-Star players prior to the trade deadline in an effort to win their second Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The Cavaliers are the +600 third choice to take home their second NBA title, and they are hoping some new younger talent will enjoy more success with LeBron James. The additions of George Hill, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood are taking the place of Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Jae Crowder.
Thomas simply did not work out in Cleveland after coming over from the Boston Celtics (40-18) with Crowder in a trade for Kyrie Irving, who has thrived with his new team. The Celtics are +1200 to win the NBA title ahead of the Toronto Raptors (+2200) even though they were sitting a half-game behind them in the Atlantic Division standings heading into Tuesday’s action.
The Raptors (39-16) may have the most value right now as the East’s best team. They are right behind the Oklahoma City Thunder (+2000) on the betting board and ahead of the San Antonio Spurs (+2500). The Thunder (32-25) are the other team that has beaten the Warriors twice while the Spurs (35-23) are currently third in the West despite playing mostly without Kawhi Leonard.