Golden State -110
Not surprising to see Golden State being the favorite here, they are the defending champions and won two of the last three. Injuries are a concern here though, Steph Curry is the fuel that helps this machine run and his recent knee injury is disconcerting. If he misses the first round it’s one thing, but having a banged up Curry who isn’t 100% is not a lock to win it all.
Houston has been the best most consistent team in the league this year. It’s hard to imagine a team that chucks up 42 threes a game being so dominant and not having stagnant offense at times. Credit has to go to James Harden who is just killing defenders this season. The addition of Chris Paul really has added another dimension to this team, his passing, scoring and defensive skills. This team hasn’t lost much this year and it usually takes a massive performance from a superstar to topple them. This team is deep and hard to beat, but will Chris Paul and James Harden show up in the playoffs finally? Only time will tell. I would say this is a good bet to take.
This feels like an outdated line considering how great Cleveland has been of late, namely Lebron. This team is struggling to hold the 3 seed in the East against a very hot Philadelphia team. I surmise Lebron turning it on even more in the playoffs and with Kevin Love healthy and the rest of the team gaining chemistry, this team will be a force in the playoffs. This is a great team to bet on going forward.
Toronto has been dominant all year long, they have recently been in a bit of a lull which is hilarious because in their last 10 they are 7-3. They are balanced, deep and poised for a deep run. Will they finally hurdle the Cavs as the best team in the East? This bet seems risky but this team has beaten the best in the NBA, going 2-0 vs the Rockets and went 1-1 vs the Cavs.
Boston has been banged up lately and played a tough stretch of games against good opponents and still won. What does that mean? Brad Stevens is the second coming of Jesus? I don’t know. Having your best players be Jayson Tatum and Jaylon Brown, a rookie and a second year player, isn’t a great sign but they beat the Thunder and Jazz on game winning shots lately and their defense has been stout. If Kyrie comes back 100% don’t count out the Boston Celtics and their coaching wizard.
Oklahoma City +2500
This team has been up and down all year, beating good teams, losing to bad teams, getting blow out by good teams and yet still has been a dark horse and an intimidating matchup for the top seeds in the West. They are 2-1 against the Warriors and 1-1 against the Rockets. I think this team could give both teams fits in the playoffs. Will they win it all? Probably not. But I could see a potential upset in the making especially with all the injuries the Warriors have. There is no question in the games of Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams but Carmelo seems to impede on their chemistry to a certain extent.
Dame Lillard has been sensational. Cj Mccolum has also been instrumental in this team’s success and role players like Jusuf Nurkic, Mo Harkless and Shabazz Napier have given this team some much needed depth. It seems like on any given night if Portland is close in the 4th quarter Dame has it in him to make some magic happen. I’m not sure if this team is ready to win a title but considering how well they have played against some of the best teams in the league it wouldn’t be surprising to see them steal a few games from one of the NBA’s best teams.
San Antonio +4000
San Antonio has been a very hard team to read this year. They are without their best player Kawhi Leonard and Lamarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense and has actually been masterful at it at times. If Kawhi comes back and is the same player that tore up the league last year this team could certainly win it all. Remember they beat Houston and were going toe to toe with Golden State when Kawhi suffered his injury last year and subsequently made the Warriors path to winning another title much easier. Popovich also has never lost a series to Mike D’antoni. Keep an eye on this team.
The Sixers have surprised everyone this year and are currently sitting in the 4th seed in the east with 9 games to go and a very easy schedule. If they snatch the 3 seed from Cleveland and make it to the second round. They may be facing a Kyrie Irving-less Celtics team. From there it is hard to imagine them beating the Cavs or the Raptors. This team seems like it could either go deep in the playoffs or lose to the Wizards or Pacers in the first round. Young talent is always volatile. As great as Embiid, Simmons and Saric are it seems necessary for a couple more years of development for them to truly contend.