There are only 16 teams left standing on the road to the NBA Finals, and here at Bang the Book, we are stacking up the NBA Finals odds and discussing which teams have the best chance of winning it all.
1: Chicago Bulls (+450) – The bottom line for the Bulls is that they won 36 games this season at home, and since they had the best record in the league, someone has to beat them at the United Center at least once, and probably more than once to win the NBA title. Chicago has the league’s MVP in Derrick Rose and two of the best bigs in the game as well with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, and this will be the toughest team to oust from the second season.
2: Miami Heat (+315) – The Heat are rightfully amongst the favorites to win it all right now, and if Boston really turns out to be a paper tiger, they should waltz into the Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have the most pressure amongst the 16 teams that are still standing to win a title.
3: Los Angeles Lakers (+320) – Sure, the Lakers really didn’t play all that well down the stretch, but this is playoff time, meaning it’s Kobe Time. If this really is Head Coach Phil Jackson’s last rodeo, he isn’t going to want to have this run end with anything less than another ring. We’re not ones to bet against Kobe Bryant and the men in purple and gold.
4: San Antonio Spurs (+750) – Many are down on the Spurs this year, but it really wasn’t until about a month ago that the team started to show signs of weakness. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are showing signs of age, and we don’t think the likes of George Hill and company are quite set to take over and lead this team to the Promised Land yet. Still, with home court advantage until the NBA Finals, it’s hard to go against San Antonio.
5: Oklahoma City Thunder (+1700) – We just love what the Thunder did at the trade deadline by picking up Kendrick Perkins and Nazr Mohammed. This is a team that is really ready to get down and dirty, and the combination of grit and tenacity on the inside parlayed with the abilities of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to light a team up, and you’ve got the perfect team to make a huge run in the Western Conference.
6: Dallas Mavericks (+2250) – In games in which Dirk Nowitzki played at least 15 minutes this year, the Mavs went 54-21, which, prorated over the life of the season, would have left them with 62 wins, the most in the league. It probably won’t be enough to shake the “Dirk can’t win a title” tag, but Dallas definitely has at least a one in 22 chance of winning it all on this season.
7: Denver Nuggets (+7000) – Are we overrating the Nuggets here? It’s entirely possible. However, we love how Head Coach George Karl kept this team together in spite of the fact that Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups were both traded. Denver is hot right now, and if it can slip past Oklahoma City, it could be in a position to make a deep, deep run into the postseason.
8: Boston Celtics (+875) – We just don’t buy into the Celtics this year. Trading away Kendrick Perkins was a big time mistake, and Jeff Green just doesn’t bring anything to the table for this team right now. Boston looks old and slow, and if it doesn’t wake up, it could be facing an early exit from the postseason.
9 Orlando Magic (+2100) – The Magic probably don’t have as good of a team this year as they did a season or two ago, and they probably aren’t really competing for an NBA title this year. Dwight Howard is going to face hell on earth going against the bigs for the Bulls, and that’s assuming that they get past an Atlanta team that won the season series this year.
10: New York Knicks (+6600) – If you believe that stars can win a championship all by themselves, then you have to like the NBA odds on Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and Amare Stoudemire. The rest of the supporting cast is iffy, and Head Coach Mike D’Antoni has never been able to bring a team to the NBA Finals, but the Knicks definitely have an interesting mix of players that could pose a threat to Boston in the first round.
11: Portland Trail Blazers (+7500) – With just one more piece to the puzzle, we think that the Blazers could be awfully, awfully scary. Portland knows that has a team that matches up quite well with Dallas, Gerald Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge can both take Nowitzki if need be. However, without that killer instinct of Brandon Roy or a truly dominating post presence like Greg Oden might have turned out to be, Portland is just short of the rest of the teams in the West.
12: Atlanta Hawks (+20000) – Atlanta could be an interesting first round story, but beyond that, nothing else will come from it. The Hawks just don’t want to get laughed off the court like they did last year in the playoffs against Orlando in what amounted to be the worst beating that a team has ever taken in the postseason.
13: Philadelphia 76ers (+25000) – Philly just doesn’t stand a chance against Miami’s big three, unless all three happen to totally care less about the first round of the playoffs. The Sixers have put up some decent fights in the first round of NBA playoffs of the past, but this probably won’t be one of those situations.
14: Memphis Grizzlies (+22500) – We give the Grizz all the credit in the world for getting into the postseason out West without Rudy Gay in the lineup for a good chunk of the season, but the simple fact remains true: This franchise is 0-12 in the playoffs in team history.
15: New Orleans Hornets (+26500) – The Hornets don’t have David West, but even if they had David West, Jerry West, and Paul Westphal out there at the same time, they wouldn’t have a chance of fighting against the defending champs in the first round of the playoffs.
16: Indiana Pacers (+45000) – The only good thing that we’ll say about the Pacers is at least we get to see Danny Granger play on national television. As far as the rest of this team… Whatever. Indiana should have a very, very short stay against the Bulls in the playoffs.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.