The San Antonio Spurs picked up their fifth title since 1999 on Sunday night when they dispatched of the Miami Heat with three straight nearly flawless performances to turn a 1-1 series into a blowout. It’s the Miami Heat, however, who lead the 2015 NBA Championship futures odds at Bovada.lv.
It will be an interesting offseason in Miami as Lebron James has the ability to move on if he wants and the aging Heat have some difficult decisions to make with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. After the way that things ended in Miami, one has to wonder what the state of that team will be on Opening Night of the 2014-15 season.
In any event, here’s the list of 2015 NBA Championship futures from Bovada.lv:
|Oklahoma City Thunder||6/1|
|San Antonio Spurs||6/1|
|Los Angeles Clippers||9/1|
|Golden State Warriors||25/1|
|Los Angeles Lakers||40/1|
|New York Knicks||40/1|
|New Orleans Pelicans||50/1|
The top six teams on the list don’t include any surprises with the Heat, Thunder, Spurs, and Pacers, the four conference finalists, all in the mix. The Clippers and Bulls round out the teams with odds of 12/1 or less. Among those teams, the Spurs probably have the best odds of making another deep playoff run, depending on what happens with Tim Duncan this offseason. If he decides to retire, the odds will certainly go up for a Spurs title.
As with any other offseason, there should be a lot of player movement and teams that have funds available to be big players in free agency will have a leg up on the competition. One of those teams is the Dallas Mavericks. Currently sitting at 33/1, the Mavericks are very likely to retain top player Dirk Nowitzki and have been rumored to be one of the teams in the running for Carmelo Anthony’s services. Owner Mark Cuban has deep pockets and the Mavericks took the eventual champion San Antonio Spurs to the brink. They were the only team that really put a scare into San Antonio during the postseason and that has to give Cuban and the Mavericks a lot of optimism entering next season. Re-signing Nowitzki will take up some of their cap room, but if Cuban can put together a championship-caliber team and pay the luxury tax, he will do that.
The Cleveland Cavaliers (33/1) have to be a consideration, as crazy as it sounds. With a competent GM in place, the Cavs have the pieces to trade for an impact player and could certainly be a finalist in the Lebron James sweepstakes if he leaves South Beach. It was an ugly breakup between James and owner Dan Gilbert, but money cures all and James can return to his original team to try and break Cleveland’s 50-year championship drought. If James can do that, he not only cements his legacy as a player but cements his legacy in the Cleveland and Akron area. For a player who worries about his image as much as LBJ does, burying the hatchet in his old stomping grounds and playing with Kyrie Irving and the team’s first overall pick in the upcoming draft has to be an attractive option.
The Brooklyn Nets (28/1) might be worth a look. The Toronto Raptors have an uphill climb to win the Atlantic Division again, which would give the Nets home court for at least one series and create a hedging possibility if they’re able to take the division crown. They’re highly unlikely to navigate through the Eastern Conference playoffs to make it to the Finals, but at 28/1, making it to the semifinals opens up a decent opportunity for profit.
Another Western Conference team worth a look is the Golden State Warriors (25/1). Stephen Curry might be the best value in the NBA at just a shade over $10M and talented youngsters like Jordan Crawford and Draymond Green are going to continue to improve. Green grew up a lot, especially when having to cover Blake Griffin in the opening round. They get scoring from everybody in the lineup and a coach that can get them to play as hard on the defensive end as they do on offense would be big. Steve Kerr could be that guy as he commands respect from both his administrative role with the Suns and 15-year career as a player.
It’s never too early to plan for next season and if your bankroll allows you to make long-term investments like futures such as this, they can be very profitable.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.