Now that the debate over whether or not LeBron James was responsible for the Miami Heat’s collapse in this year’s NBA Finals as died down a bit, it is time to start the debate on whether or not James can finally lead his team to a World Title next season.
Bodog.com seems to think he can as it has opened the Heat as the early NBA odds on favorite to win the 2012 title at 5/2. This is the first time in the last couple of years that the Los Angeles Lakers did not occupy the top spot in the title ‘futures’ odds. The rationale behind instilling the Heat as the early favorite is certainly justified, given the fact that Miami’s ‘Big Three’ will not have to go through the adjustment period it did this year, and should be able to dominate the East right out of the gate. Compiling the best record in the regular season and winning the first three rounds of the playoffs should be a given for this team, but can it live up to the expectations when it means the most; in the Finals?
The second favorite to win the world title are the Lakers at 11/2. These odds seem a bit generous in light of the fact that this team will have a new head coach in Mike Brown and a 34-year old Kobe Bryant as its front man. Public perception has a way of driving the highest profile team in the league odds down and thus sucking any value out of them. Unless there are some substantial offseason acquisitions in supporting personal for Bryant, it is hard to see this team rising back to the top of the NBA with its current roster.
The Chicago Bulls come in as the third favorite at 6/1. This team proved it can compete with its current personnel by turning in the best record in the NBA at 62-20, but failed to seal the deal in the postseason with four straight losses to Miami in the conference finals. League MVP Derrick Rose will only get better as he will be entering just his fourth season in the league, but Chicago needs to surround him with another star or two besides Carlos Boozer to overtake the Heat. A couple of key offseason acquisitions could make these 6/1 odds much more attractive.
The other upstart team that made some noise this season were the Oklahoma City Thunder. They come in at 15/2 to win it all next year after bowing out to Dallas in five games in the conference finals. Led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, this team needs to find a way to harness the talent that these two bring to the table to compete against the best teams in the league on a more consistent basis. The Thunder have an excellent chance to come out of the West next season, but it remains to be seen if they have what it takes to knock-off a team like Miami or Chicago in a seven-game series.
The Mavericks’ run to the NBA Title this season has the be the feel-good story of the year, especially if you are a Heat-hater. Unfortunately for Mavs’ fans, the odds makers do not see next year’s sequel ending the same way as Dallas is listed at 10/1 to repeat. There are six players eligible for free agency including Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea and it is very doubtful the Mavs will be able to sign them all. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry will be 34 next season as much like the Lakers, this team will probably start to show its age, especially with the monkey off its back for winning a championship.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.