Yes, the NBA season just finished on Sunday. And yes, we realize there’s a lot of moves happening at the draft and during the free agency period that will change the outlook of many rosters around the league. But the first set of 2015 NBA Title odds are out, and fans of the Knicks, Lakers and other also-ran franchises have been waiting for next year for the past six months. Why not forecast?
The Vegas favorites aren’t a big surprise. The Miami Heat, despite all the question marks surrounding The Big Three and the rest of the roster, is still the favorite at 5 to 2; the defending champ San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder are the second odds-on favorites at 8 to 1. That’ll hold assuming that LeBron James stays in South Beach. Vegas bookies know that the action won’t come from the experts but those who want to plunk down a couple dollars for a quick bet, and those folks will ride with King James.
After that, it gets interesting. The Los Angeles Clippers are next at 10 to 1, which makes sense given they made significant progress this season with new head coach Doc Rivers. With Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as their core guys, they’re still a very dangerous team in the West. A surprising entry at the top are the Chicago Bulls, who are at 15 to 1. Derrick Rose will be ready to return at the start of next season—barring another setback this summer—and depending on whether the Bulls do end up getting involved in the Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, this could end up being the value pick on the board.
Among the more interesting ones are the Golden State Warriors at 30 to 1, the Washington Wizards at 35 to 1 and the Phoenix Suns at 75 to 1. Depending on how the rest of the offseason shakes out, these odds may look a lot more valuable in November.
Even though they won the Atlantic Division, the Toronto Raptors are 60 to 1 compared to their divisional counterparts the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets, who are both at 50 to 1. The top-drafting Cleveland Cavaliers have the same odds as the Raptors at 60 to 1.
Rounding out the bottom, the Milwaukee Bucks are the longest shot at 300 to 1 and the Philadelphia Sixers are 250 to 1. Both teams will be picking in the top three at the draft next week, so the oddsmakers probably have them where they belong.
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