Rejoice, the NBA season is upon us! Who should you bet on to win the finals? We’ve got each of the contenders covered.
Basketball fanatics and bettors the world over are growing increasingly excited this week. The regular season kicks off, and for the next 7+ plus months every evening will be filled with a slate of riveting games as stars Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffen fight to bring their teams to the championship.
• Bookmakers are favoriting the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the NBA finals
• The Oklahoma City Thunder represent the best value
• The San Antonio Spurs will be tough to beat
Expect the 2014-15 season to be one of the best in recent memory. The previous offseason brought some major changes; Lebron left Miami to return to Cleveland, Kevin Love left the Timberwolves, the Washington Wizards continue to build a contender, and the Bulls brought in a combo of European stars.
Before you start foaming at the mouth with all the excitement, take a few minutes to consider your betting strategy for this season. We’ve provided detailed analysis of the top teams as well as odds from Bet365. Whether you’re betting in Singapore, Serbia or Ohio, we’ve got all the info you need.
The Favorites: Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs added Lebron and Kevin Love the offseason, and are the current darlings of Las Vegas. Bet365 has them with 4.1/1 odds of winning the championship outright.
While their talent is undeniable, this is a newly constructed team of players who have never competed together. It will take time to build chemistry, and they’ll have a disadvantage over more cohesive units like the Spurs and Clippers. We don’t think that these odds represent a good value.
However, if you’re interested in mobile betting, there will be lots of great prop bets to make on Lebron, Love, and Kyrie Irving.
The Reigning Champions: San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs didn’t make any waves this offseason, but they did what they were supposed to do: retain all the key contributors from a team that won the 2014 NBA championship.
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker continue to play at a very high level, and Patty Mills, Kawhi Leonard and Corey Joseph are impressive young players ready to carry the torch.
The Spurs outright odds currently stand at 5.2/1, putting them second behind the Cavaliers. Given where things currently stand, we would put our money on the Spurs to win the championship for a second straight year.
The Redeemers: Chicago Bull
Michael Jordan’s old team has struggled for the past two years with star guard Derrick Rose sidelined with injuries, but word is that he’s now fully healthy and flanked with a cohort of quality players: Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Joakim Noah, Jimmy Butler.
The Bulls are won of the deepest, most experienced and best coached teams in the league, which is why Bet365 is giving them odds of 8.2/1 to win the championship.
While we don’t quite think they stack up with the Cavaliers or Spurs, the Bulls are a good value here. Also, consider placing a prop bet on Rose to win comeback player of the year.
Best Value: Oklahoma City Thunder
For some reason oddsmakers are souring on the Thunder this season. Maybe it’s due to their disappointing performance in the playoffs last year. Whatever the reason, this is a young team led by superstars Kevin Durant (the reigning MVP) and Russell Westbrook that has already been to an NBA Finals.
Durant is out to prove that he has overtaken Lebron as the best player on Earth, Westbrook will be fully healthy, and supporting players Reggie Jackson, Serge Ibaka and Steve Adams are nothing to scoff at.
The Thunder’s odds of winning outright sit at 8.4/1, but this team is good. Really good. We think that they offer the best current value of any team. Consider placing this bet with Bet365, a leading online sportsbook in the UK.
Pushing to the Top: Los Angeles Clippers
The Clips have been a perennial contender for the past several seasons, led by stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffen. They’ve never been able to get past the Spurs or Thunder, however, and this season will be one of their last chances before Paul starts to age and loses his quickness.
The book on the Clippers is that they can score with the best of them but aren’t strong defensively and don’t always rise to the challenge in big games. Now that they’ve put the Donald Sterling scandal behind them, they can move forward with clear heads and sound minds.
Bet365 has them with 10.5/1 odds of winning the title outright. We think that those numbers are fair. This team has a chance, but a noticeably smaller chance than each of the teams above them.
The Dark Horse: Washington Wizards
The Wizards made the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a long time last year. Expect them to at least match those results with an athletic young backcourt of John Wall and Brad Beal and experienced veterans Paul Pierce, Marcin Gortat and Nene.
But can they be considered title contenders? The Wizards play in the weak Eastern Conference, so they could conceivably reach the finals if things go awry in Cleveland or if Derrick Rose is hit by the injury big again. But the thought of them beating the Spurs, Thunder or Clippers in a playoff series is ludicrous.
The odds currently stand at 38/1. While we’re tempted to make a high-return investment here, the risk is simply too high.