NBA Championship outright odds (As of Oct 15)
Los Angeles Clippers: 4.30
Los Angeles Lakers: 5.20
Milwaukee Bucks: 6.75
Philadelphia 76ers: 8.00
Houston Rockets: 8.50
Golden State Warriors: 12.00
Utah Jazz: 16.00
Denver Nuggets: 18.00
Exciting times are ahead for all NBA fans, with the regular season starting next week and the two Los Angeles teams as set as outright favourites.
The arrival of NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard has made the L.A. Clippers outright favourites to win the NBA Championship with odds of 4.30 on PlayNow.com. Last season, Kawhi led the underdog Toronto Raptors to their first championship over the Golden State Warriors.
Prior to Kawhi’s arrival, the Clippers had odds of 30.00 in the outright market – his addition alongside that of All-Star and NBA Defensive First Team player Paul George – has increased the Clippers’ chances of winning as bettors believe that these two can bring the championship to L.A.
Even though the departure of Kawhi has seen the Raptors odds drop to 40.00, bettors still believe they can defend their championship. Currently the Raptors have the second most bets placed and the third largest amount of money wagered on them winning.
The Lakers have also made significant changes to their roster, giving up Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple unprotected first-round picks and swaps in exchange for the Pelicans' franchise player, Anthony Davis. The Lakers currently have odds of 5.20 to win the NBA Championship on PlayNow.com.
Davis had, as of Tuesday morning, the fourth best odds to win the NBA scoring title after averaging 25.9 points last season. His height and agility also make him a threat in the paint defensively -- he has the third best odds in the blocks per game category.
The Lakers enter this year with massive expectations.
After failing to make the playoffs last year, the Lakers have a lot to play for this season. Lakers star LeBron James has said his mind is on winning a ring in the yellow and purple, and now with a good supporting cast, some bettors believe that this possible.
While the attention of bettors has been on the two L.A. teams in the NBA Championship outright market, could there be a few dark horse teams that can take the spotlight?
One potential dark horse is the Philadelphia 76ers. As of Tuesday, the Sixers had the fourth best odds – 8.00 at PlayNow.com. With a healthy Joel Embiid and confident Ben Simmons, the Sixers can become title favourites in the weaker Eastern Conference.
Only 2.47 per cent of the money wagered so far on the NBA Championship market is on the 76ers.
Another potential dark horse is the Milwaukee Bucks. After losing to the Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals, the Bucks have made several additions to their roster. They signed Robin Lopez at centre and re-signed All-Star Khris Middleton. The Bucks currently have the third best outright odds – 6.75 at PlayNow.com.
Milwaukee also has defending regular season MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo . As of Tuesday, the ‘Greek Freak’ had the third best odds to be the scoring champion – 8.50 at PlayNow.com.
Two teams flying under the radar are the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors.
The Rockets have the fifth best odds to win the Championship. Over the off-season, the Rockets signed former MVP Russell Westbrook to play alongside James Harden. Although there has been speculation over how the two ball dominant forwards will play, some believe that they will spark that chemistry that took them to the conference finals when they played for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Golden State currently has the sixth best odds. After winning three of the last five NBA Championships, one would have thought that they would be placed higher. Despite this, most of the money wagered in the outright market is on the Warriors – bettors believe they can win the Championship.