Then there were four. The Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites to win the NBA championship at 1/2 odds, followed by the Miami Heat at 4/1, the Boston Celtics at 11/2, and the Denver Nuggets at 9/1.

NBA Championship Odds Lakers Heat Nuggets Celtics
The LA Lakers dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis are 1/2 odds to win the NBA championship. (Image: Mike Ehrmann/USA Today Sports)

The #1 Lakers are the lone team remaining from the top two seeds in either conference. The Lakers lost the first game of the postseason against the #8 Portland Trail Blazers, but then won four straight to knock out Damian Lillard and company. LeBron and the Lakers needed five games to pick off Houston, and whooped the Rockets so badly that Mike D’Antoni decided to seek a new job (presumably in the Eastern Conference).

The #3 Denver Nuggets upset the #2 LA Clippers when they rallied from down 3-1 to knock out the consensus favorite to win the title.

For most of the season, the Clippers were co-favorites (hovering around 3/1 odds) with the Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks to win the NBA Championship. Heading into the postseason, the Clippers were a slight favorite over the Lakers and Bucks, both of whom struggled during the restart.

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LA Lakers 3/1 1/2
Miami Heat 40/1 4/1
Boston Celtics 10/1 11/2
Denver Nuggets 20/1 9/1

In the Eastern Conference, the #1 Milwaukee Bucks were upset by the #5 Miami Heat in the semifinals. The Bucks were bounced in only five games. The Heat also swept the # Indiana Pacers in the opening round to start the postseason 8-1.

After winning Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the #3 Celtics, the Heat improved to 9-1 straight up, and 9-1 against the spread in the postseason.

LeBron and Lakers New Consensus Favorites

  • LA Lakers NBA Championship Odds: -200 or 1/2
  • Regular Season Record: 52-19
  • Postseason Record: 8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS
  • Head Coach (NBA Titles): Frank Vogel (0)
  • Road to the Final Four: Beat #8 Portland 4-1, Beat #4 Houston 4-1
  • Big Dogs: LeBron James (26.6 ppg, 10.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists), Anthony Davis (27.6 ppg, 10.9 rebounds)
  • Under the Radar: Rajon Rondo (10.6 ppg, 7.0 assists)
  • Must Step Up: Kyle Kuzma (11.1 ppg)
  • Weakness: Consistent third scoring option other than LBJ and AD
  • 12th Man: Jared Dudley
  • Tagline: “Hey Clippers’ fans, jump back on the LeBron bandwagon!”
  • Twitter Hashtag: #LakeShow

Can’t Smoke Those Denver Nuggets

  • Nuggets Championship Odds: 9/1
  • Regular Season Record: 46-27
  • Postseason Record: 8-6 SU, 10-4 ATS
  • Head Coach (NBA Titles): Michael Malone (0)
  • Road to the Final Four: Rallied down 3-1 to defeat #6 Jazz and #2 Clippers
  • Big Dogs: Nikola Jokic (25.4 ppg, 10.8 rebounds, 6.1 assists), Jamal Murray (27.1 ppg, 6.4 assists)
  • Under the Radar: Paul Millsap (8.4 ppg)
  • Must Step Up: Michael Porter, Jr. (11.1 ppg, 6.9 rebounds)
  • Weakness: Slow start to games, streaky, inconsistent bench scoring
  • 12th Man: Bol Bol
  • Tagline: “Late starters, savage closers.”
  • Twitter Hashtag: #MileHighBasketball

Jimmy Buckets and the Miami Heat

  • Miami Heat Championship Odds: 4/1
  • Regular Season Record: 44-29
  • Postseason Record: 9-1 SU, 9-1 ATS
  • Head Coach (NBA Titles): Erik Spoelstra (2012, 2013)
  • Road to the Final Four: Swept #4 Indiana, Upset #1 Milwaukee in 5
  • Big Dogs: Jimmy Butler (21.8 ppg), Goran Dragic (21.9 ppg)
  • Under the Radar: Bam Adebayo (16.4 pg, 11.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists)
  • Must Step Up: Duncan Robinson (10.1 ppg, 38.2% 3-FG)
  • Weakness: Lack of playoff experience from a young team
  • 12th Man: Meyers Leonard
  • Tagline: “Don’t sleep on Jimmy Buckets, Bam, and Spo.”
  • Twitter Hashtag: #HeatTwitter

Bearish on Beantown

  • Boston Celtics Championship Odds: 11/2
  • Regular Season Record: 48-24
  • Postseason Record: 8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS
  • Head Coach (NBA Titles): Brad Stevens (0)
  • Road to the Final Four: Swept #6 Philly Sixers, Beat #2 Toronto Raptors 4-3
  • Big Dogs: Jayson Tatum (25.7 ppg, 10.4 rebounds), Jaylen Brown (20.7 ppg)
  • Under the Radar: Daniel Theis (9.1 ppg, 6.4 rebounds)
  • Must Step Up: Kemba Walker (19.6 ppg, 26.5% 3-FG)
  • Weakness: No bench, starters log too many minutes
  • Injuries: Gordon Hayward (ankle)
  • 12th Man: Tacko Fall
  • Tagline: “We’ll zig-zag this suckah to the NBA Finals.”
  • Twitter Hashtag: #Celtics

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