The NBA regular season is over with 16 teams qualifying for the playoffs and according to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Golden State Warriors are -230 favorites to win their third championship in a row, while the Milwaukee Bucks are 9/2 odds as the top team in the Eastern Conference.
The Golden State Warriors are playing their last games at Oracle Arena in Oakland before they move across the bay to a new arena in San Francisco. This might be the last season that the Warriors have their core team in tact. Kevin Durant is rumored to leave the Bay Area to possibly sign with the New York Knicks. At the same time, Klay Thompson is rumored to head to SoCal to play with LeBron James and the LA Lakers.
The Denver Nuggets, the biggest surprise in the Western Conference, are 40/1 odds to win the title. The Nuggets struggled to close on the season and finished with a 5-5 clip. They still locked up the #2 seed though and will face Pops and the San Antonio Spurs in the opening round.
2019 NBA Championship Odds:
Golden State Warriors -230
Milwaukee Bucks 9/2
Houston Rockets 6/1
Toronto Raptors 10/1
Philadelphia 76ers 15/1
Boston Celtics 15/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 30/1
Denver Nuggets 40/1
Utah Jazz 50/1
Portland Trail Blazers 100/1
LA Clippers 100/1
San Antonio Spurs 100/1
Orlando Magic 200/1
Indiana Pacers 200/1
Detroit Pistons 400/1
Brooklyn Nets 500/1
On the final day of the regular season, the Detroit Pistons locked up the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. They will be taking on the Greek Freak and the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round. The Pistons are the second-highest long shot on the board at 400/1.
Beast from the East
The Greek Freak has been sensational all season long. The Bucks were the only team in the NBA this season to win 60 games. It’s one thing to crush the regular season, but the postseason is an entirely different beast. The NBA playoffs, especially in the Eastern Conference, are brutal affairs.
The Toronto Raptors, led by Kawhi Leonard and first-year coach Nick Nurse, locked up the #2 seed with a 58-24 record. They battle the Orlando Magic, who have been in playoff mode the last couple of weeks of the season.
The Boston Celtics nearly imploded this season in the wake of the Anthony Davis trade drama. Kyrie Irving tends to elevate his game in the playoffs. Brad Stevens is at his best making adjustment and tweaks during the zig-zag nature of the NBA playoffs. We will see if the regular season turmoil spills over into the postseason, or if the Celtics finally come together as a unified squad. With the #4 seed, the Celtics face the #5 Indiana Pacers.
The Brooklyn Nets, the biggest surprise of the NBA season, finished the season with a 42-40 record, which was good enough for the #6 seed in the East. They face Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, and the Philadelphia Sixers in the opening round.
Warriors Come Out to Play in the Wild West
Only two games separated the #5 through #8 seeds. The Utah Jazz won 50 games to secure the #5 seed and an opening-round battle against MVP-candidate James Harden and the #4 Houston Rockets.
Only one game separated the #2 seed and the #4 seed. The Nuggets won 54 games to secure the #2 seed. The Nugs drew the #7 Spurs, who are always dangerous come playoff time.
The Golden State Warriors finished the season 8-2 to win 57 games. They snagged the top seed in the Western Conference away from the fledgling Denver Nuggets. The #1 Warriors face Doc Rivers and the #8 LA Clippers in the opening round. Steph Curry sprained his foot in the last week of the season. His status will be a game-time decision, but Steve Kerr knows he will need a healthy Curry to go all the way.
The Warriors came into the season as the team to beat. Pundits, oddsmakers, and fans all expected the Warriors will return to the NBA Finals this season. But who will they be facing? Is this the year that the Greek Freak make a huge leap toward superstardom? Or will rookie coach Nick Nurse and the Raptors claw their way into the championship series?