The Golden State Warriors entered the 2018-19 NBA season as the team to beat, as they returned nearly all the same starting players — while adding DeMarcus Cousins — and are defending champions. One month of regular-season play remains, and anything can happen. Fans are already starting to place their NBA Finals wagers at online sports betting sites like mad-betting.com. Let’s take a look at the six teams with the best chance to win the 2019 NBA Title.
Golden State Warriors (1/2 odds to win NBA Finals)
It was expected that the Warriors would just run through the regular season without a hiccup, but that hasn’t been the case. Golden State has some quality wins this year — like a recent victory in Philadelphia on the tail-end of a road trip — but also some abysmal losses. Its worst defeat of the season came in their previous game, against the Suns, who were on the second half of a back-to-back. Golden State had beaten Phoenix 18 straight times, yet lost at home in embarrassing fashion.
Still, it’s likely that the Warriors will round into form heading into the playoffs, but there are some red flags to be aware of. Not only that, the team still lacks a solid interior defender, as Cousins clearly is not the player of old — at least not yet, at least.
Houston Rockets (8/1 odds to win NBA Finals)
The Rockets, at times, have looked like a one-man team, but that particular player, James Harden, often has been unguardable. Harden is currently on pace for one of the best offensive seasons in NBA history, averaging 36.2 points per game. His stepback three-pointer is one of the most effective moves the game has ever seen, and it’s downright lethal.
For Houston, it will come down to the same issues that prevented the team from winning the West last season — Chris Paul’s health, and contributions from its role players. If they start to get hot from three-point range — watch out.
Milwaukee Bucks (15/2 odds to win NBA Finals)
The Bucks are not only the best team in the league, but they also happen to have arguably the best player in the league — Giannis Antetokounmpo — who is currently the favorite to win the NBA MVP Award.
Milwaukee has the best record in the NBA right now (50-17), and also the best home record (27-5). Given that they would have home-court advantage if the NBA Playoffs began today, it’s safe to say they’re in great shape.
Toronto Raptors (13/1 odds to win NBA Finals)
The Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard over the summer, in what was a risky move. Leonard, after all, had only one year remaining on his current deal, and given that the Raptors had to give up DeMar DeRozan to get him, they could potentially be looking at a rental, with nothing to show for it.
But the move has worked so far, as Leonard is the team’s unquestioned leader, and they have a 48-20 record — sitting right behind Milwaukee. If Leonard can revert to his MVP form of old, the Raptors could possibly make a run to the Finals.
Philadelphia 76ers (30/1 odds to win NBA Finals)
The Sixers are no longer “trusting the process,” as it’s all about making moves to win now — like this season, for instance. The Sixers, like the Raptors, made a risky trade for Jimmy Butler, who could depart the team in free agency this summer.
Butler has already voiced his displeasure about lack of touches, and it will be interesting to see who gets to take the final shot during games in the postseason. There are a lot of stars on this team, and a lot of egos to manage, so it will be interesting to see if they can keep it together for a deep run; they certainly have the talent to do so.
Boston Celtics (15/1 odds to win NBA Finals)
This article concludes with the most disappointing team in the Eastern Conference, but albeit one that, like the Sixers, has the talent to make a deep run in the playoffs if it can manage its personalities. The Celtics, after all, were a game away from clinching the NBA Finals last season.
This year has been a different story, though, as the team sports a 41-26 record, and that’s simply not good enough for a team that had title hopes. But the Celtics have shown that when they’re unselfish — rather than playing like individuals — they can be among the best in the league. They did manage to blow out the defending champion Warriors at Oracle Arena recently, which was an extremely impressive feat.