Tue, Jun 12, 12:06pm by Staff Writer
The Golden State Warriors claimed their third NBA Championship in four seasons, with a commanding 4-0 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.
They are favourites to win the NBA Championship in 2018-19, priced at $2.25 at Sportsbet.
The Warriors were only truly tested in game one of the series, when George Hill missed a late free throw that would have put the Cavs in front with just four seconds remaining.
J.R. Smith then inexplicably held onto the ball, assuming his team had the lead. The match went to overtime, which the Warriors won easily and they carried that momentum into the subsequent three matches.
With LeBron James entering free agency this offseason, there are a number of people teams that are touted to be in a position to acquire him, including the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets are a $4.33 chance to win the NBA title next season. They held a 3-2 lead against the Warriors, as well as double digit leads in both game six and game seven without Chris Paul.
Acquiring LeBron James would be a huge move for the Rockets and would certainly catapult them into favouritism for the title.
In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics are the best priced team at $7.
The Celtics fell one game short of appearing in the NBA Finals, despite being without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Hayward was injured in the opening two minutes against the Cavs at the start of the season, while Irving had late season knee surgery.
Without these two stars, the Celtics unearthed a number of young talented players and exposed them to pressure basketball situations. Terry Rozier, Jaelyn Brown and Jayson Tatum all stood up when it mattered, with Boston sure to be a force next season.
After years of rebuilding, the Philadelphia 76ers are finally giving their fans reason to cheer. The Sixers are $9.50 to win the NBA title next season and harbor aspirations of obtaining LeBron James’ services.
Even without James, the 76ers are an enticing pick given the expected growth of youngsters Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The remaining 26 teams are all priced in double digits, led by the San Antonio Spurs at $21.
The Spurs had an unusually turbulent season, with speculation that star Kawhi Leonard was unhappy at the Spurs, appearing in just a few games due to injury.
Trading Leonard would overhaul the Spurs’ roster which is full of ageing stars, and at $21 they look a risky proposition.
Cleveland’s price of $26 is based on them appearing in the past four NBA Finals and despite their inconsistencies during the regular season, with LeBron James they have shown anything is possible.
If the Cavs don’t resign James, then that price is sure to lengthen.
The Toronto Raptors have been perennial playoff underachievers and that occurred once again in season 2017-18, when they were swept by the Cavs. At $23, it would take a brave punter to invest in this unproven Raptors team.
The most interesting team of those remaining is the Oklahoma City Thunder at $61.
The Thunder were outhustled by a tough Jazz team in the first round, but the first season of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony didn’t quite work out.
If the Thunder manage to resign George, then another off-season for that trio could prove beneficial for this team and we expect them to make a playoff push next season.
NBA Championship Winner 2018/19 – Sportsbet Odds
Golden State Warriors $2.25
Houston Rockets $4.33
Boston Celtics $7
Philadelphia 76ers $9.50
San Antonio Spurs $21
LA Lakers $23
Toronto Raptors $23
OKC Thunder $61
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