Fri, Jul 20, 1:00pm by Staff Writer
The Golden State Warriors are the runaway $1.55 favourites to claim a fourth NBA title in five seasons.
The Warriors completed a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the most recent NBA Finals, with few teams seeming capable of stopping their juggernaut.
With free agency in full swing, the Warriors signed former Kings and Pelicans All Star DeMarcus Cousins to a one-year deal.
Cousins is recovering from Achilles surgery and should appear on court in the New Year. It is another astute signing from General Manager Bob Meyers, which has only strengthened the Warriors.
Boston are the favourites to emerge from the Eastern Conference and are $7.50 to win the title.
The Celtics will welcome back Gordon Hayward who only played two minutes in his debut season for the Celtics before an awful leg break. Kyrie Irving was injured during the playoffs and will be a welcome return.
Boston built their season on a trio of young players in Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum and Jaelyn Brown, all three of whom return this season.
Houston led 3-2 in the Western Conference finals last season before point guard Chris Paul injured his ankle.
The Rockets fell agonisingly short of a first Finals appearance in over 20 years. They are $9 to win the title at Sportsbet. They have lost Trevor Ariza to the Phoenix Suns and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute to the Clippers in free agency. Houston are attempting to resign Clint Capela to a max deal, and could be suitors for Carmelo Anthony should he leave Oklahoma City.
One of the worst kept secrets of free agency was superstar LeBron James’ move to the Los Angeles Lakers.
LeBron leaves Cleveland, delivering them an elusive first NBA Championship and four consecutive finals appearances.
He moves to the Lakers where he is met with a swag of young, promising players including Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram.
The Lakers are $13 to win the title. Any team with LeBron is a chance of making the Finals, but this team will need a monumental change in recent fortunes and luck to get close to the Warriors.
The Toronto Raptors ($21) and San Antonio Spurs ($61) completed a trade on Thursday morning which sent DeMar De Rozan to the Spurs and outcasted former NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to the Raptors.
The deal strengthens both sides, but with reports Leonard is unenthusiastic about playing in Toronto, it could be a disastrous move for Toronto, who finished atop the Eastern Conference last season.
The Philadelphia 76ers are the other team in the East with a chance of featuring late in the season. The 76ers rebuilding process finally delivered last season when they made the second round of the playoffs.
Their core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric returns and should be stronger this season.
2018/2019 Championship Odds – Sportsbet
Golden State Warriors $1.55
Boston Celtics $7.50
Houston Rockets $9
Los Angeles Lakers $13
Philadelphia 76ers $17
Toronto Raptors $21
Utah Jazz $41
OKC Thunder $41
Minnesota Timberwolves $61
San Antonio Spurs $61
Indiana Pacers $101
Washington Wizards $101
Miami Heat $101
Milwaukee Bucks $101
Denver Nuggets $101
Portland Trailblazers $101
New Orleans Pelicans $101
Los Angeles Clippers $176
Detroit Pistons $201
Dallas Mavericks $251
Memphis Grizzlies $276
Charlotte Hornets $326
New York Knicks $501
Chicago Bulls $501
Brooklyn Nets $501
Phoenix Suns $501
Cleveland Cavaliers $501
Atlanta Hawks $501
Sacramento Kings $501
Orlando Magic $501
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