Golden State Warriors Installed as Early Favorites to Win 2017 NBA Finals
One of the most remarkable Game 7s in NBA Finals history is barely over and the Las Vegas sportsbooks have released their odds on who will win the 2017 NBA Title. The Golden State Warriors, who lost Game 7 at home by a mere 4 points, are the favorites to win next year’s championship.
Game 7 was closer than 4 points, even. The game was tied with less than 30 seconds remaining. That’s when Cleveland Cavaliers’ start point guard Kyrie Irving put up a miracle 3-pointer to put the Cavs ahead for good. Thus, Irving and Lebron James lead the Cleveland team to (perhaps) the most stunning finals victory in NBA history.
Reasons to Bet on Golden State
Much recommends that interpretation. The Golden State Warriors were the defending champions, having beaten the Cavs in 6 games last year. The Warriors had won a record 73 games, surpassing Michael Jordan’s ’97 Chicago Bulls, who won 72 games in the regular season. Even in the series, Golden State held a 3-1 advantage in wins, and no one had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in NBA Finals history.
Thus, it was a huge upset for the Warriors. Lebron James led the Cavaliers to back-to-back blowout wins in Games 5 and 6, as he scored 41 points in each game. Then King James posted a triple-double to help the Cavs win a much more hotly-contested Game 7. Two of the three games were in Oakland. For his role in events, Lebron James was voted the unanimous Most Valuable Player of the series.
Despite the performance, the Golden State Warriors opened as 3:2 favorites to win the title next year. Bettors pushed the odds to 7:4 in early betting. The Cleveland Cavaliers were next with 5:2 odds, and the betting did not change their odds.
On paper, it’s easy to see why the Warriors are the favorite. Stephon Curry is still only 28 years old. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are only 26 years old. The core of the team should be in their prime years once more in 2017.
Cleveland Cavaliers’s Chances
While Kyrie Irving is 24 and Kevin Love is 27, Lebron James is 31 years old. His otherworldly athleticism for a man his size was the difference in 2016, but Lebron will be 32 next year and he’s had a tremendous amount of mileage.
Lebron James has made 6 straight trips to the NBA Finals and 7 trips in all. That equals an additional season and a half of NBA basketball. For a man who’s been in the NBA since he was 18, he has played the equivalent of 15+ seasons in the NBA.
The Spurs and Thunder
The San Antonio Spurs have 6:1 odds, but the Spurs face a lot of question marks, due to the age of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker. The Oklahoma City Thunder are next with 8:1 odds (bet to 7:1), but they face huge question marks, too.
The Oklahoma City Thunder pushed Golden State to the brink and they have two of the best five players in the world (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook), but Kevin Durant is about to test the free agent waters. Either Kevin Durant returns to the Thunder and they remain a strong betting favorite to win in 2017, or Durant has his “Decision” moment and some other team quickly will rise through the ranks. Anyone who gets Durant will be an instant contender, in many minds.
2017 NBA Title Odds
Team – Opening Odds – Current Odds
Golden State Warriors – 3-2 – 7-4 (After Kevin Durant Signing: 4-5 odds)
Cleveland Cavaliers – 5-2 – 5-2
San Antonio Spurs – 6-1 – 6-1
Oklahoma City Thunder – 8-1 – 7-1 (After Kevin Durant Signing: 50-1 odds)
Los Angeles Clippers – 16-1 – 16-1
Boston Celtics – 20-1 – 20-1
Toronto Raptors – 25-1 – 25-1
Miami Heat – 25-1 – 25-1
Chicago Bulls – 40-1 – 40-1
Atlanta Hawks – 40-1 – 40-1
Portland Trail Blazers – 60-1 – 60-1
New Orleans Pelicans – 60-1 – 60-1
Minnesota Timberwolves – 60-1 – 60-1
Houston Rockets – 60-1 – 60-1
Memphis Grizzlies – 80-1 – 80-1
Philadelphia 76ers – 100-1 – 80-1
Utah Jazz – 80-1 – 80-1
Los Angeles Lakers – 100-1 – 80-1
Philadelphia 76ers – 100-1 – 80-1
Charlotte Hornets – 80-1 – 100-1
Washington Wizards – 100-1 – 100-1
Detroit Pistons – 100-1 – 100-1
New York Knicks – 100-1 – 100-1
Sacramento Kings – 100-1 – 100-1
Indiana Pacers – 100-1 – 100-1
Dallas Mavericks – 100-1 – 100-1
Milwaukee Bucks – 100-1 – 100-1
Denver Nuggets – 100-1 – 200-1
Phoenix Suns – 300-1 – 300-1
Brooklyn Nets – 500-1 – 500-1
NBA Free Agency
It is hard to make futures wagers on the NBA Finals until mid-July. The first and second week of July are when NBA free agency plays out. This year, Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Al Horford, Mike Conley, Andre Drummon, DeMar DeRozen, Hassan Whiteside, Chandler Parsons, Brandon Beal, Nic Batum, Dwyane Wade, Harrison Barnes, Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Dirk Nowitsky, and Bismack Biyambo are free agents.
Some players, like Lebron James, are expected to resign with their teams. Other stars, like Kevin Durant, are not as solidly entrenced in their home city. A few free agents, such as Dwight Howard, are almost certain to leave the city. Until the dust settles with the major free agents, it is hard to predict the favorites in 2017.
Most top competitors are seeking to lure Kevin Durant, who is clearly the best free agent (assuming Lebron goes back to Cleveland). The Golden State Warriors are said to be interested in adding Durant, with Dirk Nowitski as their Plan B option. With the German forward now 38, that is a major drop down. Meanwhile, no one is certain where a good fit for Dwight Howard would be, but he is seen as a potential game changer, if he can check his ego at the door.
Update: After the Kevin Durant signing, those who bet the Golden State Warriors are feeling lucky. The odds jumped from 3-2 to 4-5. Those who bet on the Oklahoma City Thunder are feeling like they’re already lost. The Thunder’s odds fell from 8-1 to a dismal 50-1.
Such is the cruelty of NBA Free Agency.