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Golden State Unsurprisingly Open as 2019 NBA Championship Favorites

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in NBA Basketball

Updated Apr 15, 2020 · 7:51 AM PDT

Golden State may be one of the elite teams of all time, but they may not show it during the NBA regular season. Photo by Noah Salzman (flickr)
  • Are these Warriors just now hitting their stride?
  • Who poses the greatest challenge to Golden State?
  • LeBron’s decision of 2018 still looms over all

The final buzzer in Game 4 of the NBA Finals signaled the anti-climactic series clinching win for the Golden State Warriors over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the alarm for the rest of the 29 teams in the Association:

This is the Warriors’ world, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

It was a historic run, as Golden State became just the sixth team in league history to raise the Larry O’Brien trophy three times in four seasons.

That list, in its entirety, is the Mikan-Lakers (Minneapolis edition), the Russell-Celtics, the Magic-Lakers, the Jordan-Bulls and the Shaq-and-Kobe-Lakers. That’s it. That’s a list of pure royalty. And it’s about time to say it: we’re dealing with a dynasty.

And the rich should only get richer, at least according to our top online sports betting sites, who have released their opening odds to take the 2019 NBA Championship.

Opening 2019 NBA Championship Odds

Oddsmakers have Golden State as the clear-cut favorites at +125 to take home the title next season – which would give them the three-peat, and their fourth ‘chip in five seasons.

Even as the favorite the Warriors present some stellar value, opening with plus odds, compared to the -180 they opened at last year. If we’re being honest, only an all-time effort is taking this group down.

It’s terrifying what the Warriors were able to accomplish as a unit, and there’s no reason for any letup as they’ll essentially be rolling back the same roster.

It’s terrifying what the Warriors were able to accomplish as a unit, and there’s no reason for any letup, as they’ll essentially be rolling back the same roster.

This season, they were the devastating model of consistency on offense, shooting 50% from the field, 39.1% from three point range, while punishing the opposition for fouling them by putting down their free throws at an 81.5% clip.

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Golden State poured in 113.5 points a game in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible, averaging just under 30 assists on 42 field goals made a game.

These staggering numbers are from a team that looked to be disinterested and on cruise control for much of the year. That led to a disappointing regular season, but they easily turned it up in the postseason, where they may have been pushed in two or three games all playoffs. 

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It doesn’t hurt when you have two of the five best players on earth in Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, who both averaged 26.4 points per game last season.

They also happen to have one of the best shooters all-time in Klay Thompson, and the league’s best defender in Draymond Green. Nights off and off-games were never punished.

Such is the life with the greatest accumulation of talent the league has ever seen.

Can Anyone Touch the Warriors?

They list the Houston Rockets as the next best bet, at +400 to claim the third title in their franchise history – the first since 1994-95.

The Rockets had two chances to finish off the Warriors, but they were overwhelmed by the Oakland juggernaut, as All-Star Chris Paul was forced to watch the avalanche on the sideline. A hamstring injury prematurely ended his playoff run.

Paul had been remarkable, posting 21.1 points and 5.8 assists, supplying the moxie and attitude the team needed to aid James Harden when his offensive burden became too heavy.

But how reliable can Paul be going forward? He’s 33 years old, and when his minutes per game went up in the big games, he couldn’t stay healthy. This is not a good sign.

The Philadelphia 76ers (+450), Boston Celtics (+600) and Los Angeles Lakers (+1600) are the youth movement that round out the top five favourites.

Team 2019 NBA Championship Odds
Golden State Warriors +125
Houston Rockets +400
Philadelphia 76ers +450
Boston Celtics +600
Los Angeles Lakers +1600

Boston returns the same team that was a game away from the Finals, with the added healthy additions of their two best players: Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

Meanwhile, the process is on the verge of some big things, with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Dario Saric leading the resurgence.

Why the Lakers? This is a bet that the Magic Johnson-led front office is going to lure a big fish, and maybe even two.

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And that brings us to the person that can completely alter the landscape: LeBron James.

The LeBron James Effect on the 2019 NBA Champioship Odds

Despite a Herculean playoff effort (34.2 ppg, 9.8 apg, 9.8 rpg) that left no doubt that he was still the best player on the planet, he could not compete with the Warriors juggernaut, at least not with the roster he was given.

And his upcoming 2018 free agency decision is already impacting the 2019 NBA Championship odds.

It’s clear online betting sites believe he will leave Cleveland for a second time, while all the top contenders to win the LBJ sweepstakes this summer are enjoying rather short odds – Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers.

If he pushes his way to any of the four teams on this list, expect that franchise to pull into a virtual tie with the Golden State as the favorites.

Find the odds for each NBA team to win the title in our 2019 NBA Championship Odds Tracker.

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