When all is said and done, only one team can be crowned NBA champion. And while most believe the outcome of the 2018–19 season has all but been determined, there’s a reason they play the game. And that’s because anything is possible.
The upcoming season hasn’t even begun and already oddsmakers are predicting which clubs are most likely to take center stage with the title on the line. These odds are subject to change as the season unfolds, but as it currently stands, here’s a look at who Vegas believes will meet in the 2019 NBA Finals.
Odds courtesy of Sportsbook.ag as of August 16, 2018.
Celtics vs. Rockets (+950)
Both the Celtics and Rockets were one game away from reaching the NBA Finals in 2017–18. Unfortunately, despite owning home court advantage, neither squad was able to make it out of their respective conferences. With LeBron James no longer in the East, the path to the Finals is definitely easier for the C’s. The same, however, cannot be said about the Rockets, who still must contend with the cream of the crop — the two-time defending champion Warriors.
Raptors vs. Warriors (+900)
Led by former MVPs Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, the Warriors are the obvious choice to represent the Western Conference in the Finals. The Raptors, on the other hand, are more of a long shot to come out of the East. Of course, thanks to some offseason wheeling and dealing, Toronto did acquire Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs. And if he’s back to his pre-injury self, that makes the Raptors an automatic threat.
76ers vs. Warriors (+700)
Last season, the upstart 76ers went 52-30, had the fourth-best defensive rating (105.0) in the league, and earned the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Yet, despite all their talent, the Sixers were unable to advance past the conference semifinals. It wouldn’t surprise us if Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — and possibly Markelle Fultz — help Philadelphia take the next step in the 2017–18. Should that occur, a date with the Dubs in the Finals is a definite possibility.
Celtics vs. Warriors (+140)
An NBA Finals matchup between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors feels like the obvious choice. The Warriors are the best team in the sport, and the C’s are stacked with youth (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) and All-Star-level talent (Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford). Pending any unforeseen injuries, Boston and Golden State appear destined for a Finals showdown.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.
Other notable matchups to watch:
- Celtics vs. Lakers (+1800)
- Bucks vs. Warriors (+2200)
- Pacers vs. Warriors (+2900)
- 76ers vs. Rockets (+3000)
- Wizards vs. Warriors (+3500)
- Raptors vs. Rockets (+4000)