To all those NBA fans hoping for a fifth-straight Finals meeting between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, we sincerely apologize. The most recent NBA championship odds make it clear that yet another rematch is highly unlikely.
Sure, optimists like to say, “there’s always next year.” However, free agency has a way of ripping the heart out of even the most loyal sports fans. And based on what the Vegas oddsmakers are currently predicting for the 2018–19 season, it does not look pretty for Cleveland.
To see what we mean, here’s a look at the NBA teams with the best odds of taking home the title in 2019.
Philadelphia 76ers (+1600)
With Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid leading the way, the Philadelphia 76ers have barely scratched the surface of their potential. If former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz rediscovers his shot, the rest of the league will officially be put on notice.
Houston Rockets (+850)
Led by James Harden — the newly-minted league MVP — and Chris Paul, the Houston Rockets came within one game of reaching the 2018 NBA Finals. Unfortunately, close doesn’t get you champagne and confetti, and the Rockets are “obsessed” with toppling the best. Perhaps adding Carmelo Anthony will get them one step closer to redemption in 2019.
Los Angeles Lakers (+800)
How can a team that won just 35 games this past season be considered a title contender in 2019? Simple: LeBron James. Now that the King has officially committed to the Lakers, their championship odds have increased dramatically. However, things aren’t perfect in Tinseltown. LA wasn’t able to acquire Kawhi Leonard, as the Spurs traded the two-time Defensive Player of the Year to the Raptors.
Boston Celtics (+550)
The Celtics are the cream of the crop in the East. Jayson Tatum is a superstar, Jaylen Brown is on the verge of becoming one of the game’s best two-way players, and head coach Brad Stevens is nothing short of a savant. Also, Boston reached the Conference finals without injured All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. With even more talent migrating West, the C’s are primed for a championship run in 2019 — and for years to come.
Golden State Warriors (-195)
After winning three out of the last four NBA titles, the Golden State Warriors are officially a modern-day dynasty. And with a starting lineup that already boasted four All-Stars — Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green — prior to adding a fifth in center DeMarcus Cousins this offseason, it’s hard to imagine the champs being dethroned anytime soon.
Other notable teams to watch:
- Toronto Raptors (+1600)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (+4500)
- San Antonio Spurs (+8000)
- Utah Jazz (+9000)