NBA Championship Futures Betting Value Teams

Over the past week we’ve talked a lot about the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers. With good reason–they both were extremely active in the free agency and trade markets and have put together teams that look capable of making deep playoff runs and contending for a NBA Championship. With Kevin Durant sidelined for much (if not all) of the 2019-2020 regular season the Clippers and Lakers have become the presumptive favorites to win the title. That is reflected in the NBA futures odds where the Clippers are priced at +300 and the Lakers at +400 to win the crown.

But what if they don’t? The history of similar teams suggests that both have their work cut out for them. LeBron James brought ‘Dream Teams’ to both Miami and Cleveland but neither won the NBA Championship in their first season. He’s now in his second year with the Lakers but it’s questionable whether or not the 2018-2019 season was a ‘lost year’ for LeBron’s championship ambitions wearing the purple and gold. The Clippers are completely an unknown quantity. They had a team on the rise last season and gave the Golden State Warriors a tough fight in the playoffs. They’re getting two elite talents in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George but how quickly will they form a cohesive unit?

After the Lakers and Clippers, the championship battle looks to be wide open. The Milwaukee Bucks (+500) and Philadelphia 76ers (+800) are the only other teams priced at single digits to win the NBA title. It’s not apparent if the Bucks did anything to improve in the offseason. The Sixers look to have added depth but just don’t strike me as a legit title contender. Next up, we’ve got the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets at +1400. The Warriors might have been downgraded too much due to the loss of Kevin Durant and injury to Klay Thompson. They’re still a very good team. The Rockets are still Chris Paul and James Harden and not much else. They’ll win games in the regular season and get eliminated in the playoffs short of the conference finals. Denver had a great regular season last year but looked very ordinary in the playoffs.

That brings us to our ‘top value pick’ to win the NBA Championship. There’s not a team in the league that did more to upgrade themselves than the Utah Jazz. The Lakers, Clippers and Nets completely revamped their rosters. The Jazz built on what they already had–most notably NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. They acquired respected veteran Mike Conley, Jr. from Memphis and he can do it all at the position–including defend. The Jazz starting lineup got bigger and more physical with the addition of 6’8″ small forward Bojan Bogdanovic and 6’10” center Ed Davis. The Jazz had the #4 scoring defense in the NBA last year and won 50 games. They’ve managed to markedly improve their lineup in the offseason. The 2019-2020 Jazz could have the best chance to bring a title to Salt Lake City since the days of Stockton and Malone. In a wide open championship race we’re taking a defensively solid and well coached team at a huge price.


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