Sportsbooks Favor Warriors To Repeat As NBA Champs

Thursday, April 14, 2016 2:56 PM GMT

The 2015-16 NBA playoffs tip off this weekend, and it is a three-horse race to win the title according to the books. Check out the updated NBA odds and where the value lies here.

Last year's champions and newly anointed 73-game winners, the Golden State Warriors, top the board at 1-to-2 odds to lift the trophy again—the shortest price headed into the postseason in years. To make it to the Finals, they may have to go through the San Antonio Spurs, who along with the Eastern Conference's top choice, the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, are co-second favorites at odds of 4-to-1 to win it all. NBA odds makers do not value much outside of this trio. The fourth choice, the Oklahoma City Thunder, are as high as 25-to-1 to hoist the trophy at some books.

SBR aggregated the odds from a host of different sportsbooks to provide you with the average price for each team to win the 2015-16 Finals. The list is as follows:

Team

Odds

Golden State Warriors

-200

Cleveland Cavaliers

+400

San Antonio Spurs

+400

Oklahoma City Thunder

+2000

Los Angeles Clippers

+3500

Toronto Raptors

+4000

Miami Heat

+7000

Atlanta Hawks

+7000

Boston Celtics

+7500

Charlotte Hornets

+10000

Indiana Pacers

+20000

Portland Blazers

+20000

Detroit Pistons

+20000

Dallas Mavericks

+25000

Houston Rockets

+25000

Memphis Grizzlies

+30000

Where is the Value?
Although the Warriors are deserved chalk to win the Finals, and they are my favorite to do so as well, the price on them may be a little short considering San Antonio potentially standing in the way. As we mentioned in an article exploring Golden State's market value yesterday, these two are not that far apart, and San Antonio may be the only team to have a legitimate shot of ending its run. In fact, 4-to-1 or longer on the Spurs is good value if you are a believer. These two teams posted historically good seasons, being the ninth and tenth teams in NBA history to own a 10-plus points differential at the end of the year. Seven of the eight previous franchises went on to win it all, including the Warriors last season.

The Thunder at 20-to-1 or better offers some of the best value on the board, despite the prospect of overcoming the Warriors and Spurs. With Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant both suiting up, OKC went 52-20 with an average scoring margin of 8.7 points per game. It will have to dig deep on the road against the conference's best though. Versus opponents with a 57.5 winning percentage or greater, Westbrook and Durant compiled a 6-12 record outside of Chesapeake Energy Arena.

In the East, LeBron means everything to the Cavaliers. In games he played, the team went 56-20 with a 7.1 points differential. Odds of 4-to-1 are decent value if they make it to the final series, which is likely. The public pounded Cleveland last season when matching up with the Warriors, confident LeBron could lead his troops to glory. Expect the same this year if they make it.

The Raptors, as high as 50-to-1 at some books, are the No. 2 seed and next best team in the East per average scoring margin at 4.5. Like the Thunder, playing outside of Toronto may be their undoing. When they faced an opponent within three points of its differential away from home, they went just 3-9, losing by an average of nearly five points a game.

Do not be tempted by the long odds offered on the No. 5 seeds or less, like the Celtics, Hornets, Trail Blazers, etc. In the last 35 years, only three teams ranked this low have even made it to the final series, with the 1995 Houston Rockets the only one to end up the NBA's best. Also, something you want to keep in mind for your NBA picks and as we mentioned in our Finals matchup odds write-up, the No. 1 or 2 seed from each conference has staged the championship series in 19 of the last 35 Finals.

Best of luck.