Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs has tipped off, and with the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs having been eliminated over the weekend by the Los Angeles Clippers, the possibility for a legit team with decent odds left like the Bulls, Rockets and even the Wizards now exists. But are any worth a pick?
Where We Are Heading Into Monday Night’s Two Round 2 Openers
So the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs are out of the NBA Playoffs now, and the Futures Book odds left for the eight NBA teams still alive in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference sort of sings a song that the Golden State Warriors (+100, Even Money to win NBA Championship, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and to-be-named-today (Monday) league MVP Stephen Curry (+137 to be NBA Finals MVP, Paddy Power) are the team to beat. Often, there are dominant teams in the NBA, but seldom does one see an Even money favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy heading into Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs. But it’s that simple: The Warriors are really good.
Following Golden State (-250 to win Western Conference, BetVictor) in the NBA odds are the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers (7/2, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and superstar LeBron James (+350 to be NBA Finals MVP, Paddy Power). Of course. But could any of the other six teams left in the field possibly be a fly in the ointment to a potential Warriors-Cavaliers NBA Finals? More of course. With star G Derrick Rose back in the mix and fellow backcourt mate G Jimmy Butler, the Chicago Bulls (10/1)—who finally finished off the upstart Milwaukee Bucks in their Round 1 Eastern Conference series—can definitely upset and eliminate the Kevin Love-less Cavaliers (-137 to win Eastern Conference, Betfred), and will get the chance to steal away the homecourt advantage on Monday night (Series price: Cavaliers -240, Bulls +205, GTBets) when they welcome Chicago to the Quicken Loans Center in Cleveland for Game 1 of their Round 2 Eastern Conference lid-lifter (TNT, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; Cavaliers -4½, 194, Ladbrokes).
And two teams who will also begin playing their Best-of-7 series on Monday night—in Houston at the Toyota Center (TNT, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT; Clippers -6, 212, bet365)—are the Houston Rockets (8/1 to win NBA Championship, Westgate SuperBook) and the Los Angeles Clippers (10/1). The Rockets advanced by bouncing fellow Lone Star State team, the Dallas Mavericks, while the Clippers defeated Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the Spurs in one of the most epic NBA Playoffs series ever, one which went the full 7 games and went down to the last shot with just 1.0 second left on the clock in Lalaland on Saturday in a game that found a way to outshine the Kentucky Derby and the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight. And although it does seem like it would be a rough thing to do, both Houston and LA Fresh (Series price: Rockets -135, Clippers +115 GTBets) could beat the mighty Warriors, but with the Clippers expending so much energy in an emotional series against San Antonio and the Rockets having the homecourt advantage here, if anyone is going to prevent the Golden State Warriors—who took a 1-0 series lead in their Best-of-7 Western Conference series on Sunday, thrashing the Memphis Grizzlies (30/1), 101-86, and will meet in Game 2 on Tuesday night at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland (TNT, 10:40 p.m. ET/7:40 p.m. PT; Warriors -10, 194½, bet365)—from reaching the NBA Finals in the West, it will probably be the Rockets.
And no matter who comes out of the Cavaliers-Bulls series (besides being beat up and worn out), will, at least in my demented mind, have to face John Wall, Marcin Gortat and the Washington Wizards (30/1), who stole the home-court advantage away from the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday with an impressive 104-98 win by way of a strong Second Half. Game 2 in the series is Tuesday night at the Phillips Center in Atlanta (TNT, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT; Hawks -6½, 198, GTBets) in a virtual must-win situation for the homeboys.
Highest Current Odds to Win NBA Championship, Oddschecker—(Sunday, May 3)
Golden State Warriors +125 (Betway)
Cleveland Cavaliers 3/1 (BetVictor, Boylesports, Betfred)
Los Angeles Clippers 10/1 (BetVictor, Coral, Winner)
Houston Rockets 10/1 (BetVictor)
Chicago Bulls 10/1 (Stan James)
Atlanta Hawks 14/1 (Coral)
Washington Wizards 17/1 (Paddy Power)
Memphis Grizzlies 66/1 (BetVictor)
Highest Odds to Win Eastern Conference—(Sunday May 3)
Cleveland Cavs -137 (Betfred)
Chicago Bulls +400 (William Hill)
Atlanta Hawks +500 (Coral)
Washington Wizards +900 (Bwin)
Highest Odds to Win Western Conference—(Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Golden State Warriors -250 (BetVictor)
Los Angeles Clippers +500 (Betfred)
Houston Rockets +500 (William Hill)
Memphis Grizzlies +2500 (BetVictor)
7 Reasons Why the Golden State Warriors Will Win the NBA Championship
1—The Warriors are more Rested than everyone else. They coasted through the NBA Regular Season, racking up a league-best 67-15 record, just swept their Round 1 series against the 8th-seeded New Orleans Pelicans, and, as mentioned, bopped the Grizzlies at Home on Sunday, all in seemingly effortless displays, although Chicagoan Anthony Davis and the Pelicans did put up a bit of a fight and kept the final scores relatively close (106-99, 97-87, 123-119 (OT) and 109-98) in their opening Western Conference series. In terms of Energy in the tank and being worn out from the Regular Season and these NBA Playoffs, this Golden State team absolutely has the most right now, and probably will the duration of the postseason. A huge edge. Afterall, we are ourselves, Energy.
2—Two of the Best Shooting Guards in NBA history—Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson—who pop from 3-ville without regard, and who end up making an awful lot of them (not to mention some of Golden State’s Big Men shoot the 3 pretty darn well also.) in the Regular Season, the 27-year-old Curry, (23. ppg, 7.7 apg, 4.3 rpg) averaged hitting 3.6 of 8.1 attempts per game (44.3%) while backcourt teammate Thompson (21.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.9 apg)—a 25-year-old third-year man from Washington State—averaged 3.1 of 7.1 attempts per game (43.9%) in the Regular Season. These guys are gunners.
3—The underrated Warriors Frontcourt of Center Andrew Bogut (6.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.69 bpg), Draymond Green (11.8 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and SF Harrison Barnes (10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg). This is where I believe this team will actually win it, as they will match up well with everyone left and have to be thrilled to death that the defending champs are back at home in Texas soaking in hot whirlpool baths and epsom salts. The 7-0, 260-pound Bogut is invaluable and an underrated rock in the middle; Green—along with aforementioned Bulls Butler and Wizards Gortat—may be the most underrated player in the NBA (and may be the precise reason this team becomes champs)—while the young Barnes is consistent in all aspects of his game. Quite the Starting 5 in the Bay Area these days.
4—This team is playing very good Defense. And you can thank former Chicago Bulls guard—and deadeye 3-point shooter himself—and Head Coach Steve Kerr, a disciple of the legendary Phil Jackson, for that new reality. The Total of 194½ for Tuesday’s Game 2 reveals this newfound reality for a team whose opponents used to regularly score in the triple-digits, as does the 99.9 ppg average the Warriors allowed in the Regular Season.
5—The whole Bay Area, from Oakland to San Francisco and beyond are incredibly stoked for this Warriors basketball team this season and Hungry for Some Silverware. Golden State hasn’t won an NBA Championship since 1975 when Rick Barry, Jamaal Wilkes & Company defeated the then-politically correct Washington Bullets and already have a 5-0 mark in these playoffs and another likely double-digit win on the horizon at Home over Memphis on Tuesday night (TNT, 10:40 p.m. ET/7:40 p.m. PT).
6—The Warriors (+14.3 Point Differential at Home) possess the best combination of Defense and Offense of the eight teams still playing in the NBA postseason. Golden State averaged 110.0 ppg this season, and allowed that aforementioned 99.9 ppg—a +10.1 average Point Differential, easily the highest in the league. And the Warriors have won their five NBA Playoff games by 7, 10, 4, 11 and 15 points. This team just simply isn’t losing games.
7—Golden State is easily the most Healthy and Confident teams—two often overlooked factors by Sports Bettors and some handicappers because Health and Emotion don’t show up in numbers or statistics. This amazing team has the remarkable ability to jump to around a 16-point lead in the 2nd Quarter, and then (usually) hold it the rest of the way, a real rarity in today’s NBA. There’s good reason odds makers have this team around Even money to become the 2015 NBA champions this early in the playoffs.
NBA ROUND 2 SERIES PICK: Chicago Bulls +205 over Cleveland Cavaliers (GTBets)
NBA ROUND 2 GAME PICK: Washington Wizards +6½ over Atlanta Hawks (GTBets)
NBA FUTURES PICK: Golden State Warriors +125 to win NBA Championship (Betway)