Regular season NBA basketball is difficult to bet. Players take nights off, one team is more rested than another, and you just do not always get a player’s best night in and night out. The bottom line is that the best team does not always win. The playoffs are a different thing altogether. In a best of seven series, the best team almost always advances. Here are the odds from FanDuel Sportsbook in New Jersey.
If you are betting on a 2019 Western Conference Champion and NBA champion, do not get caught up in the lines. There is one team that is not only the best team of 2019, it is one of the all-time greats. In fact, the only teams that could beat the Golden State Warriors right now are the Bulls from the 1990s and the Celtics and Lakers from the 1980s. Basically, barring a time warp, the Golden State Warriors will be your 2019 NBA Champions. Even if one or two of their stars go down, they have the depth to win it all. They have two of the bets five players, three of the best ten, and four of the best twenty-five players in the game today. They even have two of the top five defenders and the two best shooters in the league. Golden State will win the NBA Championship and they will probably finish off a sweep of the Rockets in a few nights.
If you are betting the Portland-Denver series, there is still some intrigue left. With Denver up 2-1, the line is swinging heavily towards the Nuggets. Portland, however, has the two best players and scorers on the court every night in their guard combo and Damian Lillard may be the best closer in the game next to Kyrie Irving. If you are looking for a play in the west, I would consider Portland to take the series.
The East, while it will not produce the NBA champion, is a lot more wide open. There are some good plays in the East and the lines are a lot more interesting. The Bucks are the odds on favorite to win the East, and they are also the most talented. With Giannis, who is maybe the best player in the NBA, leading the way it would be tough to bet against them. On the other hand, Philadelphia and Boston present some intriguing matchups and Toronto has the second best player and the best scorer in the east in Kawhi Leonard.
Boston has been slowed by Gordon Hayward’s injury. He came back too soon and the team has not gotten into a new rhythm since his return. He is their second best player, but he has played like a reserve for most of the year. Kyrie is the best closer in the NBA and probably the most clutch player over the last five years. Even with that and all of the talent the starting five has, Boston is not playing like a team and will probably lose to the Bucks in five or six.
The 76ers may be the most talented young team in the league. With Simmons, Butler, Embiid, Harris, and Reddick shooting the three, from a pure talent standpoint only Golden State is better. There are some weaknesses on this team as well. Simmons cannot shoot and can be completely taken out of games by a decent defender. Embiid is always hurt and loses his cool at least once a week. Butler is clutch but has some off games too. At a +350 line to win the East, and with their talent, the 76ers would be my pick to win the East.
The Raptors have a great player and two very good ones, but Kyle Lowry forgets to show up in May every year. The Raptors are designed for the regular season, so when they face the same team every other day for two weeks they only have one guy that can create his own shot and that is just not enough.
Even as odds on favorites, I would take the Warriors to win the whole thing without thinking twice. In the East, I would take the 76ers. The line is good and they are just so talented that it would be hard to pass up.