By now you’ve heard that Kevin Durant has taken his devastating crossover to Golden State for next season. The Warriors were already 3/2 favorites to win the 2017 NBA Title before they inked KD. Now they’re shorter than 1/1.
Their roster looks like a veritable dream team. But is there any value in betting Golden State at this point, given all that can transpire in the next 11 months plus the fact that LeBron James is still, y’know, a pretty good basketball player?
Let’s take a closer look at the early favorites and see where the value lies.
As I alluded to off the top, the Warriors are now shorter than 1/1 to win the title. What did you expect when the best free agent on the market goes to arguably the best team in the NBA?
The scary thing about Golden State is that, unlike other super teams, they already have a system in place that will get the ball to the open guy. As long as Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson are willing to share when necessary, the team should have quality looks every time down the floor. Given that KD could have easily signed elsewhere and been the undisputed “go-to guy,” he should be ready to check his ego at the door in the name of winning of championship.
It’s a good thing Cleveland got its championship this season because the road to the 2017 title just got a whole lot steeper. That said, the East stayed relatively weak post-free agency. Some are touting the Celtics as a challenger thanks to the addition of Al Horford. But they seem to be forgetting how Horford’s Hawks fared against Cleveland that last two years (swept both times). With Kyrie Irving as the Robin to James’ Batman, the Cavs are big favorites to get back to the finals, even if they’re dogs to the Warriors to win it all.
The San Antonio Spurs were 6/1 to win the title before the Kevin Durant news. Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge form a talented core, but Gregg Popovich needs a third scorer to match-up with Golden State. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili just aren’t those guys anymore.
The Clippers were in the Durant sweepstakes until Sunday night, and they may have jumped to top of the futures if they’d been able to land him. Formerly 16/1 to win the title, they’ve now fallen to 20/1. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan will challenge the Spurs for the role of beta-male in the West, but there’s not much reason to think they’ll knock off Golden State. They couldn’t do it pre-Durant, after all.
The tried to lure KD in every way possible, even calling on Tom Brady to extol the virtues of Beantown. While they whiffed on Durant, they did land Al Horford, arguably the second biggest prize. Horford undoubtedly makes them better, and count on coach Brad Stevens to find the best way to use him, but the Celts aren’t a championship-caliber squad.
The new-look Warriors might be the best collection of talent we have ever seen outside of an All-Star Game or the Olympics. There’s not a lot of value at 4/5, but I’m not going betting against them, I can tell you that much. That said, injuries can always derail things, and Curry – who isn’t the most durable guy – has played a lot of basketball over the past 24 months. Tread softly.
(Photo Credit: Keith Allison (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].)
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