Top Early Value Picks for 2017 NBA Championship Betting
If it seems inevitable to you that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will meet again in the NBA Finals, you’re not alone.
The Warriors and Cavaliers are favored -235 and -250 respectively to win their conferences for the third straight year. And these two juggernauts have started the 2016-17 campaign by winning 10 of their first 12 games combined.
Alas, when it comes to betting value, both Golden State and Cleveland fall short. They’re 4-8 ATS to start the season, and they’re dragging around a lot of chalk as the top teams on the NBA championship futures market, with the Warriors favored over the field at –120 and the Cavs in second at +300.
If you’re looking for a value pick to win the title, you’ll have to take someone further down the odds list. How far down is up to you.
Second Tier: Los Angeles Clippers (+2000)
The Clippers have won at least 53 games in each of the last four regular seasons, but injuries and a lack of depth have cost them in the playoffs. Although you can never forecast injuries, the Clippers are deeper this year with veterans Raymond Felton, Marreese Speights and Brandon Bass joining the club. 2017 could be the year Chris Paul puts the team on his back and takes them to the championship.
Third Tier: Oklahoma City Thunder, Toronto Raptors (+4000)
The Thunder are less dangerous now that former MVP Kevin Durant is in Golden State. They still have Russell Westbrook, and he’s one of the hottest players in the league to start the new season – right up there with Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, who scored at least 30 points in each of his first five games.
Both the Jazz and the Blazers are rising commodities working in relative anonymity out West. The Jazz have beefed up this year with George Hill at point guard and the veteran presence of Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw. The Trail Blazers are deeper with former Celtics guard Evan Turner, but most of this young team’s growth will come from within.
Getting to this end of the odds list requires a leap of faith. The Rockets are always dangerous with James Harden, especially now that he’s the de facto point guard alongside newcomer Eric Gordon. As for the Nuggets, they’re probably a few years from truly contending, but they’ve got two amazing big men in power forward Nikola Jokic and center Jusuf Nurkic. Get in on the ground floor while the price is right.