By Anis Bazza
Last Updated: 21st October 2018
This summer saw a shift in the balance of power from East to West with LeBron James and DeMarcus Cousins heading to the Western Conference. It’s no surprise then that our NBA betting tips reflect the fact that three of the four favourites for the NBA Championship are teams from the Western Conference.
It’s also no shock to learn that the Golden State Warriors remain the overwhelming favourites to retain their crown, having won back-to-back titles earlier this year when defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavs – who have reached the finals in each of the last four years – are a monstrous 250/1 to win in the NBA Championship odds after the departure of their marquee power forward – LeBron James.
So can anyone upset the apple cart and pip the modern equivalent of the dream team to the Championship?
Our NBA betting tips take a look at the favourites and provide you with some predictions.
NBA Championship odds: Golden State Warriors @ 3/10
The Warriors have assembled arguably the greatest team in the sport’s history in the hope of a three-peat – and the NBA winner odds reflect that.
Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are all amongst the best in their positions and with the acqusition of DeMarcus Cousins, Golden State have seemingly done the impossible and improved on last year’s roster by adding a fifth All-Star.
Huge amounts of the Warrior’s salary cap has been splurged on these players with some wheeling and dealing done with DeMarcus to maintain a decent squad depth.
The franchise boasts an exceptional array of offensive talent, forwards and centers that can turn the heat on at a moment’s notice. And with Draymond Green they can hold their own defensively too. Our NBA betting tip is that if they stay healthy then the Western Conference and Pacific division is surely a wrap.
The Golden Boys from the Bay Area are an extremely short 8/15 in the betting to win the NBA Championship whilst their odds of topping the Western Conference bet at 3/10 in the trading.
Eastern Conference NBA betting Tips: Boston Celtics odds of 6/1
The biggest beneficiary of LeBron’s move to the West is literally everybody else he left behind in the Eastern conference.
Now you might think that just simply means you get to be honorary runner-up to the mighty Warriors next season but that won’t be how the Boston Celtics view it.
Head coach Brad Stevens has helped build probably the strongest roster in the East – a side with real star quality, strength in depth and creativity. With the Cavaliers – often such thorn in their side – now finally out of their way, the pathway to the finals has never looked clearer.
Speaking of strength in depth, Boston’s backbench is aptly named B.W.A (Bench With Attitude). Marcus Morris and Terry Rozier saw plenty of starting minutes last season and alongside Aron Baynes, the Celtics will be overwhelming favourites against any other franchise’ second string side.
Gordon Hayward missed all but one game last season while star player Kyrie Irving suffered an injury in March yet Boston still managed a 55-27 record and took LeBron James’ Cavs all the way to game seven in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Their defence too – with Stevens employing a rigid defensive structure – will reap caveats as they aim to top the Eastern Conference.
Only the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz allowed fewer points per game than the Celtics last season – so it’s no surprise to see them installed as the second favourites in the betting for the NBA Championship at a 6/1 pick whilst being projected at 10/11 in the Eastern Conference winner markets. Our NBA betting tip figures those odds are worth keeping an eye on.
Being pipped to the Eastern Conference Championship by the Toronto Raptors (3/1) or Philadelphia 76ers (7/2) would represent a huge disappointment for the franchise but our prediction as part of our NBA betting tips is for the Celtics to finish first in their conference.
Western Conference NBA betting tips
Houston Rockets @ 6/1
The Rockets were painstakingly close to toppling the mighty Warriors last season when they went 3-2 up in the Western Conference Finals before star point guard Chris Paul suddenly fell with a hamstring injury.
A mere couple of possessions from reaching the NBA Finals, they were so close they could almost taste it.
Houston remain neck and neck with the Celtics in the betting for the NBA Championship odds for that reason as well as keeping star quality like James Harden and Chris Paul at the franchise.
There was one major change over the off-season when Trevor Ariza was replaced by Carmelo Anthony, a deal which will raise questions regarding the 34-year-old’s ability to adapt to Mike D’Antoni’s high paced ‘3 shaped’ offense. But with Paul, Harden, and Clint Capella as an attacking trident, there will be ample gunpowder to worry even the stringiest defences.
Harden – one of the best shooting guards in NBA history – has just come off the back of an MVP season and was a primary reason behind the Rocket’s ranking as the #1 offensive team during the 2017-18 season. Building on a their impressive 65-17 record from last season will be difficult but with off the bench players like Eric Gordon who won the NBA’s Sixth Man winner in 2017, the Rockets should have the necessary squad depth to challenge on all fronts.
Houston actually finished above the Golden State Warriors in the regular season and healthy odds of 9/2 are being offered for them to repeat that (should Golden State of course finish 2nd). With so much success in recent years, there is an argument that Golden State just won’t be as motivated to flick the switch on and give it their all until the play-offs.
The Rockets are a 9/2 wager to win the Western Conference and are trading at a 6/1 pick in to become champions as part of our NBA betting tips.
Los Angeles Lakers @ 12/1
Lebron James could be come the third player in NBA history to win a title three separate teams if he does the seemingly unlikely 12/1 projected odds of winning the NBA Championship.
In truth, that feat will come a little too early for a side that finished 11th in the Western Conference, 3rd in the 5-team pacific division and ended with an overall 35-47 and our NBA betting tips reflect that.
LeBron is still surrounded by temperamental talent in Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley and will have to hone promising youngsters Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball.
A strong regular season and return to the playoffs as well as chalking up plenty of W’s would count as a fine season for the Lakers.
The Lakers are 9/1 to finish top of the Western Conference.
Anis grew up supporting Manchester City but found joy and solace across Europe’s major football leagues. Increasingly passionate about NBA, he is interested in and has written extensively about many different aspects of sport across the years, previously working at Sky Sports News and Sport360 newspaper in Dubai. He studied Sport Journalism at University but spent a large portion of his academic years building City Watch instead - the largest independent Manchester City Twitter account and website.