These Three Teams Have Talent and Value
The Golden State Warriors are by far the favorites to win the NBA Finals for a fourth time in five seasons, as they sit atop the Western Conference yet again. But behind the Warriors are some interesting teams that find themselves playing some excellent basketball as the second half of the season heats up. These three teams are dangerous and could be worth a serious look for NBA futures bettors heading into the stretch run.
Oklahoma City Thunder +2500
Oklahoma City has been a real roller coaster ride over the last few years, with the team losing all hope after losing Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors. They thought the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony would be an instant cure, but the Thunder only regained their footing after getting rid of Anthony. Now, George is playing like a legitimate MVP candidate, with Russell Westbrook still causing plenty of havoc on his own.
NBA betting odds to win the Finals have the Thunder at a juicy +2500 to win it all, even though the Thunder could be a tough matchup for the Warriors later in the playoffs. George is one of the few players in the league who can match up with Kevin Durant on both ends of the floor, while Steven Adams gives them one of the few big men in the league who can make a tangible difference against Golden State.
Houston Rockets +1300
Buried in all the confetti of yet another Warriors championship last season was the fact that they were against the ropes against the Houston Rockets in last year’s Western Conference Finals. The Warriors were down 3-2 in that series before a Chris Paul injury and some historically bad three-point shooting derailed the Rockets once and for all.
This year, the Rockets haven’t been playing to their full potential, but should be getting some of their most important players back from injury ahead of the playoffs. Chris Paul has had his minutes restricted somewhat but appears to be ready to aim for revenge against the Warriors, while James Harden has shown that he can score any amount necessary to keep the Rockets in games. At those odds, the revenge-minded Rockets are another strong contender to dethrone the Warriors.
Milwaukee Bucks +1000
If an Eastern Conference team is going to shock the world and win the NBA Finals this season, the Bucks might just be the team with the best chance to do it. The reason for that opportunity is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has taken the league by storm with his combination of size and otherworldly athleticism. As long as his recent knee soreness isn’t a long-term issue, the Bucks may just be the class of the Eastern Conference.
More importantly, they might be the perfect team to stop the Warriors. Giannis is a more athletic version of Durant, while role players like Khris Middleton are just the right guys to cancel out Klay Thompson. Based on roster strength alone, the Bucks might be the most underrated team in the league right now.