As the NBA season draws to a close it is no surprise that the defending champion Lakers and defending East champion Celtics have the lowest betting odds to win the NBA title at Sportsbook.com, but the hot Bulls, Heat, and Spurs may also be in the mix come June.
The Lakers are hitting their stride at the end of the season and they have been on fire since the All Star break. Andrew Bynum has really played well and it looks as he may be healthy for the playoffs. The Lakers will not finish with the best record in the West, but would you bet against Kobe, Pau, and company in a 7-game series? I wouldn’t.
The Celtics are in a fight with the Bulls for the best record in the East and they are still led by the Big 3 of KG, Allen, and Pierce. Many thought they made a bad trade a while back, but the new players of Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic have played well since coming to Beantown. The Celtics have the best defense in the league and they will really get a lift in the post-season if Shaq can get healthy and hit the court.
Miami may have their betting odds a little high at +300, as they have been up and down for the last couple of months and they are only around .500 against teams with winning records. They have no big man to speak of and they rank near the bottom of the league in points in the paint. Yeah, Wade and Bosh have to step up in the post season, but for Miami to get to the finals I think King James has to carry them like he did with the Cavs a few years back.
The Bulls may be a good betting value at +350, as they are hot and may end up with the top seed in the East. Derrick Rose is a legit MVP candidate and they rank 2nd in the league in both rebounds per game and opponents’ points allowed. Rose, Noah, and Boozer is a trio that no team wants to face in the playoffs.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs will probably end up with the league’s best record, but there are concerns in the Lone Star State. After staying relatively healthy for most of the season Tim Duncan is now injured and he will have to be 100% in the playoffs for San Antonio to have any chance at another title.
The Mavs have had a solid season and nobody is really talking about them being title contenders. Dirk is having another MVP season and while Jason Kidd and Jason Terry are playing well the key to the Mavs this season has been the play of C Tyson Chandler. Still, they are a major betting long shot even to come out of the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder may be a good betting dark horse pick if new C Kendrick Perkins can step up his play in the post-season. Oklahoma City was soft inside before getting Perkins from Boston and if he can solidify the middle and Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook can really play well in the playoffs they have a shot, albeit a small one.
Sure, Dwight Howard is having another big year, but can a team that lives and dies by the 3-pointer, like Orlando does, win the title?
Here are the odds to win the NBA title at Sportsbook.com. as of March 23/2011.
Dallas Mavericks at Miami Heat Odds 6-12
The Mavs are up 3-2 in this series heading to South Beach and for the Heat to force Game 7 they will have to play better in the 4th quarter, especially LeBron James. 5Dimes has the hometown Heat as 5-point favorites in Game 6 with a total of 187.
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©Bettors Place 2002