In a year that the Warriors opened as such prohibitive favorites to win the Title that there were only 7 total teams with odds under 10000, the Toronto Raptors and Kawhi Leonard shocked everyone to win the NBA Championship. They opened the season at +1850.
All of the offseason player movement has dramatically leveled the playing field, at least according to Vegas. The number of teams with odds under +10000 moves from 7 to 17. By far the most open field we have seen in the NBA in recent years.
Before we jump into the odds, our picks, and our favorite bets, we wanted to poll our readers to see who they like to win the Title and who their favorite longshot team is for 2019. Take the poll and then read on!
Hello Rookie NBA Insight
Our Pick to Win the West
Let me preface this by saying our pick and our favorite bet are two completely separate things. My favorite bet to win the West is the Golden State Warriors at +1000. Give me Kerr, Curry, Draymond, and a much deeper supporting cast at +1000 all day long. The frontcourt with an experienced Looney and the addition of Cauley-Stein is much improved heading into the 2019 season. They will get Klay back sometime before the playoffs and will be a tough out in their new building.
If you are looking for even better odds, I absolutely love the Trail Blazers at +3300. Stotts had this team, with a steaming hot pile of garbage of a roster, in the Western Conference Finals last season. They get back Nurkic later this year, add Hassan Whiteside, will get a full year out of Rodney Hood, and sign Kent Bazemore. Stotts is going to be scary with a full arsenal of weapons.
As far as our pick to win the West, you simply have to go with the Clippers. Not only do they sign two superstars, but they sign two superstars that play hard and play defense.
The Clippers are arguably the best defensive team in basketball and have ridiculous offensive weapons in Williams (20 PPG), Leonard (27 PPG), George (28 PPG), and Harrell (27 PPG).
Combine that with the way Beverly played in the playoffs, Shamet who shot 45% from 3 for the Clippers last season, and Zubac who averaged 10/8/2/1 after the trade from the Lakers, and this team looks like an absolute Juggernaut.
Our Pick to Win the East
Let’s start out again with my favorite bet to win the East, and move on to our actual pick. The East simply does not have the depth that you see in the West. I think there are really only 4 or 5 teams with any legitimate hope of winning the East. For me, that group includes the Bucks, 76ers, Celtics, Raptors, and Pacers.
Of the group, I think you could make the argument that the Pacers added the most this offseason. They will get Oladipo back soon and added 50+ PPG between Brogdon, Warren, and Lamb.
For me, however, it is what the Celtics were able to do this offseason that makes them my favorite bet. To me, Irving moving to the Nets, and Rozier to the Hornets was addition by subtraction for Boston. Speaking of the Hornets, the Celtics replaced Irving with Kemba Walker, who is playing the best basketball of his career (26/6/4).
While most see the loss of Horford as a negative, I think his defense was completely overrated last season. The Hawks were dreadful against opposing centers with Horford there, and it was easily the softest part of the Celtics team defense during Horford’s time in Boston. The move should allow even more minutes for Hayward (another year removed from his injury) as well as Tatum and Brown, both guys that look ready to become stars.
The Celtics also added some serious weapons in the draft between Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford, and Grant Williams.
So we like the Celtics and Pacers, but who is actually going to win the East. Sorry to disappoint, but it will likely be the Bucks. Giannis is the best player in the world and he plays in the lesser of the two conferences. He absolutely dominates the East and will take that dominance to another level in 2019.
Beyond Giannis, Khris Middleton is the perfect complimentary piece to a guy like Giannis. He hits open shots, moves without the ball, rebounds, defends, and never complains about his role.
Pat Connaughton and George Hill both proved down the stretch last season that they deserve larger roles moving forward, and moving Brogdon will not only allow for that but will take some minutes pressure off from Eric Bledsoe as well this year.
While I love Ben Simmons and think Embiid could threaten for the MVP if he stays healthy, I just am not buying that the big man can make it through a full NBA season. He has only averaged 52 games per season in the NBA and managed to play in only 20 for Kansas in college. An Embiid injury takes Philly out of the Eastern Conference discussion.
Our Pick to Win the 2019-2020 NBA Title
We think the NBA Title returns to the Western Conference this season, and are rolling with the LA Clippers as our pick to win it all in 2019-2020.
It isn’t just adding to superstars, it is adding the right two superstars to the right team. Guys like Lou Williams, Patrick Beverly, and Montrezl Harrell are used to playing secondary roles and will fit perfectly alongside Leonard and George.
My favorite preseason bet to win the 2019 NBA Championship is the Boston Celtics. They aren’t that far behind the Bucks, in fact, I think you can argue that Kemba/Brown/Tatum/Hayward/Edwards/Smart/Langford is the best 2 deep perimeter in basketball. Combine that with the Brad Stevens effect (now that locker room issues appear resolved) and I think the Celtics are a sleeping giant right now.
Current NBA Title Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+300|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+350|
|Golden State Warriors||+1000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+3300|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+6000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+6000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+15000|
|New York Knicks||+25000|