NBA 2018 Conference Futures and Early Odds

Now that the Super Bowl is over, and baseball is about to begin training camp, basketball rules the sporting landscape. With the first half of the NBA season almost over, it’s time to take a look at the teams with the best odds to win their respective conferences.

Western Conference Futures

The Western Conference is expected to be a two-team race between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, but there are a few teams capable of making it out of the conference.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors currently have the best record in the NBA and as defending champions, they are considered the favorites to win the west again with -278 odds.

The Warriors have the most talent in the NBA with four All-Stars on their team, but they have looked beatable at times this season and lost their regular season series against the Rockets, who are confident about their chances of toppling Golden State this year.

If there’s something to learn from what happened in the Super Bowl, it’s that giants will eventually fall. Even if the champions are made very differently in the NBA, the Warriors would best not underestimate the underdog.

Even if it’s evident that Curry, Durant, and Co. are playing at the top of their game and are hungry for their second championship in three years, things could quickly on a still long road to victory.

Houston Rockets

The Rockets at full strength have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season as they have been able to not only keep up with the Warriors in the standings, they have also been able to defeat them in Oakland and in Houston.

The Rockets are on the rise which is something you should pay attention to. After losing for five straight games in the last weeks of December, and despite a host of player injuries, Houston now is a team that’s hitting its stride.

Since Harden’s return from an injury suffered on New Year’s Eve, the Rockets have gone on to defeat the Warriors, Spurs, Timberwolves, and Cavaliers. During that stretch, Houston had the best net rating in the NBA at +11.1.

Speaking of Harden, the man is on fire since returning from injury. It only took him about a game or two to get back to MVP level form. Over five recent games, Harden has averaged 30.8 points, 10 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be fair to leave out Harden’s incredible 60-point triple-double, a feat that was even more impressive due to the absence of Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza, and Eric Gordon.

The Rockets odds to win the West are currently at +550, which is a very good value considering their success against the Warriors this year.

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are the forgotten team in the West; San Antonio suffered a big setback because of the slew of injuries that have kept Kawhi Leonard off of the court for extended periods of time.

This has sparked a rumor mill ahead of the NBA trade deadline that includes the possibility of seeing LeBron James in a Spurs uniform. It’s very unlikely that this will happen, but there might be a possibility of seeing Anthony Davis or Willy Hernangomez.

The Spurs aren’t a team with much history at the NBA Trade Deadline. It’s a rare occasion they make a trade at this time in the NBA season; rather, they’ve often stuck with rosters that moved on to the playoffs and won one of five championships.

However, with the opportunity of catching the Rockets at No. 2 or even the Warriors at No. 1, there might be reason enough to see some new blood coming in. We’ll have to wait and see.

Even with Leonard out, the Spurs have played well, and are expected to be much better when Leonard returns to the lineup. Their odds to win the conference is currently +600.

Eastern Conference Futures

Unlike the West, the Eastern Conference is a little less predictable, with Cleveland struggling and other teams trying to overtake them in the standings. Here’s a look at the best odds in the East.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The fact that they have won three straight Eastern Conference championships is the only reason the Cavaliers still have the best odds to win the conference title this year at +182.

Cleveland hasn’t played very well this year and find themselves tied for third in the East about to be overtaken by the Washington Wizards.

The Cavaliers defense has been very bad this season and the team hasn’t looked like the same team from the past two seasons despite the additions of veterans like Derrick Rose.

Cleveland is in a tailspin at the moment; since Christmas Day, the Cavaliers are 6-13 and have racked up head-scratching losses even after leading by double digits.

It’s also fair to say that things aren’t peachy with LeBron at the moment and this, arguably, could be bleeding into how the team is performing.

Whatever the beef is between team management and James, what’s clear is if they want to turn things around they have their work cut out for them before the trade deadline.

If they can’t keep James from bolting and making someplace else his home, this team will likely crumble to pieces soon.

Boston Celtics

Interestingly, the Celtics have the best record in the conference but have the second-best odds to win the East at +260.

Boston is probably the best value bet here because they have been great on both sides of the ball despite the injuries they have dealt with this year. If Kyrie Irving continues playing as well as he has this season, the Celtics will be tough to beat in the playoffs.

After losing Gordon Hayward early in the season, nobody had much faith in what they could accomplish this year. But, the Celtics have weathered the storm well and seem to get better despite the absence of their star players.

Though Boston most recently lost to the Raptors, Kyrie Irving returned to the court and soon Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart should be back. The Celtics will also be shoring up with the addition of big man Greg Monroe.

Washington Wizards

The Wizards have the third best odds to win the Eastern Conference at +1200, despite the Toronto Raptors owning the second-best record in the East.

The Wizards have been playing well recently, but they likely won’t be able to sustain their current pace without the injured John Wall, who is expected to miss some time with his latest injury.

Washington is a team that usually gets busy during the NBA trade deadline, so you should expect to see some new players coming in. 

 
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