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NBA Betting odds: The Golden State Warriors are the defending NBA champions, but even with the core of their team returning, they won’t be the favorites to repeat in 2015-16. Instead, the team to beat is the Cleveland Cavaliers, which boasts superstar LeBron James. Those two teams faced off in the NBA Finals a year ago, but James had to play without point guard Kyrie Irving and forward Kevin Love due to injury, and the Warriors prevailed. Cleveland is listed at +250 to win the NBA title now that Irving and Love are back in the fold with their health.
The Warriors return their star the backcourt, with the reigning MVP Stephen Curry expected to lead the way once again and Klay Thompson’s long-range shooting next to him. Golden State is listed at +436 to repeat as champion. The Warriors have a over-under regular season win total two victories higher than Cleveland at 59½. The reason they don’t have as good of odds to win the championship is because they play in the Western Conference.
The Warriors must hold off a pack of impressive teams. The team with the best odds to win the title in the West is the San Antonio Spurs, listed at +400. San Antonio may only have a year or two left with its core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, but the offseason addition of LaMarcus Aldridge is a potential game-changer as they aim for at least one more title with this group. The Houston Rockets return James Harden and Dwight Howard as they aim for most playoff success, while the Los Angeles Clippers should also once again be in the postseason mix. The Oklahoma City Thunder was besieged by injuries last year, but a healthy Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook should put them immediately back in the mix. The Thunder is listed at +699 to win the NBA title.
The Cavaliers don’t have a ton of competition in the Eastern Conference. The Chicago Bulls could give them the biggest test, with Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Co. a talented group. If Rose ever returns to his prior MVP form it would put Chicago right there with Cleveland, but he has been injury prone throughout his career and several knee injuries have taken their toll on his explosiveness. The Atlanta Hawks surprised many a year ago and could also be in the mix, while the Miami Heat will aim for a top seed in its second year since James left to return to the Cavaliers.
It took Cleveland a while to jell last season but James helped lead the Cavs to the finals. The Warriors were too much, as their combination of an elite point guard in Curry and a deep and talented roster proved too much for LeBron to overcome. If he has more help this season, the Cavs are clear favorites to return to the finals. The Warriors will be talented again but it’s a tough road with the Thunder, Spurs, Rockets, Clippers and others trying to knock them off.
It should be a very entertaining season, with a defending champion with only the third-best title odds and LeBron James gunning for another title with a healthy supporting cast once again in NBA betting.
Eastern Conference - Atlantic
Eastern Conference - Central
Eastern Conference - Southeast
Western Conference - Northwest
Western Conference - Pacific
Western Conference - Southwest