The 2018-2019 NBA season keeps inching closer and closer to tip-off. We have less than a month before all of our favorite stars hit the hardwood. The question looms: beyond Golden State, who are the top contenders this year?
We are going to look at the top four teams according to the implied probability provided by sports betting outlets.
Top 4 Contenders Based on Odds to Win NBA Title
- Golden State Warriors
- Boston Celtics
- Houston Rockets
- Los Angeles Lakers
You might be thinking, ‘the Lakers … a top contender…Really?’ And you would be right to question that. The Lakers are considered the 4th most probable team in the NBA to win it all this upcoming season. They have even been projected at a 50-win season. NBA player evaluation metrics tells, and he makes any team LBJ is on better. But are the Lakers going to be able to make all of that young talent mixed with veteran leadership mesh quickly enough to put together a championship run right out of the gate? Well, given the level of competition in the Western Conference, it’s doubtful.
The Lakers have a lot of talent, and now they have some serious depth by adding Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, and JaVale McGee into the mix. One thing that will be really interesting is to see how two great strategic minds work together on the court. Rondo and James together could turn out to be a scary duo for opponents. And with the fall of the Clippers and what could be a drastically diminished San Antonio Spurs team, it would be easy to say that the Lakers have a legitimate shot…But they still have to get past the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors.
For all of those who are living under a rock, the Warriors recently acquired DeMarcus Cousins for a cool 5.3 million dollars. 192 NBA players made more than one of the league’s premier big men is going to make this season. Of course, he wants a ring. And values being a part of that elite club more than money. So, as scary as the Lakers are with all of their new additions, the Warriors called and then raised by adding Cousins to the pot. If the Warriors remain healthy, they could be unstoppable for another year.
With all of the shake-up going on in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets didn’t want to be left out on the dramatic action. Many of us thought that the Rockets organization would try to keep last season’s unit as intact as possible. The Rockets were a tour de force up until injury slowed them down in the playoffs. But they went and moved the pieces around quite a bit and even helped the Thunder get out of their Carmelo Anthony mess. Which brings us to the next conversation topic: how will Mello fit in over in Houston? Will he mesh with Harden and CP3 and create a team that can compete with the Warriors… or will he be cancer of sorts?
Over to the Eastern Conference, the Celtics are second in line on the odds-boards to win the NBA Title at +600 (6/1). With Gordon Hayward back from his devastating injury, Kyrie Irving healthy, Al Horford back for another year, and the young talent of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics look poised to dominate out east. The 76ers and Raptors are right behind the Lakers in 5th and 6th most probable to win it all, so it isn’t a completely Left Coast affair in 2018-2019, and the Celtics won’t have an easy road through the playoffs, especially given their bench. The bottom line is Kyrie and Gordon have to stay healthy.