2015-16 NBA Championship Futures

The 2015-16 NBA season gets underway with a slate of three games tonight and another 14 games on Wednesday. Throughout the offseason, we highlighted a number of interesting betting opportunities including Win Totals, Divisional Odds, MVP Odds, Defensive Player of the Year Odds and Rookie of the Year odds.

Before the season officially tips off, we wanted to analyze how the championship odds have changed based on public betting and changes to player personnel. The table below displays how the odds have moved at the market-setting 5Dimes sportsbook. We will continue to update this table throughout the season.

Team 5Dimes (4/15) 5Dimes (10/27) 5Dimes (9/30) 5Dimes (6/17)
Golden State Warriors -150 +480 +475 +600
San Antonio Spurs +403 +500 +400 +1500
Cleveland Cavaliers +505 +280 +240 +250
Oklahoma City Thunder +2050 +750 +800 +800
Toronto Raptors +3500 +6600 +5300 +5000
Los Angeles Clippers +4100 +1200 +1000 +1200
Boston Celtics +8000 +15500 +12500 +8000
Miami Heat +8000 +4000 +4300 +4000
Atlanta Hawks +10000 +3600 +3500 +3000
Charlotte Hornets +15000 +35000 +35000 +30000
Indiana Pacers +21500 +9000 +6200 +4000
Portland Blazers +27500 +30000 +20000 +5000
Detroit Pistons +27500 +25000 +20000 +10000
Houston Rockets +40000 +1500 +1800 +2500
Dallas Mavericks +50000 +12000 +7000 +4000
Memphis Grizzlies +100000 +3300 +3100 +4000
Chicago Bulls N/A +1600 +1900 +1500
Milwaukee Bucks N/A +6800 +6400 +10000
Los Angeles Lakers N/A +20000 +15000 +7500
New Orleans Pelicans N/A +3300 +4000 +3000
New York Knicks N/A +25000 +17500 +10000
Utah Jazz N/A +15000 +15000 +10000
Philadelphia 76ers N/A +100000 +40000 +30000
Phoenix Suns N/A +30000 +12500 +10000
Denver Nuggets N/A +30000 +25000 +10000
Brooklyn Nets N/A +30000 +25000 +15000
Minnesota T-Wolves N/A +30000 +35000 +30000
Washington Wizards N/A +5500 +4100 +4000
Orlando Magic N/A +50000 +35000 +30000
Sacramento Kings N/A +30000 +20000 +10000

Perhaps no team has seen their title changes dwindle more than the Trail Blazers. Not only did Portland lose star player LaMarcus Aldridge, but they actually lost three additional members of their starting lineup: Nicolas Batum, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez. That leaves Damian Lillard as the lone returning starter and has caused Portland’s futures to drop from +5,000 to +20,000 to +30,000.

On the flip side, the Spurs had arguably the best season of any NBA franchise. They were able to convince Tim Duncan to return for a 19th season, re-sign Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, and acquire the aforementioned Aldridge via free agency. San Antonio was listed at +1500 to win the title back in June, but these acquisitions caused the odds to +400 before dropping back to +500 — the 3rd shortest odds.

We should also point out that even though Cleveland has the best odds of winning the championship, that doesn’t necessarily mean that oddsmakers believe they are the best team. It’s widely known that the Western Conference is far superior to the Eastern Conference, which gives Cleveland a much easier path to the Finals. In fact, the Cavs are listed at -230 to win their conference.

Looking for more proof that the Western Conference reigns supreme? Five of the top six best title odds (Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, Clippers and Rockets) belong to Western Conference teams. On the flip side, the three worst title odds (76ers, Magic, Hornets) belong to Eastern Conference teams.

The Houston Rockets, who were able to maintain their core and add a borderline star player in Ty Lawson, have steadily improved from +2500 to +1800 to +1500. Houston has a number of valuable trade assets which could potentially be used to acquire another quality player (Carmelo Anthony if you’re thinking big, Markieff Morris or Kenneth Faried if you’re being more realistic).


4/15/16 Update

With the playoffs set to begin tomorrow afternoon, we wanted to see how these futures had changed at 5Dimes since the start of the season.

After posting the best regular season in league history, It’s no surprise to see that the Warriors (-150) are listed as the clear front-runner. In fact, bettors can take the field (i.e. any team other than Golden State) to win the title at +120. We love buying on bad news and selling on good, so this could be the perfect opportunity to sell high on the Warriors and lock in the field at +120.

It’s also interesting to note that the Cavs are listed at -255 to win the Eastern Conference while the Warriors are listed at -195 to win the Western Conference. Golden State may have the superior team, but Cleveland still has the easiest path to the finals.

One potential sleeper could be the Los Angeles Clippers who seem slightly underpriced at +4100. The Clippers have consistently given the Warriors tough games, and Blake Griffin appears to be shaking off the rust after missing more than half of the season.

There are legitimate concerns about their depth, but a small ball lineup of Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Jeff Green and Blake Griffin could be very effective. It’s also worth noting that the Clippers were just 12/1 before the start of the season, indicating that it could be a good time to buy low.

Which teams do you think are offering value this season? Are people overlooking the Warriors and, more importantly, will they be able to repeat? Can LeBron James finally bring a championship to Cleveland? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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