UFC 253 comes packed with fireworks from both inside the octagon and the betting lines as middleweight king Israel Adesanya settles his grudge with the unbeaten destroyer, Paulo Costa. Both fighters are explosive strikers and with ill will all but guaranteeing heated exchanges. Co-headlining are red-hot fighters Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz facing off for the vacant light heavyweight title. Let’s break down these fights and see which bets we can cash.
Odds to win the 2019 NBA Championship 2019
The NBA is unique in this one aspect; even with approximately five months left in regular season we can know who the best teams are in league today, and still be right in the spring and summer when the NBA playoffs begin.
Take for example the last 4 NBA seasons where it was as clear as day that the Golden State Warriors were the best team in West and Lebron James still had no equal in the East. Every season before it started one could have comfortably bet on that exact finals matchup at the given odds and no one could have blamed them. It was the safest bet.
Now along the way the Warriors and the Cavaliers needed a few breaks, but after 4 straight seasons of winning their conferences let’s just throw luck out the window and admit that Basketball is a sport where the favorites and superstars usually cash.
So with that being said let’s ask ourselves if we are betting on any team to win the title other than the Golden State Warriors, are we overthinking it?
For the purposes of this article we will be using the NBA Title Odds provided by BODOG as of 12/17/2018.
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I’m fully aware that nothing about the Warriors is great at the moment. They are aging and do not have tremendous depth, Steph Curry is always going to be an injury risk, and there is potential for the poisonous relationships in that locker to disrupt the overall goals of this team.
But at -155 to win the NBA Championship you’re basically laying 3/2 that no team can beat them 4 out of 7 times. And no one, at least in the Western Conference, looks like they can do that. Well I shouldn’t say no one…
I’ve watched a lot of the recent games between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors, and its quite alarming how well they match up. In the entire association there may not be a better defender to play Kevin Durant than Paul George. And in terms of the backcourt, Russell Westbrook is the clear alpha dog over Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in the sense that he imposes his style of game better than the splash brothers do, at least in the last year or so of this rivalry.
What’s also interesting about the Thunder is that they are the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA, which nullifies the Golden State Warriors strength and desire to run and create lots of open shots in transition, because in order to do that you need to rebound the ball first. This is another way in which the Thunder have been imposing the style they want to play in recent history.
At +1100 to win the West and +2100 to win the Title, I think this could be the one team in the West that shocks the Dubs, BUT can they make it to face the Warriors without getting knocked off by say the Rockets or Nuggets first, teams that they don’t match up as well against?
The Kawhi-et favorite
The Toronto Raptors are favored at +185 to win the Eastern Conference have the second best odds to win the NBA Title at +700.
And rightfully so…
The Raptors are deep, they are versatile, they can play big or small, and as shown, they can sustain an injury to a key player and still play high level basketball. Now what has always been missing from this team is that certain IT Factor. In the NBA this always translates to having a superstar player who you can rely on down the strecth of big playoff games who won’t dim under the lights.
The acquisition of Kawhi Leonard this offseason gave them a former NBA Finals MVP on their roster meaning and even though everyone on this team can be called upon in clutch situations, just having Leonard emboldens the whole roster because he’s been to the promise land before.
This team has already defeated Golden State twice this season and provide a lot of stylistic problems for them being a top 5 offensive team and a top 10 defensive team.
I ask myself this – If this season was played seven times would the Raptors win the title at least once. The answer is a resounding YES!
Freak in the East
To make to the NBA Finals presumably the Raptors would need to go through 2 teams out of the Celtics, Pacers, Bucks and 76ers.
Of these four the one team that I think poses the biggest problem for the Raptors, and eventually the Warriors is the Milwaukee Bucks. The team they’ve tried to create around Giannis Antetokounmpo is one that compliments him in the sense that they have incredible team length and play fast. They’ve turned into a really good defensive unit, are the best rebounding team in basketball, and make more 3 pointers per game than anyone in the NBA.
However in terms of 3 point shooting percentage they are middle of the pack meaning there’s still a harmony that needs to be found perhaps by tweaking the gameplan, if they intend to get the most out of their talent.
But in the playoffs when defense over a short period will matter more than shooting over a long period, at +450 to win the East, and +1900 to win the title, the Bucks are an interesting proposition.
You can follow me on twitter @zahir_gilani
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