NBA Title Odds: Warriors Remain Favorites Despite Kevin Durant's Injury
The Golden State Warriors are expected to be without superstar Kevin Durant for at least a month, but with a deep roster of playoff-proven veterans they remain the favorite on the odds to win the NBA title at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Durant suffered a sprained MCL and bone bruise in the team's 112-108 upset loss to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night, putting the rest of his regular season in doubt. The sportsbooks, though, have the Warriors still sitting as around -150 favorites (bet $150 to win $100) on the NBA title futures.
The Warriors bolstered their roster tremendously with the addition of free agent Durant in the offseason, and did not feel the need to make any additional moves prior to the NBA trade deadline last week because they already owned the league’s best record. With Durant now on the shelf the Warriors will reportedly sign Matt Barnes for the rest of the season as a stop-gap replacement.
Golden State was not the only team that didn't make any moves prior to the deadline, with other top contenders such as the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers (+300 on the NBA championship odds), San Antonio Spurs (+700) and Boston Celtics (+1600) also declining to bring in any players via trade prior to the deadline at the risk of disrupting team chemistry.
However, the Cavaliers did get a bit of a boost on Monday when veteran point guard Deron Williams decided to sign with them as a free agent after he was waived by the Dallas Mavericks, who are clearly rebuilding for the future.
Williams fills Cleveland’s void as a valuable backup to starter Kyrie Irving, as both have been injury-prone throughout their respective careers. The Cavs remain the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
The Mavericks (+50000) were one of the few teams to make a noteworthy deal before the trade deadline, acquiring 2013 lottery pick Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers for Andrew Bogut, Justin Anderson and a protected first-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Noel did not fit into Philly’s plans with the emergence of Joel Embiid, who the team selected third overall in 2014. The Mavs are hoping to squeeze another good year out of future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki, as he is signed through the 2017-18 season.
The Houston Rockets (+1400) are definitely a team to watch in the West after they picked up top reserve guard Lou Williams (career-high 18.9 points per game) from the Los Angeles Lakers to bolster their bench.
The Oklahoma City Thunder (+10000) added some quality depth as well after trading for forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from the Chicago Bulls to help out triple-double machine Russell Westbrook.
And the biggest trade happened right after the All-Star Game and involved the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans, with big man DeMarcus Cousins going from the former to the latter. While odds for the Pelicans (+20000) have changed significantly, New Orleans is still four games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West and remains a longshot to make the postseason this year.