Will any team in the Western Conference stop the Golden State Warriors (67-15) from reaching the NBA Finals for the third year in a row?
That’s the big question bettors are pondering heading into the 2017 NBA playoffs, with the Warriors listed as strong -250 favorites (bet $250 to win $100) to be the best in the West again at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com as the top seed with home-court advantage throughout.
Golden State was the top home team in the league as well at 36-5 straight up and 21-17-3 against the spread. Led by Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, the Warriors were also the highest-scoring team during the regular season, averaging 115.9 points per game.
That is a full point better than last year’s record-setting campaign when they finished with the best record in NBA history at 73-9, with the addition of Durant certainly making a difference. Golden State is also the -160 favorite on the odds to win the NBA title.
However, the third-seeded Houston Rockets (55-27) nearly matched Golden State offensively with 115.3 points per game under first-year head coach Mike D’Antoni. The Rockets saw James Harden successfully transition to point guard and post the best numbers of his career with averages of 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds.
Only Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35) was better, averaging a triple-double of 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game.
NBA fans will be treated to a first-round playoff matchup between No. 3 seed Houston and No. 6 Oklahoma City, with Harden and Westbrook both out to prove they deserve MVP honors. The Rockets are the +750 third choice (bet $100 to win $750) to advance out of the West, and they have covered the spread in five of the past six meetings with the Thunder (+4000), who also have a six-game road skid in the series.
The second choice to win the West is the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs (61-21), who could meet Houston in the second round. The Spurs have a legit MVP candidate in Kawhi Leonard, although he has no chance this year. San Antonio is +300 to make it to the NBA Finals and did win two of three meetings versus Golden State this season.
The rest of the West is full of longshots, with the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers (51-31) the best of the bunch at +2500. The Clippers first take on the fifth-seeded Utah Jazz (51-31), who have won only two of the past 20 meetings according to the OddsShark NBA Database.
Utah is +3300 to win the West followed by Oklahoma City, with the seventh-seeded Memphis Grizzlies (43-39) and the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers (41-41) at +6600 and +10000, respectively.