We are finally entering the final stretch of the regular season now that the All-Star break is behind us and the playoffs are already less than two months away. In this final push, the teams making the list as title contenders this campaign is only narrowing down to those who truly have a chance at lifting the NBA trophy.
Based on the latest betting odds, we decided to provide a bit more depth on the subject and analyze the ten favorites to go on all the way to the Finals. Of course, there are obvious candidates as the Celtics have been on the top of the league throughout almost the entire campaign, but sometimes this can also punish a team with a certain pressure that can be counterproductive.
As we will only explore over the top 10 squad’s current chances, franchises like the Cleveland Cavaliers (+3300), Miami Heat (+6000), and the New Orleans Pelicans (+7500) will just have to settle for being honorable mentions on this list.
According to BetOnline, these are the current ten NBA teams with the highest probabilities of earning the crown this next month of May:
10. Los Angeles Lakers (+2200)
Even though they stand 12th in the West with a 29-32 record, you can never really rule out the Lakers. The Los Angeles team is not only one of the biggest franchises in NBA history, they are tied with Boston for the most NBA with 17 trophies apiece. During the last transfer window they produced some srategic chess moves that now feel like the purple and yellow squad is fresher than ever.
The Lakers have won 4 out of their 6 contests since the trade deadline and seem to playing better than ever, just as ESPN’s Stephen A Smith concurs.
9. Dallas Mavericks (+2000)
Personally, it seems like the Mavericks are losing their title prospects daily, especially after the Luka Doncic-Kyrie Irving pairing has been less than impressive. Of course the expectation is on, just as well as the patience is . However, how patient can you be when you are a month and a half away from the playoffs? It’s now or never for the Dallas side, who’s registered a 2-5 record ever since the former Nets superstar arrived in Texas.
No team in NBA history has won a championship with a bad defense, bad depth, and a bad coach. The Mavericks are not title contenders.
— Kevin O’Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) February 26, 2023
The Mavs rank 7th in the West with 32 victories to their name in 63 matches so far.
8. Memphis Grizzlies (+1800)
After their impressive run for 11 consecutives wins right at the beginning of 2023, the Grizzlies haven’t quite been the same. Ever since their streak ended on January 18th, they’ve lost 10 games out of their last 15. So yeah, you could say that Memphis has been driving with a flat tire. Nevertheless, they started out strong this campaign, and enough to maintain their position as the West’s second best team in the standings (36-23)
Our biggest concern is how under ambitious they played their cards during the last transfer window, only trading in for Luke Kennard, a shooting guard who’s shooting has dropped significantly. Will they depend on Ja Morant until the end?
7. Philadelphia 76ers (+1200)
The first Eastern Conference squad on our recount. You could say Philly should be higher up this list if it wasn’t for the East’s two top teams leading the general standings in the NBA. Without a doubt, the Joel Embiid- James Harden duo has been one of the most lethal combinations of the campaign, and even better, they remain this way. That’s just good chemistry, and being as it is maturing more and more, it will be a very dangerous weapon once they get to the playoffs.
The Sixers rank 3rd in their conference, registering a 31-21 track so far this season.
6. Los Angeles Clippers (+1200)
Ever since the Clippers signed veteran star Russell Westbrook from their city rivals, the NBA fanbase has been divided into two very opposite opinions about their status of title-contenders. While many believe this trade in is a perfect match with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, other believe Westbrook just jynxed their chances of becoming the chances. How does an NBA great like Westbrook become a curse for any franchise in the league? Well, for a player that’s never won the tournament and has bounced from 5 different squads in six years, you can kind of get the point, right?
The Clippers have automatically been eliminated as a title contender with the signing of Russell Westbrook.
— Lake Show Empire (@LakeShowEmpire) February 20, 2023
The LA side ranks 6th in the West with 33 victories in 64 matches this season.
5. Golden State Warriors (+1200)
You could say they are this high up the list because of prestige. As the reigning champions, Golden State always has an opportunity, becoming NBA champions simply becomes part of your DNA, you learn how to win the hard games, and that’s why they have a big chance of making it if they are able to qualify to the post-season. However, based on their performances so far, it’s hard to consider them championship-worthy.
Maybe if superstar Stephen Curry returns back from injury soon, they might find their inspiration from their true captain. Whenever Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Curry are healthy and together on court, they must be feared. The Warriors stand 5th in the Western Conference with a 32-30 track.
4. Denver Nuggets (+750)
We are talking about the best team in the West, and the third strongest of the whole league. The Nuggets are definite title-contenders this season and have a squad strong enough to endure the hardships of the playoffs. Not only have Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic already played together and well during important post-season contests, everyone in the team thrives when The Joker is leading on court. Maybe Denver’s defense is in question, but may the Serbian be healthy, they have a chance.
Some fans doubt if the big man can really demonstrate his dominancy in the big stage. Do you think the frontrunner for a third-consecutive MVP of the season will struggle in post-season?
3. Milwaukee Bucks (+525)
Probably my favorite pick for this campaign’s title holder. Not only because they are finally at the top of the league for the first time in the season’s rankings, but also because they’ve been the steadiest and deadliest team with or without their star Giannis Antetokounmpo. I mean, of course they need the Greek Freak to build a true case for the championship, but they’ve been able to hold their standards even when he’s been out.
It’s also about momentum, and for how long are you able to maintain the inspiration and keep pushing the limits. This Tuesday Milwaukee entered on a 14-game win streak, will they be stopped?
2. Phoenix Suns (+450)
One of the most amazing twists of the tournament was delivered by the Suns before the trade deadline. As soon as the blockbuster trade for Kevin Durant hit the news, the sport betting sites went nuts, projecting the Phoenix side as the second team in the whole NBA with best chances to win the title. Two weeks have passed since KD arrived in Arizona, he hasn’t played a single second yet, but his new squad is still holding tight to the second best odds in the NBA.
They have a lot of things going for them, their franchise has a strong fanbase, they have one now the best offense in the West, and they weren’t playing too bad being led by Chris Paul and Devin Booker.
The Suns stand 4th in the West with a 33-29 record so far this season.
1. Boston Celtics (+290)
Well, let’s state the obvious! Of course Boston is the first on the list, as they’ve been the first of almost every NBA list throughout the championship. For example, they are the only squad in the top 5 in both defensive and offensive ratings.
Also, the chemistry between Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown is scary this season, and almost reminds us of the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen winning formula, with Marcus Smart playing the Dennis Rodman role.
There’s still much left to see, but it definetly wouldn’t come as a surprise to see the Celtics reach the Finals again this year.