The Golden State Warriors just beat Houston to extend their winning run to 10 games and they are now all but guaranteed the top seed berth in the Western Conference. A couple of weeks ago the Warriors were in real danger following Kevin Durrant’s injury sparked a bad slump in form. They have bounced back in style and are now 4/5 favourites with Betway to win the NBA Championship.
There are just six or seven games to go before the end of the regular season now, and the playoff picture is becoming a lot clearer, with several teams having already punched their postseason tickets. Yet a few teams’ chances of making the playoffs are teetering on a knife edge, so there are lots of big games still to bet on.
There are no longer any lines on the division winners as they have been pretty much sewn up by Golden State, San Antonio, Utah, Cleveland, Boston and Washington. Futures betting now hinges on who will win each conference and the Championship. In the west, Golden State has hit form at just the right time. When Durrant returns they will be even stronger and look destined for a third consecutive Finals appearance, despite the threat of San Antonio and Houston. Paddy Power has 4/9 on Golden State. Whether it will meet Cleveland for a third year running is another matter entirely.
The Cavs have led the way in the east for most of the season, but have ceded the lead to the Celtics in the past week. If Boston can hold on and claim the top seed spot, they can really be a threat in the playoffs and look a good option in the east at 6/1 with William Hill and Ladbrokes, while Washington is an interesting outsider at 10/1 with Bet Victor.
There is also the small matter of who will be named regular season MVP. James Harden is leading the way but it is still very close between him and Russell Westbrook, who have been the best two offensive players in the league by some distance this season. One thing worth noting is that while most bookmakers will only go to 1/2 on Harden, William Hill is offering 4/5, so that is a generous set of odds as he is expected to just about pip Westbrook to the honour, as his Rockets have been better than Westbrook’s Thunder this season and he has been breaking all sorts of records.
In the east three teams – the Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers – have an identical record but only two can go to the playoffs. Their games should prove interesting in the week ahead. Chicago is on a three-game winning streak and should beat the Knicks ( who are 3-7 in their last 10) on Wednesday and cover a reasonable spread, but the Pacers are likely to lose to the Raptors. On Thursday, Miami faces a tough game against the Hornets and Charlotte looks a good bet.