2017 NBA Playoffs: Conference Championship Favorites

With the NBA Playoffs underway we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the odds to win the respective conference championships. The Cavaliers and Warriors went into these playoffs as the favorites for those crowns and not much has changed in that regard yet. However, what has seen major changes is the teams below them especially in the Eastern Conference.

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The East now looks like the Cavs and then everyone else. Just like it has looked over the past few seasons. The big loser here is the Boston Celtics who find themselves down 0-2 to the eighth seeded Chicago Bulls. This is just a terrible match-up for Boston as the reinvigorated Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler have done an amazing job defending the Celtics and have really shut down Isaiah Thomas. The Celtics rebounding issues have really come back to bite them in this series. It’ll be really interesting to see if they are able to come back in this series. I don’t love their chances.

Toronto hasn’t looked very encouraging against the Bucks and it is in no way guaranteed that they win that series. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been amazing and this series could easily be 2-0 if a few plays went the opposite way. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have been themselves and Serge Ibaka has carried them at times, but I am overall not convinced that this team has what it takes to challenge Cleveland.

All of this benefits the Wizards the most and I have them as my best non-Cavs play on the board. They will skip the Celtics who gave them trouble and go straight on to face the 8th seeded Bulls. Unlike the Celts, I think they match-up perfectly with the Bulls. John Wall can run circles around Rondo, Bradley Beal can make Dwyane Wade look old and Otto Porter will be a great match-up for Butler on both ends. I had the Wizards in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavs before this series and I feel 100% more confident in that pick if they are going against Chicago in round two.

Cleveland Cavaliers  -270
Boston Celtics  +1025
Toronto Raptors  +1025
Washington Wizards  +1025
Chicago Bulls  +2500
Milwaukee Bucks  +3500
Atlanta Hawks  +5250
Indiana Pacers  +9250

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In the West, not much has changed asthere haven’t been a lot of upsets or any scares so far. The team taking the biggest hit thus far has probably been the Oklahoma City Thunder as the Rockets had them scouted well in the first game and dominated them. They neutralized Russell Westbrook and it looks like they will cruise to the next round.

The Spurs should also cruise and we should be seeing a fun match-up between the Spurs and Rockets in the second round. The James HardenKawhi Leonard match-up will get all the hype, but I am more interested in this one from a style standpoint. Mike D’Antoni teams have always had trouble with Gregg Poppovich teams (the same as every other team, basically) and it’ll be interesting to see how this one goes. This Rockets team feels better than any of the old Suns teams while the Spurs feel old. That will be a great one.

The favorite is the Warriors and why not? They saw the best possible game from Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and still won big. Kevin Durant looked great, Draymond Green looked like a defensive savant and Stephen Curry is still amazing. This team is going to the Finals.

Golden State Warriors  -275
San Antonio Spurs  +395
Houston Rockets  +1370
Los Angeles Clippers  +2750
Utah Jazz  +4500
Oklahoma City Thunder  +20000
Memphis Grizzlies  +45000
Portland Trailblazers  +50000

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