The NBA All-Star Game is over and done with, which means that it’s now time to turn our attention to the homestretch in the regular season. We have seen enough at this point to know who the betting favorites are, but we always see a dark horse or two emerge once the playoffs roll around. This looks to be particularly true in the Eastern Conference, as no one team has emerged as a clear favorite to make a deep run in the postseason. While that may change in the next few weeks, it does mean that a dark horse is most likely to come out of the East. With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some NBA Championship Betting favorites, dark horses, and potential surprises on the run to the NBA Finals.
Betting Favorites, Dark Horses and Potential Surprises for the NBA Championship
NBA Championship Favorites
At this stage of the proceedings, you would have to say that the Phoenix Suns (+390) are the team to beat. That said, it is going to be interesting to see how they deal with life without Chris Paul, who is set to be out 6-8 weeks with a thumb injury. That would take them very close to the end of the regular season, and while the Suns will be in the postseason, will they still be the #1 seed in the West without him?
The next team up among the favorites is the Golden State Warriors (+420), who are currently 6 ½ games off the pace in the Western Conference. With Paul out for an extended period, this might be their opportunity to close the gap. As good as they have been, there are a couple of teams with a better conference record than the Warriors, which some might see as a problem for Golden State once we get to the playoffs.
Dark Horses and Surprises
It seems odd to have the defending NBA Champions in as a dark horse, but you do have to say that the Milwaukee Bucks (+570) have been horribly inconsistent at times this season. That said, they have all the tools to go on a run that could once again take them deep into the postseason. Realistically, they look like a good pick to come out of the East.
We head back to the Western Conference again for our next dark horse team, which is the Memphis Grizzlies (+2200). They have been on a tear of late and are tied for the most wins (28) in conference games. That alone makes them dangerous once the postseason rolls around, and at their current odds, the Grizzlies are certainly worth a look.
The Chicago Bulls (+2300) are another team to consider if you think someone can come out of the Eastern Conference and win it all. They could be especially dangerous if they are able to land the #1 seed in the East for a couple of different reasons. Their record against conference foes is very good, but they are even better at home, going 23-8 in their own building this season. Home court advantage all the way to the Finals could prove to be a huge bonus for the Bulls.