Why the Freak is Leading the Charge Atop the NBA Title Odds Table
By: James Tillman
For a majority of the first half of the season, the LA Clippers were the odds-on favorite to win the NBA title. Over the past several weeks, however, both the Los Angeles Lakers and the Milwaukee Bucks have been making their respective cases as to why they deserve to be mentioned in the conversation as well.
So, without further ado, here’s a look at the updated odds for each of the title contenders based on how they performed over the past week (Feb. 17 through Feb. 23)
[table id=275 /]
Third-Best NBA Title Odds: LA Clippers (+330) Last Week’s NBA Title Odds (+320)
The LA Clippers kind of limped into the All-Star break, sustaining losses against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics. Were they able to get back on track after the break? Well, not exactly. In fact, they dropped their third straight game, falling to the Sacramento Kings 112-103.
In that contest, the Clippers connected on just 39.1 percent of their overall attempts, including a 33.3 percent showing from beyond the arc. As a result, they now trail the rival Lakers by six-and-a-half games in the conference standings. Despite their recent slump, don’t count this squad out just yet.
Second-Best NBA Title Odds: Los Angeles Lakers (+300 – No Change from Last Week)
The Los Angeles Lakers entered the break on the heels of a three-game winning streak and that trend has continued over the past week. Their first outing was a home game against the up-and-coming Memphis Grizzlies. Thanks to Anthony Davis being able to shake off an early injury scare, the Lakers emerged victorious in this one 117-105. Davis notched a double-double with 28 points and 13 boards. He also proved the be the ultimate rim protector, as he turned away seven shots.
The Lakers concluded their week by getting a measure of revenge against the Boston Celtics, winning that game by a slim 114-112 margin. The Celtics beat the Lakers earlier this season to the tune of 139-107. With the pair of wins, the Lakers have won five in a row and seven of their last 10 overall.
Top NBA Title Odds: Milwaukee Bucks (+240). Last Week’s NBA Title Odds (+275)
The Milwaukee Bucks suffered a minor setback in losing to the Indiana Pacers heading into the midseason classic. But they quickly turned things around over the past week. In a road game against a Detroit Pistons squad that isn’t going anywhere, all the Bucks did was score 70 points in the first half en route to a 126-106 victory.
In a game in which they led by as many as 34 points, the outcome was never in doubt. Their next opponent was the Philadelphia 76ers in a matchup of what most people viewed as the two best teams in the Eastern Conference coming into the season. Following a half in which they led by a 56-50 margin, the Bucks broke the game open in the third quarter. With Sixers big man Joel Embiid going to the bench due to foul trouble, the Bucks outscored the Sixes 37-23, thus putting the game out of reach. In the end, the Bucks came away with ah 119-98 victory, their 16th win in their last 18 games. We know that the Bucks have proven to be a good regular-season team over the past two seasons. The true test will be how they perform in the postseason.