NBA Title Odds: Oh Deer! Giannis and the Bucks are on Top
By: James Tillman
Greetings NBA fans. As we head down the home stretch, the discussion about which teams should be considered legitimate title contenders continues to heat up. Since the start of the season, the teams that have been on everyone’s radar include the Milwaukee Bucks, who could finish with the league’s best record for the second straight year.
The other two teams are none other than the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers. Did this trend continue over the past week, or did another team find its way onto this coveted list? Here’s a look at the updated Unibet odds for the teams that have the best shot at winning it all this based upon how they performed over the past week (Mar. 2 through Mar. 8).
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Third-Best NBA Title Odds: LA Clippers (+325) Last Week’s Odds (+350)
The LA Clippers came into last week riding the momentum of a four-game winning streak and that trend continued over the past seven days. They knocked off the Oklahoma City Thunder by a 109-94 margin. Then, they went on to defeat the small-ball Houston Rockets 120-105. The game of the week, however, took place on Sunday (Mar. 8). This showdown marked the third time in which the Lakers and Clippers have faced off against each other this season.
It would have been reasonable to think that the Clippers would come out on top in this one as they defeated the Lakers in the previous two meetings between these two ball clubs. However, the Lakers got a measure of revenge against the other team that also calls the Staples Center home. Thanks to solid outings by LeBron James (28 points, seven rebounds and nine assists) and Anthony Davis (30 points, eight rebounds and two assists), the Lakers edged the Clippers 112-103, snapping their six-game winning streak. Although the Clippers continue to be at the bottom of the list, they are as good as any team in the league when they’re healthy, which should be the case as the season winds down to a close.
Second-Best NBA Title Odds: Los Angeles Lakers (+280) Last Week’s Odds (+280)
Coming into last week, the Los Angeles Lakers clinched their first playoff berth since the 2012-13 campaign and that momentum translated into a few more wins over the past week. They defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 120-107. No big deal there considering that the Sixers are without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. But the Lakers flashed a little bit of their championship potential in their next two games.
They knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks 113-103. They followed that up with a much-needed win over the LA Clippers, beating them by a 112-103 margin and extending their win streak to four games. Even more important, the Lakers increased their lead over the Clippers to six-and-a-half games in the standings. Sure, the Clippers are 10-1 this season when all their players are healthy. But after knocking off the Bucks and Clippers in back-to-back games, the Lakers are showing they are a force to be reckoned with as well.
NBA Title Odds Favorite: Milwaukee Bucks (+230) Last Week’s Odds (+230)
The Bucks continue to hold down the No. 1 spot on the list, but they didn’t have a great week by any means. They began their weekly slate of games with a 105-89 loss to the Miami Heat. Miami became the first team to defeat the Bucks twice this season. The Bucks got back into the win column against the Indiana Pacers, beating them 119-100.
However, the Bucks finished their week with a hard thud as they were defeated by the Lakers 113-103 and they concluded their week with a 140-131 loss to the Phoenix Suns. To be fair, it should be noted that the Bucks were without the services of Giannis Antetokounmpo against the Suns, as he sat out due to a knee sprain he sustained against the Lakers.
The Bucks still have a comfortable lead for the top record in the NBA. But as we have seen so often though, most teams are just one injury away from having their championship hopes derailed. Let’s hope that the reigning MVP is out for just a handful of games.