With training camp set to start this week and preseason to follow soon, the NBA’s 2018-19 season is fast approaching. And after all the player movements this past summer, we expect a better, interesting and more entertaining season ahead of us.

Last season, we saw the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers play each other in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season. But that monotony will be broken this year with the transfer of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers. James’ departure from the ‘Land will give rise to a new powerhouse in the East. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ stranglehold in the West will be challenged once again by the Houston Rockets who added more firepower in Carmelo Anthony. Who will emerge in the East? Will the Dubs continue their dominance in the West? Which teams will play in the Finals? Who will be the next champs?

Who Will Be The 2019 NBA Champs?

Without further ado, we go directly to the most important question of the season: Who wins it all this year? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the 10 best odds to win the 2019 NBA Finals:

What’re the Odds?

Odds To Win The 2019 NBA Championship
Odds from Bovada as of 9/24/18
Warriors    -195
Celtics      +500
Rockets    +850
Lakers    +1000
Raptors  +1400
Sixers     +1600
Thunder  +3000
Jazz        +7500
Spurs      +8000
Bucks    +10000
Wizards +10000

No doubt the Golden State Warriors are once again favored to win the 2019 NBA championship. The question here really isn’t “why?” but a “why not?” because the Dubs have dominated the NBA since 2015. They have reached the Finals in the last four seasons, winning it all on three occasions. Not only have the Warriors kept the core of their 2015 title team, they added Kevin Durant two seasons back to win the championship in 2017 and 2018. Now they’ve added a fifth All-Star in DeMarcus Cousins for the 2019 wars and there goes your competitive balance.  Who beats a team whose starting unit is composed of five current All-Star players?

As they say though, you may have five (or more) great players in one team but there is only one ball. So no matter who they are, they must play as a team to win. Golden State has been able to do that (twice already) with Durant. It remains to be seen this season with Cousins added to their fold. But if there’s a team or two that could seriously challenge the Dubs, I think it’s the Houston Rockets and the Boston Celtics.

Houston was a game away from eliminating the Warriors last season. Had Chris Paul not been injured and had played in Game 6, there might have not been a Game 7 at all. Paul returns to Houston this season with MVP James Harden and Clint Capela. Houston lost Trevor Ariza in free agency but added Carmelo Anthony last summer. The Rockets are Golden State’s top threat in the West. If there’s a team out west that can beat the Dubs, it’s Houston.

Like the Rockets, the Boston Celtics were one game away from advancing to the 2018 NBA Finals. The Celtics went on a Cinderella ride all the way to the East Finals while playing without their two All-Star summer acquisitions in Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving throughout the entire playoffs. With Hayward and Irving back at full strength plus Boston retaining the overachieving line-up of last season, Boston is without doubt the biggest threat in the East.

Betting Prediction

When you take a look at the oddsboard, I think it’s a three way dance between the Dubs, Celtics and Rockets. I still like the Warriors overall but my darkhorse pick are the Celtics. Sure, they have yet to prove on the court what they can do with Hayward and Irving together. But I have faith in Brad Stevens. I’m predicting a Warriors vs Celtics NBA Finals. For now, I will give the edge to the Warriors. But at +500, the Celtics have value. I expect the C’s to get more expensive as the season progresses.

Prediction: Golden State -195

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Who Wins The East and West?

With the departure of LeBron James from Cleveland, there is a new beast in the east. The Cavs used to be the perennial Eastern Conference favorites but with James now strutting his stuff in Los Angeles, the Boston Celtics have emerged as the frontrunners.

What’re the Odds?

2019 Eastern Conference
Odds from Bovada as of 9/24/18
Celtics          -130
Sixers          +375
Raptors       +400
Bucks        +2000
Wizards     +2200

Betting Prediction

With Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown leading the way, Boston easily has the most talent laden roster in the East. The Sixers are ranked second with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons expected to improve further from last season but given the injury history of both, I think the Sixers are a risky bet early on. Toronto is third because of Kawhi Leonard’s presence but if you take away Leonard, that team has always choked in the playoffs. Milwaukee has the Greek Freak but I don’t think the team has added enough talent during the offseason. Washington still has one of the best backcourt duos in the league but I don’t see them getting past round two of the playoffs. The East is an easy pick to make for me but if there’s a team other than Boston whom I think can win the East, it’s Miami who is right now at a juicy +7000. The Heat had a strong run last season even without Dion Waiters. With him healthy plus Dwyane Wade back for at least a full season, I think the Heat are a dark horse in the East.

Prediction: Boston Celtics -130

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What’re the Odds?

2019 Western Conference
Odds from Bovada as of 9/24/18
Golden State Warriors     -245
Houston Rockets             +550
Los Angeles Lakers        +650
Oklahoma City Thunder +1500
Utah Jazz                         +3500

Unlike the East where there are three or four teams who have a legit chance of winning the conference, the West is obviously a two way race between the Warriors and the Rockets. The Dubs have won three out of the last four NBA Finals and have even gotten better with DeMarcus Cousins. However, some rumblings plus injuries last season forced them to settle for second place in the West to the Houston Rockets. Houston had their best regular season in franchise history last year and with the addition of Carmelo Anthony, they look to be even better. Between these two teams, I’m going with the one with the proven track record.

Betting Prediction

As for the rest of the West, well I think the Lakers are +650 are overrated. I love LeBron and he is the best basketball player in the planet but I’m not sure if Los Angeles even makes the playoffs given the quality teams in the West. The Thunder kept Paul George but lost Carmelo Anthony. Don’t forget that Russell Westbrook just underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this month. That’s not serious but it’s something worth noting given Westbrook’s usage. The Jazz? Well Donovan Mitchell had a magical season and unless he can replicate that this year, I have my reservations on this talented but inexperienced group.

Prediction: Warriors -245

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