Clippers, Celtics, Warriors Start the 2022-23 NBA Season as Title Co-Favorites
The NBA regular season tips off tonight and the defending-champion Golden State Warriors are one of three co-favorites to win the 2023 NBA championship at +600 odds, along with the Boston Celtics (+600) and Los Angeles Clippers (+600).
The Celtics lost to the Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals. The Celtics enter the new season as one of the betting favorites despite losing head coach Ime Udoka to a one-year suspension for violating the team’s conduct policy.
|NBA CHAMPIONSHIP||ODDS (as of 10/18/22)|
|Golden State Warriors
|Los Angeles Clippers
|Los Angeles Lakers||+1800|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+4000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+8000|
|New York Knicks||+15000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+100000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+100000|
Only four teams in NBA history won the championship entering the season with odds greater than 15-to-1 or +1500 on the moneyline. We’ll take a quick look at this year’s contenders with odds at +1500 or better.
In case you were wondering, the Warriors were +1100 odds at the start of the 2021-22 season. The Los Angeles Lakers were the consensus favorite to win the 2022 NBA championship at +400 odds, but they did not even qualify for the playoffs after a disastrous losing season.
Sometimes it takes a team to lose in the NBA Finals and miss a title shot before they can string together a championship run in the next season. Could that be the case with the Boston Celtics this season?
Assistant coach Joe Mazzulla takes over as interim head coach, but the core team returns from last season including the Celtics’ big three consisting of forward Jayson Tatum, shooting guard Jaylen Brown, and point guard Marcus Smart. The Celtics added point guard Malcom Brogdon in the offseason to bolster their bench, which was a huge liability in last year’s NBA Finals versus the Warriors.
The Los Angeles Clippers are the darlings of Hollywood this season with oodles of drama surrounding the Lakers and Russell Westbrook.
Forward Kawhi Leonard returns from a knee injury after missing the entire 2021-22 season while recovering from ACL surgery. Guard Paul George missed significant time last season with an elbow injury, but with Leonard and George back at full strength, the Clippers are in a prime spot to make an NBA title run at +600 odds.
The Warriors seek an eight NBA championship for their franchise, and a fifth title for All-Star Steph Curry and head coach Steve Kerr. Curry previously led the Warriors to titles in 2015, 2017, and 2018.
The Warriors know that so long as the Splash Brothers — Curry and Klay Thompson — remain healthy, they’re perennial championship favorites. The Warriors recently locked up role players like Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins to long-term contract extensions to keep the Bay Area dynasty intact.
Power forward Draymond Green has a notorious reputation for getting under the skin of opponents, but he can even drive his teammates nuts. Poole and Green got involved in a spat during practice when a video surfaced of Green punching Poole. The two patched things up and want to put the violent incident in the past while they focus on winning back-to-back titles.
The Warriors are another team that the public loves to bet, so it’s not a surprise they open the season as a co-favorite at +600 odds to win consecutive championships.
Bookies minted money on futures bets on the Brooklyn Nets over the last two seasons, but the combo of forward Kevin Durant and guard Kyrie Irving never even made it to the NBA Finals in either season. This might be the last chance for the Durant/Irving tandem to provide the Nets with their first-ever championship if they can stay focused on winning and not let drama taint the locker room.
At one point this summer, Durant and Irving requested trades and it looked like the team was on the verge of imploding. The Nets were in no rush to trade either player, and luckily Durant changed his mind and cleared the air with head coach Steve Nash and team owner Joe Tsai.
Point guard Ben Simmons missed the entire second half of the season after the Philadelphia 76ers traded him to the Nets. Simmons suffered a back injury and struggled with mental health issues which prevented him from playing a single minute with the Nets last year.
The ultra-sensitive Durant, mercurial Irving, and fragile Simmons make backing the Nets a risky and unpredictable proposition at +700 odds. If Irving gets distracted by off-the-court issues, expect the Nets to move him before the trade deadline.
The Milwaukee Bucks were a knee injury away from winning back-to-back titles. If forward Khris Middleton did not injure his MCL in the opening round, the Bucks would’ve put themselves in a good position to defend their crown. Without Middleton, they were eliminated in seven games in the Eastern Conference Final by the Celtics.
The Bucks and big man Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo are on a mission to win a second title since 2021. They’ll have to start the season without Middleton, but if he’s healthy in the playoffs, the Bucks are a solid pick to win the NBA championship at +800 odds.
The Phoenix Suns lost to the Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals. They were the so-called team to beat last season and played like it during the regular season by securing the best record in the NBA with 64 wins.
The top-seeded Suns were picked off in the Western Conference semifinals by the Dallas Mavericks in a Game 7 collapse that fans are still wondering what went wrong. If the Suns can put that ugly loss behind them, drown out the Robert Sarver scandal, and preserve the health of aging point guard Chris Paul, then they’re still a legit title contender. You can back the Suns to win their first-ever title at +1200 odds.
The city of Philadelphia is buzzing right now with the Phillies reaching the NLCS, and the undefeated Eagles holding the best record in the NFL at 6-0. It’s now up for the 76ers to cobble together a championship run.
Center Joel Embiid was bitter that he lost the closest MVP race in twenty-plus years against Nikola Jokic from the Denver Nuggets. James Harden came into training camp in his best physical shape in years, and he’s clearly put aside his voracious appetite for late-night clubbing with exotic dancers in favor of trying to win a title with Embiid. The 76ers are seventh on DraftKings’ NBA futures board at +1500 odds to win the championship.
Wembanyama and Henderson Sweepstakes
NBA commissioner Adam Silver tried to install policies to deter teams from losing games on purpose, or tanking to secure a high pick in the next season’s draft. However, teams have an incentive to tank this season with the rise of Victor Wembanyama. The 7-foot-3 big man from France has drawn comparisons to Tim Duncan and Durant. He had a sensational debut on American soil during two exhibition games against NBA G League competition.
The three teams with the worst records this upcoming season have a 14% chance of securing the #1 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery, while the fourth-worst team has a 12.5% chance, and the fifth team gets a 10.5% chance.
Even if teams miss out on the Wembanyama sweepstakes, Scoot Henderson is a stellar consolation prize. If every scout wasn’t drooling over Wembanyama, then Henderson would be the coveted #1 pick. Henderson is a 6-foot-2 guard who plays for Ignite in the NBA G League. The 18-year-old prospect has drawn comparisons to Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, and Ja Morant.
Oddsmakers projected six teams are astronomical long shots at +100000 odds to winning the NBA championship this year including the San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma Thunder, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, and Houston Rockets. All six teams have incentive to finish with the three worst records this season to secure Wembanyama or Henderson in the 2023 NBA Draft.
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