Though the NBA Finals won’t begin for almost nine months, you can already bet on which team will win it all. With the game rapidly growing in popularity and gambling laws having changed in favor of bettors, early-season curiosity about which team will come out on top has never been higher. And we’re here to give you odds and analysis for all 30 NBA teams.
Betting on the NBA champion is similar to making a single-game moneyline bet. Below, you’ll see each team’s name with a plus or minus sign next to it. If the team has a minus sign in front of its name, the number that follows indicates how much money you would have to wager to win $100. For example, the Golden State Warriors have -235 odds of winning the title – that means you would need to wager $235 to win $100 if Golden State won it all.
The plus sign, alternatively, shows how much you would win on top of a $100 bet. That applies to every team that isn’t the Warriors. For example, the Celtics have +500 odds to win the title. That means if you bet $100 on the Celtics, you’d cash out with $500 if they won the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Because picking the eventual league champ at the start of the season is incredibly difficult, any correct choice (other than Golden State, perhaps) would result in a solid profit. But there would be no bigger win than correctly predicting a championship for the Sacramento Kings, who have the longest odds at +150000.
So, which team is the best bet? Should you stick with convention and pick the Warriors, who have won the last two titles and three of the last four, or take a risk on an underdog for a bigger payout?
Here is all the information you need to place a wager on the NBA champion.
Golden State Warriors -250
Milwaukee Bucks +750
Houston Rockets +800
Toronto Raptors +1300
Boston Celtics +1500
Philadelphia 76ers +3000
Oklahoma City Thunder +4000
Denver Nuggets +4000
Utah Jazz +6000
Portland Trail Blazers +7500
Detroit Pistons +12500
San Antonio Spurs +15000
Indiana Pacers +20000
Brooklyn Nets +30000
Los Angeles Clippers +50000
Miami Heat +50000
Sacramento Kings +200000
Charlotte Hornets +250000
Orlando Magic +250000
Los Angeles Lakers +999900
Minnesota Timberwolves +999900
New Orleans Pelicans +999900
NBA Title Predictions
Eastern Conference Analysis
The Celtics are the heavy favorites in Vegas to win the East. They’re the only East team with top-four title odds. This is because Boston put together an impressive run last season, nearly dethroning LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Furthermore, the Celtics have one of the best coaches in the game, and an absolutely loaded starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. They’re not just talented – they play well together. They’ve all bought into Brad Stephens’ mission of team first.
However, do not sleep on the Toronto Raptors. Toronto has been right there for the past few years, but never could get over the LeBron hump. LeBron is out of the conference now, and Toronto has added perhaps the best player in franchise history: Kawhi Leonard, who was disgruntled in San Antonio. If Kawhi can get along with his teammates and his quadriceps is fully healed, this Raptors team could be very, very dangerous. The Raptors are a favorable bet at +1800.
Lastly, many bettors will likely consider putting money on the Philadelphia 76ers. This is because Philly has star power in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and the Sixers showed flashes of brilliance down the stretch last season. But Philly lost veteran sharpshooters Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli this offseason, and it’s still not clear whether Markelle Fultz can be on the court at the same time as Simmons and Embiid. Philly is talented, but the Sixers are a longshot, and their +1500 line is unfavorable.
In our minds, Milwaukee – led by former Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer and emerging MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo – is a better bet at +10000. The Bucks should receive addition by subtraction by moving on from Jabari Parker, who signed with the Bulls.
Western Conference Analysis
Why would you bet on anyone other than Golden State? The Warriors have come out of the West four years in a row, and they somehow got even better this offseason, adding star DeMarcus Cousins and underrated-but-important bench forward Jonas Jerebko. If someone asked you straight up, “who’s going to win the 2018-19 NBA title?” you’d be wise to say, “the Warriors.”
But this isn’t a black-and-white question. Golden State has terrible odds for a bettor at -235. You’d have to put up a lot of money to win anything respectable if you wagered on the Warriors.
Thus, you should consider some other teams. The Houston Rockets have favorable odds at +800. Though Houston this summer lost two key players in veteran perimeter defenders Luc Mbah a Moute and Trevor Ariza, the Rockets are a value bet. They have two of the best players in the conference, and Chris Paul and James Harden now have a year of playing together under their belt. Houston is hungry and, after last year’s Western Conference Finals, the Rockets know they can hang with Golden State. We recommend betting on the Rockets.
Whenever you’re talking about title bets, you have to consider whatever team LeBron James is playing for. He joined an interesting young core with the Lakers this summer, and Magic Johnson bolstered that core with the addition of veterans like Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee. The Lakers’ odds at +1300, however, aren’t favorable enough for us to like this bet.
Lastly, we recommend you consider betting on the Utah Jazz at +7000. The Jazz won three of four against Golden State in 2017-18, and Donovan Mitchell is ready to show the world he’s a bona fide star this season. Given the Jazz’s staunch defense and the coaching of Quin Snyder, we really like them at this line.
NBA Title Betting Sleepers
Though that massive payout would be nice, no NBA fan in his/her right mind is going to tell you to roll the dice on the Kings. With that being said, there are some teams with very slim odds that are decent bets.
The Cleveland Cavaliers lost the world’s best basketball talent, but considering they’ve qualified for four straight NBA Finals, it’s surprising that their odds are +50000. Right above them are the scrappy L.A. Clippers at +40000. This current Clippers roster won’t win it all, but the team is in position to make a blockbuster trade before the deadline, so betting on Doc Rivers’ squad isn’t a terrible idea.
Lastly, give some thought to the Denver Nuggets at +20000. The Nuggets could be dangerous if Paul Millsap returns to vintage form.
NBA Title History
Below is the winner and series outcome by year:
2018 – Golden State Warriors def. Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0
2017 – Golden State Warriors def. Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1
2016 – Cleveland Cavaliers def. Golden State Warriors 4-3
2015 – Golden State Warriors def. Cleveland Cavaliers 4-2
2014 – San Antonio Spurs def. Miami Heat 4-1
2013 – Miami Heat def. San Antonio Spurs 4-3
2012 – Miami Heat def. Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1
2011 – Dallas Mavericks def. Miami Heat 4-2
2010 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Boston Celtics 4-3
2009 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Orlando Magic 4-1
2008 – Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-2
2007 – San Antonio Spurs def. Cleveland Cavaliers 4-0
2006 – Miami Heat def. Dallas Mavericks 4-2
2005 – San Antonio Spurs def. Detroit Pistons 4-3
2004 – Detroit Pistons def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
2003 – San Antonio Spurs def. New Jersey Nets 4-2
2002 – Los Angeles Lakers def. New Jersey Nets 4-0
2001 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Philadelphia 76ers 4-1
2000 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Indiana Pacers 4-2
1999 – San Antonio Spurs def. New York Knicks 4-1
1998 – Chicago Bulls def. Utah Jazz 4-2
1997 – Chicago Bulls def. Utah Jazz 4-2
1996 – Chicago Bulls def. Seattle SuperSonics 4-2
1995 – Houston Rockets def. Orlando Magic 4-0
1994 – Houston Rockets def. New York Knicks 4-3
1993 – Chicago Bulls def. Phoenix Suns 4-2
1992 – Chicago Bulls def. Portland Trail Blazers 4-2
1991 – Chicago Bulls def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
1990 – Detroit Pistons def. Portland Trail Blazers 4-1
1989 – Detroit Pistons def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-0
1988 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Detroit Pistons 4-3
1987 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Boston Celtics 4-2
1986 – Boston Celtics def. Houston Rockets 4-2
1985 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Boston Celtics 4-2
1984 – Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
1983 – Philadelphia 76ers def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-0
1982 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Philadelphia 76ers 4-2
1981 – Boston Celtics def. Houston Rockets 4-2
1980 – Los Angeles Lakers def. Philadelphia 76ers 4-2
1979 – Seattle SuperSonics def. Washington Bullets 4-1
1978 – Washington Bullets def. Seattle SuperSonics 4-3
1977 – Portland Trail Blazers def. Philadelphia 76ers 4-2
1976 – Boston Celtics def. Phoenix Suns 4-2
1975 – Golden State Warriors def. Washington Bullets 4-0
1974 – Boston Celtics def. Milwaukee Bucks 4-3
1973 – New York Knicks def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
1972 – Los Angeles Lakers def. New York Knicks 4-1
1971 – Milwaukee Bucks def. Baltimore Bullets 4-0
1970 – New York Knicks def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
1969 – Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
1968 – Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-2
1967 – Philadelphia 76ers def. San Francisco Warriors 4-2
1966 – Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
1965 – Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-1
1964 – Boston Celtics def. San Francisco Warriors 4-1
1963 – Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-2
1962 – Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
1961 – Boston Celtics def. St Louis Hawks 4-1
1960 – Boston Celtics def. St Louis Hawks 4-3
1959 – Boston Celtics def. Minneapolis Lakers 4-0
1958 – St Louis Hawks def. Boston Celtics 4-2
1957 – Boston Celtics def. St Louis Hawks 4-3
1956 – Philadelphia Warriors def. Fort Wayne Pistons 4-1
1955 – Syracuse Nationals def. Fort Wayne Pistons 4-3
1954 – Minneapolis Lakers def. Syracuse Nationals 4-3
1953 – Minneapolis Lakers def. New York Knicks 4-1
1952 – Minneapolis Lakers def. New York Knicks 4-3
1951 – Rochester Royals def. New York Knicks 4-3
1950 – Minneapolis Lakers def. Syracuse Nationals 4-2
NBA Titles by Team
17 – Boston Celtics
16 – Los Angeles Lakers
6 – Chicago Bulls
6 – Golden State Warriors
5 – San Antonio Spurs
3 – Detroit Pistons
3 – Miami Heat
3 – Philadelphia 76ers
2 – Houston Rockets
2 – New York Knicks
1 – Atlanta Hawks
1 – Baltimore Bullets (defunct franchise)
1 – Cleveland Cavaliers
1 – Dallas Mavericks
1 – Milwaukee Bucks
1 – Oklahoma City Thunder (as Seattle Supersonics)
1 – Portland Trail Blazers
1 – Sacramento Kings (as Rochester Royals)
1 – Washington Wizards (as Washington Bullets)