NBA

The identity of the favorite team to win this year’s NBA Basketball Championship has been one of the hottest topics in the sport over the last few weeks. As we enter the final weeks of the 2022 season, several teams have managed to keep themselves in the running for the championship. At this stage of the tournament, every game increases the stakes over the last, which has resulted in a series of thrilling spectacles for spectators and fans as the best teams struggle to keep some skin in the game.

The Current Favorites

Last week saw the Golden State Warriors complete a comeback that they worked on fiercely during the past month. The team’s championship odds suffered a massive setback in March after a hustle play by Marcus Smart went wrong, resulting in Stephen Curry leaving the court injured. Smart went on to kick Klay Thompson in the face as he jumped to try and stop a fastbreak by the Warriors’, leading many to question Smart’s tactics.

The Phoenix Suns were firm favorites to win last week’s game against the Warriors. There is no question that both teams fought hard – a result of 125-114 tells you almost everything you need to know – but the Warriors pulled ahead on the day, sending them back to the top of the table of NBA betting odds and lines as the favorites to win this year’s Championship.

Building on their position, the Warriors won their semi-final matchup against the Denver Nuggets this week after another nail-biting game that finished on a score of 102-98. The Warrior’s next game against the Dallas Mavericks will be a substantial test for the team – Jordan Poole, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson will all need to be in their greatest ever form and keep the pressure up to maintain the Warriors’ current position.

The Challengers

The Warriors might be the top dog right now, but there are still several teams who could theoretically challenge them and steal the Championship away for themselves. Chief among these is, of course, the Phoenix Suns, who remain in contention at +325 – only a short distance away from the Warriors’ current price of +300. Many pundits would say that the Suns have put on the most convincing performance of the season, but they need to ensure a win in game six to advance to the next round.

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The Boston Celtics also should not be counted out just yet – at +400; the bookmakers still think there is a genuine chance they could halt the Warriors’ run at the season. We’ve seen the Celtic’s odds bounce around all over the place in recent weeks, as their recent performances haven’t been quite as convincing as their early-season games. The trouble for the Celtics is that they need to win their games against both the Bucks and whoever ends up coming out on top between the Heat, 76ers, and Raptors. It’s a big ask, but some believe Tatum, Brown, and Smart could still pull it off.

Speaking of Miami Heat, the bookies currently have them priced at +550 – again on last week’s price of +600 – after the team completed a 4-1 win over the Hawks this week. There has been a lot of talk about just how much better Miami has been this season over last year, and the team indeed deserves praise for putting on a convincing performance so far. Furthermore, Miami has the home advantage right through the rest of the playoffs now until the finals – assuming they last that long, of course! One of the Heat’s significant advantages is their solid defensive line-up, but they’ll need to work up a sweat at both ends of the court to catch the Warriors this year.

Finally, the Milwaukee Bucks remain in contention with a price of +750 right now. The Bucks shocked many NBA observers with their strong performance during the 2020/21 season, which saw them collect their first NBA Championship title in more than fifty years, even beating the Phoenix Suns against predictions in the finals. Several pundits believe the team still has a shot at the title this year too, and their convincing win against the Bulls has only strengthened that position recently. Some big teams are standing in their way, of course. Still, the Bucks would likely stand a much better chance if it wasn’t for the loss of star player Khris Middleton, who is now likely to be unavailable for the remainder of the season after a severe injury to his MCL.

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