Seems Like The Lock Remains Bolted on the Golden State Warriors

Glenn examines why the Golden State Warriors, who have the NBA’s third best record, are still the favorite to win the NBA Championship.

Despite the NBA’s third best record and a Xmas sleighing by the Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors haven’t budged off their record favorite odds on the NBA Futures board

I woke up the morning after Xmas like a kid ready to play with my new toys.  But for me, that meant a great value chance betting on the Golden State Warriors to win the 2018-19 NBA Championship at appetizing new odds. Who could deny my excitement. I had earlier witnessed a yuletide thrashing by the Lakers on "The Town" court.  Plus, a factual count racking up more total losses than were expected for almost the entire regular season.

No doubt the Warriors seem more than mortal now despite their pre-season status of being unbeatable come next June. The regular season is just a formality and all other teams are just playing for playoff seeding. Then again, you would think there might be some uneasy change in the future book odds.  But as Gomer Pyle used to say, surprise, surprise, surprise.

NBA Championship oddsNo Change in the Futures

I shouldn’t have been shocked come the next day checking the list of preferred sportsbooks and their updated numbers on NBA Futures. I have often proclaimed that many sports bettors are smarter than financial analysts forecasting the market. Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to win in the long run.  

Looking at well-known sports book Bovada, the Warriors hadn’t moved barely a dribble off their preseason mark of -150.  Over at Five Dimes no missed free throw either at -170.  BetOnline offered no shot at making a brilliant move at an unchanged -175.  Is it that no one is convinced the Warriors have a few chinks in their armor?

Smart Bettors, Smarter Bookmakers

So, what does it take to make a bettor believe Golden State is NOT invincible?

Last year only a few were fooled when Kevin Durant went down during a mid-March injury. The Warriors staff didn’t rush his return and may have potentially faked the severity of his fractured rib to promote further rest for the upcoming playoffs. This year only his traditional complaining, fights with Draymond Green and threats to leave the team next season remain a worry. But on the court, he is the best player in the NBA not named LeBron. And many will debate the potential fact Durant IS indeed the best overall player in the NBA.

Stephen Curry got hurt early in the season but seems to be on the mend. Look for him to peak into usual unstoppable shooting form during the NBA Finals. Klay Thompson can put up thirty-five to forty points at any time upon request and dish out double-digit assists. Oh, and did anyone forget, a certain monster All-Star named DeMarcus Cousins is about to make his long-awaited debut for the Warriors next week.   What was I thinking about an opportunity change in the odds?

Here’s a current look at the major contenders for the NBA Championship, courtesy of BetOnline. Unlike the competitive balance in the NFL, the NBA only has limited number of teams realistically vying for the Larry O’Brien trophy. Therefore, I deleted most others on the list for legitimate reason.

2018-19 NBA Championship Odds

Golden State Warriors         -175
Boston Celtics                   +800
Toronto Raptors                 +800
Houston Rockets              +1600
Los Angeles Lakers           +1600
Milwaukee Bucks              +1600
Oklahoma City Thunder    +2000
Denver Nuggets               +2500
Philadelphia 76ers            +2500
Indiana Pacers                 +5000
Utah Jazz                         +6600
New Orleans Pelicans        +8000

Obviously, bettors refuse to be manipulated no matter what outcome for the Warriors during the regular season. While the books try to encourage them to wager their future dollars on other NBA teams, no one seems anxious to look elsewhere. In fact, a logical argument could be made that -150 to -175 is a good price to purchase at this juncture. Should the Warriors go on a winning streak, look for the number to soar past a potential -200 or more by the opening of the playoffs.

I am no expert in this realm and don’t have all bookmaker wagering action receipts. But I want to criticize all sportsbooks for not making other NBA teams more enticing by adjusting their odds at least slightly.  For example, +1000 (10-1) to +1200 (12-1) on the Toronto Raptors would make me think about investing a portion of my future funds.  Perhaps 25% on the current NBA-best Raptors instead of all-in on the Warriors.  This is not a parimutuel pool, where a percentage take-out splits equitable balance. My hunch here is that a dis-proportioned amount of dollars has conceding the Warriors a mortal lock since last Summer. Almost a bettor’s pension plan payment for late June.

The Master Lock

It can be debated several ways why the odds involving team sports largest all-time favorite have not moved this year despite reasonable cause. I’ll go with the number seven. As in seven game series. How will it possible to win four out of seven games over the Warriors in the course of any NBA playoff series. Win one or maybe two. Check back in April for long-shot proposition odds for another team to win three out of seven head to head. But four? No way. 

As we face the upcoming end of the NFL season and a long, cold Winter, enjoy regular season NBA basketball.  The "pre-season" continues for the Golden State Warriors toward their next NBA Championship. Keep your eyes on the future boards for best value. 

I must have been dreaming Christmas Night . . .

Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at For weekly betting insights, including previews and picks from Glenn, click here.

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