2009-10 NBA Finals Odds, Preview & Predictions
Last year marked the Los Angeles Lakers return to glory as they recorded their 15th NBA Championship in franchise history just two behind the all-time leading Boston Celtics at 17 in total. The Championship marked Kobe Bryant’s 4th title in his career and for Coach Phil Jackson a record 10th championship. However despite the Lakers dominance especially over the Western Conference in recent years, it was their first championship in 7 years despite 2 failed NBA Finals trips during that period. Heading into 2010, the Lakers are once again favorites to take on the hardware at +180 favorites meaning Phil Jackson will have to start finding additional hands to carry those rings. However, as the NBA proved last year the competition is fierce and there will be many fighting for similar claims including Lebron James who is in search for his first NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers who are receiving +450 odds to win it all. Take a look as we list he odds to win the 2009 NBA Fianls, breakdown each Conference and what to expect from the NBA in 2010, and ultimately giving a prediction for this year’s 2010 NBA Championship.
2009-10 Eastern Conference Preview:
Last year in the Eastern Conference the “Big 3” dominated the conference consistently battling for the best overall record in the league. Those teams were the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Orlando Magic who ended up representing the Eastern Conference in the Finals. Orlando is receiving +700 odds for 2010, but they lost Hedo Turkoglu to free agency who landed with the Toronto Raptors. Orlando will still be a force just from the presence of Dwight Howard. However, shooting guard J.J Redick should be able to provide some more help this season and the Magic also landed a proven veteran in Vince Carter. There is no reason not to expect the Magic to be a force this year as Turkoglu really did not do much during the regular season. Orlando will still be playing catch-up early in the season, but they could be a force by playoff time.
The Cavaliers added Shaquille O’Neal to the roster to help down low. O’Neal has not produced a ton of points over the past few seasons, but he could definitely contribute a lot to the defensive efforts from Cleveland. The Cavaliers were among the best defensive teams in the league last year holding opponents to just 90.4 points per game and those numbers may get even better. Of course James will be Lebron like so there is not much worry with him. James averaged just less than 30 points per game last year 2nd best in the NBA behind Dwyane Wade. The player that may make the biggest difference for Cleveland is Mo Williams. Shaq gives the presence you need down low that teams will respect, and Lebron will draw all the attention. If Williams can be the shooter they think he can be, then the Cavaliers may very well have their shot at glory this season.
The last of the “Big 3” is the Boston Celtics who are receiving solid +300 odds to win the NBA Title. There was not a ton of change in Boston outside of the signing of Rasheed Wallace. Wallace spent the last 5 years in Detroit, but will find a place in the starting rotation for the Celtics. The problem Boston had last season is that injuries plagued the team down the stretch. Garnett missed a lot of the latter part of the season and guys were consistently banged up. If not for countless Paul Pierce clutch shots, the Celtics may not have made it out of the opening round of the playoffs last year. Boston will once again own the most talented lineup in the NBA as they can get huge numbers from any of their starters. The key will be staying together and staying healthy.
A few other teams that could get into the mix this season are the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls. It has been some time since we seen the Bulls get on a level where they could be possible contenders for a championship. While that still may be a few years down the road, Chicago could make similar noise as they did in their opening round overtime thrilling playoff match-up with the Celtics. Chicago signed 2009 Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose to an extension and he should have a future in the windy city. The Bulls have the ability to contend on any given night, but possibly not the depth to contend in the long run. All in all, the Bulls are about 1 superstar away from being back in the NBA Finals contender category.
The Hawks signed rookie Jeff Teague out of Wake Forest who showed countless signs of brilliance in the college ranks. Teague should adapt well in Atlanta since they like to run a fast paced offense. Atlanta also acquired Jamal Crawford from the Knicks. Crawford averaged 20 points per contest last year and he should help make Atlanta even tougher on a nightly basis. The Hawks are sizeable +4000 underdogs, but are a team to keep on the radar with their style of play.
2009-10 Western Conference Preview:
The Lakers really controlled the West last season with just less than an .80 winning percentage. The only team that showed signs that they could slow the Lakers where the Denver Nuggets who got extremely hot on some late season runs. However, the Nuggets still dropped 3 of 4 regular season contest to the Lakers. Los Angeles also ended up taking Denver out in the Conference Finals going 4-2. In the Southwest division, things were wide open throughout the year. San Antonio ended up on the top spot and showed signs of late season magic, but they were destroyed by Dallas 4 games to 1 in the playoffs. In all reality this may be another year of wide open basketball in the Western Conference, but all will still be chasing the Lakers.
The Dallas Mavericks came on late in the year and also in the playoffs last year mainly behind Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks added some depth to the roster this season in Drew Gooden and Shawn Marion. Marion should help scoring efforts and Gooden with time will develop into a nice presence as well. Josh Howard battled injuries all last season and it is imperative that he stay healthy in terms of the Mavericks success. Dallas has the scorer’s to contend, but may still lack the down low presence needed. Erick Dampier just is not the big man in the middle you find on most championship teams.
The other contender out of the Southwest will be none other than the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs should take battle with Dallas in the southwest as Houston will likely suffer with the season long absence of Yao Ming whose career may be in jeopardy after foot surgery. However, the Spurs made some moves in the right direction. After campaigning for senior citizens benefits last year, the Spurs added youth with rookie DeJuan Blair and also added Richard Jefferson. San Antonio should be the most experience team in the league and Blair may give more help in his rookie campaign than most would expect. The Spurs should be able to contend, but we just not sold they have what it takes to return to the Finals spotlight.
Outside of the might Southwest, the Denver Nuggets have to be the team that challenges the Lakers for the top spot. Last year’s addition of Chauncey Billups proved to be astronomical for the team’s success. Of course Carmelo Anthony is the superstar, but Billups is a star as well and really gets the team to play together. If J.R Smith can have a similar season to 2009 much less improve, the Nuggets will be even better in 2010. Denver has the talent in the starting lineup to content with anyone, but this is another team that can not afford any injuries. If they stay healthy, they have every opportunity to take down the West. Denver is +1500 underdogs which is a line that may deserve a lot of attention.
The Lakers lost Trevor Ariza, but just when you think Los Angeles takes a step back they sign Ron Artest to the lineup. If you hated the Lakers before, you will hate them even more with Artest now on the roster. Like it or not, it should make Los Angeles even stronger. Kobe Bryant may just be the best player in the league and Pau Gasol has proved he is a good match with Bryant. The scary thing about this team is center Andrew Bynum is just going to get better and better. Hopefully for the rest of the league’s sake, Bynum does not have any huge breakout this season. If so call it checkmate for the defending Champions to repeat.
One final team to keep your eye on in the west includes first and foremost the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland has found their star in Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge is an equally effective helping hand. However, Portland strengthened their lineup over the off season with the additions of Andre Miller and Juwan Howard. Miller should definitely be able to help efforts and depth in the backcourt. Howard is a veteran whose performance will likely wane, but he can still provide some quality minutes. The Trail Blazers really need Greg Oden to step up and be the big inside threat. Oden is a rebounding machine, but has had trouble with injuries as well as foul trouble. If he stays healthy and stays on the court, good things will come for Portland who is receiving +1500 odds.
2009-10 NBA Finals Prediction:
If the Boston Celtics can stay healthy, their lineup is ridiculously talented. The Cavaliers may be even better this season, but the Celtics will be as well. Boston will take down the Eastern Conference and meet up with the Lakers who will again edge out Denver in the Western Conference. However the Lakers will not defend their title, as 2008 repeats itself and the Celtics will beat the Lakers 4-2 while taking home the hardware for the 18th time.
Atlanta Hawks – 40 to 1
Boston Celtics – 3 to 1
Charlotte Bobcats – 100 to 1
Chicago Bulls – 60 to 1
Cleveland Cavaliers – 9 to 2
Dallas Mavericks – 30 to 1
Denver Nuggets – 15 to 1
Detroit Pistons – 75 to 1
Golden State Warriors – 100 to 1
Houston Rockets – 50 to 1
Indiana Pacers – 100 to 1
Los Angeles Clippers – 100 to 1
Los Angeles Lakers – 7 to 4
Memphis Grizzlies – 100 to 1
Miami Heat – 40 to 1
Milwaukee Bucks – 100 to 1
Minnesota Timberwolves – 100 to 1
New Jersey Nets – 100 to 1
New Orleans Hornes – 50 to 1
New York Knicks – 100 to 1
Oklahoma City Thunder – 100 to 1
Orlando Magic – 7 to 1
Philadelphia 76ers – 75 to 1
Phoenix Suns – 70 to 1
Portland Blazers – 15 to 1
Sacramento Kings – 10 to 1
San Antonio Spurs – 7 to 1
Toronto Raptors – 100 to 1
Utah Jazz – 30 to 1
Washington Wizards – 50 to 1
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