NBA Playoffs 2014: Updated Championship Odds for Top Contenders and Underdogs

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NBA Playoffs 2014: Updated Championship Odds for Top Contenders and Underdogs
Stacy Bengs

Three playoff spots remain up for grabs as the 2013-14 NBA season comes to a close, and the differences between the two conferences couldn't be more glaring.

The East continues to be a mess, as even Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks have worked their way back into the postseason conversation. Out West, talented teams such as the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks and even the Golden State Warriors are very much in danger of losing a spot.

Here's a look at the latest batch of odds for contenders and pretenders, followed by a breakdown of some of the bunch.

 

Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship
Team Odds
Miami Heat 2/1
San Antonio Spurs 3/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 4/1
Indiana Pacers 8/1
Los Angeles Clippers 11/1
Houston Rockets 25/1
Brooklyn Nets 40/1
Golden State Warriors 50/1
Portland Blazers 50/1
Memphis Grizzlies 75/1
Chicago Bulls 75/1
Toronto Raptors 100/1
Dallas Mavericks 130/1
Washington Wizards 150/1
Phoenix Suns 200/1
Charlotte Bobcats 250/1
Atlanta Hawks 850/1
New York Knicks 1000/1
Cleveland Cavaliers 9999/1

Vegas Insider

Note: Odds courtesy of Vegas Insider.

 

It's an even split at the top as far as odds go, but fans would be hard-pressed to figure out why.

Coming in fourth is the tumultuous Indiana Pacers, a team that can't get out of its own way as of late. As SportsCenter points out, recent games have not been kind to a team that was expected to contend:

The final score wound up being 107-88, but that marks five losses in Indiana's last six games. As ESPN's Tom Haberstroh points out, nothing in the way of betting has gone the Pacers' way this year:

Oklahoma City understands the Pacers' pain at the moment, as the Thunder have dropped two straight, the most recent being a 122-115 loss to Phoenix. Kevin Durant's 38 points simply weren't enough to hold off a hungry Suns team in the hunt for the No. 8 seed.

Bettors can rest easy and ride with the Thunder as a safe bet, though, as Durant has the tools to carry the team on his back in a series: 

But enough about the boring favorites out there. Let's take a look at some underdogs, starting with the good old Brooklyn Nets.

Not only have the Nets played themselves into the postseason thanks to a strong veteran core and just five losses since the beginning of March, Deron Williams and Co. also have a spectacular record against contenders—including the darling favored to win it all, the Miami Heat.

Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra is one aware of his team's woes against the under-the-radar Nets, per Jason Lieser of The Palm Beach Post:

Not a favorable enough payout if the Nets go all the way?

Take a gander at where the Toronto Raptors sit in the odds department at the moment—this despite sitting No. 3 overall in the East.

Toronto has also done very well against teams with better odds, including a recent win over—yes—the Pacers, despite missing two starters. As long as DeMar DeRozan continues to score at a high level and Kyle Lowry continues to dish more than seven assists per game, the Raptors can play with any team.

Things get a bit dicey as far as odds go after Toronto, but fans can be comfortable with both the risk and payoff if the Raptors get hot.

Overall, the usual suspects line the top of the odds with the playoffs on the horizon, but at least one favorite is a ticking time bomb to avoid. It seems this year more than ever is the time to roll with an underdog for massive gains.

 

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