2019 NBA Championship Odds: Warriors Remain Heavy Favorites over Raptors, More

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2019

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 16:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after he made a shot against the New Orleans Pelicans at ORACLE Arena on January 16, 2019 in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Golden State Warriors have the best record in the Western Conference (31-14), have scored over 140 points in their three of their past four games, won three of the past four NBA titles and are adding center DeMarcus Cousins to the mix on Friday

So not surprisingly, they remain the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA title this season, per Bovada (via B/R Betting):

B/R Betting @br_betting

Who would you put money on? 🏆 https://t.co/5F3yHlGNv3

It's hard to pick against a team boasting five former All-NBA players and two former MVPs. But a number of teams present an interesting case nonetheless.

The Toronto Raptors have two stars in Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry and one of the best supporting casts in the NBA. Toronto's depth and Leonard's ability to take over games makes them the favorites in the Eastern Conference.

Several teams will test them, however. On paper, the Boston Celtics have the most talent in the conference, though the team is still working out the kinks. Still, Boston is loaded with Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, among others, to go along with excellent defense and head coach Brad Stevens. 

They'll likely be a team to be reckoned with in the postseason.

Don't count out Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, either. Mike Budenholzer's system perfectly complements the Greek Freak's style of play, though the team does lack a true second superstar. That could hurt them come the postseason. 

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The Philadelphia 76ers are still figuring out the dynamic between Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler, but few teams can boast a top three that talented. Most playoff teams have far better quality depth than the Sixers too, a factor they'll need to address. 

And don't sleep on the Indiana Pacers, who may lack the star power of their Eastern Conference rivals but have the depth and defense to be a nuisance come the playoffs.

Out West, the Houston Rockets have re-emerged as a threat to the Warriors, largely due to James Harden playing out of his mind over the past 20 games. The Rockets aren't as deep are defensively stout as a season ago, but Harden makes them a threat.

Ditto for LeBron James in Los Angeles. The young core around him is probably too green to make an NBA Finals run or hang with the Warriors, but any team with James will make some noise in the postseason.

Finally, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets are worth monitoring. The Thunder have star power in Russell Westbrook (even if his 22.8 percent shooting from three is astoundingly bad) and Paul George (who is playing like a legitimate MVP candidate) and play stifling defense. The Nuggets, meanwhile, have an MVP candidate of their own in Nikola Jokic and play beautiful offensive basketball. 

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