The Golden State Warriors have run roughshod over the rest of the NBA over the last few years, with the team clinching three of the last four championships en route to becoming the latest league dynasty. And while there are plenty of teams looking to end that dominance, the Warriors are the biggest favorites to win the NBA Finals entering the NBA Playoffs since the 1996 Chicago Bulls.
Since NBA futures odds were tracked in 1984, only the Los Angeles Lakers in 1987 (-250) and the Bulls in 1996 (-400) have been greater than a -200 favorite to win the title before the playoffs. Golden State is currently around -225 to win the championship and given that the Warriors have suffered some injuries this season, that standing is even more impressive.
Fortunately, the injury bug has not impacted the core four players of the Warriors too badly, but it has hurt their new acquisition in DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins was supposed to add another layer of offensive prowess to this Warriors team, but he hasn’t been able to do so due to the constant setbacks that he’s faced throughout the year. Even so, the Warriors have proven time and time again that any champion is going to have to go through them.
One of the latest instances of the Warriors proving that they are by far the league’s best team was their dominant win in Oklahoma City against the Thunder. Oklahoma City always has revenge on the mind when it plays the Thunder due to Golden State’s taking of Kevin Durant. But all of the motivation in the world couldn’t make one of the best teams in the Western Conference good enough to hang with a team that is clearly ready for whatever the playoffs have to throw at them.
It is fitting that the Warriors are doing something that has never been done before, revolutionizing basketball at the same time that the sports betting industry is being revolutionized as well. Just as Golden State have always been a historically big favorite with so many scoring options, the sports betting industry is experiencing growth in the number of options players have with respect to things they can wager on and ways they can fund said betting.
Years ago, you wouldn’t have been able to withdraw your gambling winnings with PayPal in some locations. But just like most teams weren’t able to win championships with three-point shooting in years past, both the Warriors and the sports betting industry have pushed the envelope to make what seemed impossible possible.
The question now for the Warriors is whether or not they will be able to finish the job as favorites once again. They are likely to face tough competition from the likes of the Milwaukee Bucks, along with the Denver Nuggets, two fresh faces to the list of title contenders. But if the Warriors even approach their best basketball in the next few months, they’ll make it four out of five titles without any sweat.