Here’s my latest Gambling column from the San Francisco Chronicle, on odds to win the NBA title. As expected, Miami is the favorite, but Golden State has it’s best odds in more than a decade. Read it on sfgate.com using the link above or see the full text below:
Odds say NBA’s Warriors decent pick to win it all
By Michael Shapiro
It’s been “a long time” since the Golden State Warriors were predicted to win more than 50 games, says Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William Hill. But this year the over/under on the Warriors is 51.5 games, meaning that if you bet the over and the Warriors win 52 or more of their 82 regular-season games, you win.
If they stay healthy and new addition Andre Iguodala plays to his potential, the Warriors have a legitimate – if not huge – chance to go all the way, Bogdanovich says. “They’re a year older, and with Iguodala, who knows how far they could go.”
William Hill, a British gambling company, runs more than 100 sports books in Nevada and Delaware that list the Warriors at 10-1 to win the NBA title.
The favorite is the Miami Heat (11-5), but that doesn’t mean Miami is a lock. “They’re not unbeatable,” Bogdanovich said. “I don’t think you can just hand the trophy to the Heat. Lots of things have to go right for them to repeat.”
Other strong contenders include the Indiana Pacers at 8-1 and the Oklahoma City Thunder at 13-2. Bogdanovich says the Thunder could win it all if they stay healthy, but with guard Russell Westbrook’s recent knee surgery, “they’re not starting out on the right foot.”
A perennial contender that’s cost sports books a lot of money in recent years is the Los Angeles Lakers, but Bogdanovich doesn’t see them making the playoffs: “Father Time – and bad personnel decisions – caught up with them.” The Lakers are 35-1 to win the title. The other L.A. team, the Clippers, are 8-1 to win it all.
A word of advice: Futures bets should be made in small amounts for fun, as the house typically keeps about 25 percent of money wagered. If you’re serious about betting, stick with wagering on individual games, where the house take is about 5 percent.
Sports betting isn’t legal in California, but it is in Nevada; wagers can also be made online at sites based outside the United States.
One such site is Bovada.lv – its sports book manager, Kevin Bradley, noted the Warriors opened at 25-1 and have dropped to 16-1 (still better odds than Warriors futures at William Hill and elsewhere).
“We took a lot of money on the Warriors early on,” he said. But he still doesn’t consider the Warriors a top-tier team, among the likes of the Heat, Bulls and Thunder.
“Basketball isn’t often like hockey, where a sleeper team can get hot and win it all,” Bradley said. “Barring a miracle, teams like Sacramento (300-1) won’t make it.”
Michael Shapiro is a freelance writer and author of “A Sense of Place.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @shapirowrites