Only four teams remain in contention to win the 2014 NBA title, as the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers were eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday night. With the conference finals set to begin, the defending champs are the overwhelming favorites to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Here's a look at the championship odds for the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Indiana Pacers.
The Heat have been given even odds to win their third straight NBA title. Not only do the Southeast Division champs have the best player in basketball, but they’ve had the easiest road to the conference finals. They lost just one playoff game, while the other three teams have lost 14 total games.
As the No.2 seed in the East, Miami won’t have home-court advantage for the rest of the postseason. However, that might not make much of a difference. When the Big Three won their first ring in 2012, they didn’t have home-court advantage in the Finals. LeBron James didn’t win the MVP award this season, but no one has performed like him in the playoffs. He hasn’t had one bad game, averaging 30 points on 56.4 percent shooting.
San Antonio Spurs
The most likely NBA Finals matchup is a rematch from a year ago. In 2013, the Spurs blew a 3-2 series lead against Miami. Now, their championship betting odds have been set at +230. They had the best regular season of any team, winning 62 games. They are guaranteed home-court advantage for the entire playoffs, and they went 32-9 at the AT&T Center in the regular season.
After needing seven games to beat the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round, the Spurs were the most dominant team in the second round. They beat the Portland Trail Blazers in five games, taking each victory by at least 15 points.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are underdogs in the Western Conference Finals, and rank third with +350 championship odds. While the Spurs are the favorites, the Thunder have proven they can beat the No.1 seed. In the regular season, they swept their four meetings with San Antonio, winning by an average of more than nine points per game.
League MVP Kevin Durant leads all players in the playoffs, scoring 31.4 points per contest. Russell Westbrook ranks third in assists, and Serge Ibaka comes in fourth with 2.23 blocks per game.
Once considered the biggest threat to Miami, Indiana is no longer viewed as a legitimate title contender. They are longshots to win title at +1000. The Pacers struggled down the stretch of the regular season, and needed seven games to beat the 38-win Hawks in the first round. They followed that up with a six-game series victory over the Washington Wizards.
The Pacers split their four-game season series with the Heat, and one of their losses came by only three points. They went .500 against the Spurs and Thunder, as well.
(All betting odds are courtesty of bovada.lv)