The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are closing out historic NBA seasons, and they are the clear favorites to win the 2016 NBA Finals. With the playoffs fast approaching, it would be surprising to see any one of the other 14 postseason teams win the title.
On pace to break the record for most wins in a season, the Warriors are odds-on favorites to win the championship. Bovada.lv gives the defending champs -140 title odds, while the Spurs are right behind them at +300.
The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t far behind the Spurs with +400 odds, but San Antonio would be a significant favorite over LeBron James and Co. in the finals. Cleveland is a -300 favorite to win the Eastern Conference, but they would have difficulty beating the Spurs in a seven-game series.
Golden State is 67-7 with eight games left on their schedule, and they are five games ahead of San Antonio in the Western Conference standings. The two teams have split their pair of head-to-head meetings, but the Warriors have a clear advantage as the No.1 seed in the West.
Dating back to last year, the Warriors have won an NBA record 53 straight home games. Golden State is 36-0 at Oracle Arena this season, while the Spurs are 37-0 at home. San Antonio has virtually no chance to catch Golden State in the standings, and the Warriors’ extra home game in a series with the Spurs could be what gets them to the NBA Finals.
The Spurs were blown out in their one visit to Golden State this season, losing 120-90 and allowing Stephen Curry to score a game-high 37 points. When the Warriors visited San Antonio, they suffered their seventh loss of the year and were held to a season-low 79 points. The Warriors haven’t won a regular-season game in San Antonio since 1997, though they did get a win at AT&T Center in the 2013 NBA playoffs.
The two teams will meet again twice before the regular season is over, but it won’t be a preview of what is to come in the playoffs. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has already begun to rest his starters with the team essentially guaranteed to be the No.2 seed in the West, and San Antonio’s best players will likely sit against Golden State.
“I think no one will play (versus the Warriors),” point guard Tony Parker recently said on his French radio show. “To Pop, the most important thing is that the players are rested for the playoffs. As for first place, he does not care.
“For us, the end of the regular season is a good time to rest. That's why we play hard throughout the season, trying to win the most games possible, to find ourselves in this situation of 'luxury,' we are sure we will be the second seed and we can all rest before the playoffs.”
Even though Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook give the Oklahoma City Thunder perhaps two of the five best players in the NBA, the team isn’t considered to be much of a threat to make the finals. Golden State is a -175 favorite to win the West, followed by San Antonio and their +175 betting odds. The Thunder have +900 odds to reach the finals, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers at +1400.