The NBA 2015 playoffs continue this week with four conference semifinal series in a best-of-seven format. The surprising No. 5 Washington Wizards have already grabbed the early 1-0 edge on the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks in one Eastern Conference matchup while the highly-anticipated showdown between the No. 3 Chicago Bulls and the No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers in the other series gets underway tonight.
Over in the Western Conference, the No. 1 Golden State Warriors have jumped out to a 1-0 series lead against the No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies with Game 1 of the matchup between the No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers and the No. 2 Houston Rockets on tap for Monday night as well.
To get you up to speed on the NBA futures odds as far as winning each conference as well as the 2015 title, the following is a look at the latest numbers.
Eastern Conference Futures
Cleveland has been the clear favorite to win the east ever since LeBron James decided to rejoin his old team this past NBA offseason. Nothing has really changed after its first-round four-game sweep of Boston with the Cavaliers listed as -150 favorites to win their next two series and advance on to the NBA Finals. Both James and Kyrie Irving had a highly-productive series against the Celtics, but the loss of Kevin Love for the remainder of the playoffs due to a dislocated shoulder has taken a major piece out this team’s Big 3 lineup.
The Cavaliers big obstacle to a return to the championship series should be the Bulls as +350 second-favorites to win the East. It took Chicago six games to get past the pesky Milwaukee Bucks after jumping out to a 3-0 series lead, but the Bulls did make a pretty strong statement by beating the Bucks 120-66 in that deciding Game 6 victory on the road. After dealing with injuries to quite of few of its star players, health appears to be a strong point for Chicago heading into its semifinal matchup against the Cavs.
Atlanta cruised to the No. 1 seed in the East with an overall record of 60-22, but it has struggled to play the role of the top team in this conference so far in these playoffs. The Hawks had their hands full with No. 8 Brooklyn in the opening round with a 4-2 series win, and they came out flat in Game 1 against the Wizards in a 104-98 loss at home as 5.5-point favorites. Their current betting odds to get their act together and win the East are now set at +500.
The wild card in this four-team race has to be Washington. After lacking any kind of consistency during the entire second half of the regular season, the Wizards have suddenly found their form with five straight victories in the playoffs. The first four came against No. 4 Toronto in an unexpected opening-round sweep. Their odds to stay hot all the way to the NBA Finals have been set at +600.
Western Conference Futures
Golden State was top team in the NBA all year long, and so far it has lived up to its lofty billing in these playoffs. After leading the way with a straight up record of 67-15 in the regular season, the Warriors swept No. 8 New Orleans in four games in their opening series. This past Sunday they extended their current winning streak to nine games with a 101-86 victory over the Grizzlies as 10.5-point home favorites. It is little wonder why Golden State is a heavy -275 favorite to win the West.
The second-favorite to win this conference will actually be the winner of the Los Angeles verses Houston series with both teams listed at +500. The Clippers went to the wall against San Antonio in a 4-3 opening round series win, while the Rockets made short work of Dallas in five games in their playoff opener. This series is shaping up to be another long, hard-fought battle, so you have to wonder how much either team will have left in the tank for the conference finals.
The Grizzlies looked sharp in their 4-1 series win against Portland, but they are going to have to really step up their game to have shot at taking out Golden State. Already one game in the hole, it’s easy to see why the betting odds on Memphis winning the West currently stand at +1600.
NBA Championship Futures
It appears that Cleveland and Golden State will continue on that collision course to a head-to-head matchup in this season’s NBA Finals. The Cavaliers’ odds to win a NBA title have been set at +300, and the odds that Golden State wins it all are +100.
The third-favorite on the list is Chicago at +800 with both Houston and Los Angeles set as +1000 fourth-favorites. The oddsmakers have set the betting odds at +1400 that Atlanta finds its form to win a title followed by Washington at +1600. The longest odds on the board belong to Memphis at +3300.