Previewing the NBA Playoff Race

The Eagles toppled a great dynasty in Super Bowl LII and that will have NBA teams daring to dream they can pull off a similar feat this season. The Golden State Warriors are soaring towards another NBA title, as they have the best record in the league and are heavy favorites to emerge triumphant. If they pull it off, it will be their third crown in four years and right now they are in imperious form, with Steph Curry on fire. But the same was true of the Patriots and Tom Brady, but they were reined in by a gutsy performance from huge underdogs and that should provide inspiration to the NBA's chasing pack.

Of course, it is difficult to compare the two sports as the NBA Finals are decided in a best-of-seven format, where it is a lot harder to pull off a surprise victory against the odds. When the Dubs lost their crown to the Cavaliers in 2016, they responded by signing the mighty Kevin Durant and sticking him in a super team alongside Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. The result was emphatic as they demolished Cleveland in last year's Finals, and they lead the Western Conference once again this season.

YouWager will offer odds. Review them first and you will see that the Warriors are -225 to win the NBA championship this year. The Cavs are struggling this season, but LeBron James is keeping them in the picture by posting some of his best numbers in many years. Cleveland is the among the favorites at +625 and that is understandable, as it has reached the last three Finals and beat Golden State in 2016. The Cavs trail the Celtics in the East, and Boston has to be considered a contender thanks to its exceptional defense and the form of players like Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, and Jaylen Brown.

But the greatest threat of all to Golden State's crown could well come from its own conference as the Houston Rockets are now firing on all cylinders once more. "We are better than them and we have the weapons to beat them," declared Clint Capela after Houston beat the Warriors last month, going 2-1 for the season against Golden State. If Houston keeps its star players free of injury, it has a legitimate chance of winning the NBA championship this year.

The odds reflect that -- with YouWager, the Rockets have gone into +600, making them second favorites for glory this year. They enjoyed a blistering start to the season and led the Warriors atop the west for a long time, but slumped amid injuries to James Harden, Chris Paul, and Capela. That trio has a clean bill of health and Houston has gone 8-2 in its last 10 games, the best record in the league. The Rockets are gearing up for a strong finish to the season and, with the Spurs unconvincing as Kawhi Leonard continues to struggle with injury, a Conference Finals showdown between the Warriors and Rockets looks inevitable.

The Rockets would be underdogs heading into that series, but the Eagles showed that even the greatest teams can be beaten against the odds with their rousing Super Bowl victory. The NBA is an arms race nowadays and Houston was bold in responding to Golden State's super team by partnering Harden and Paul in a phenomenally talented backcourt. Harden is favorite to claim the regular season MVP award at James' expense, and he is leading his team towards potential greatness. Whoever wins the Western Conference Finals will be overwhelming favorite to go on and win the NBA Finals and that team could well be Houston if they keep key men injury-free and continue on their upward curve.

Featured Site