We are officially at the midway point of the 2012-2013 NBA season, so it’s time to re-evaluate the NBA futures odds and see which teams we like in the second half of the season and in the 2013 playoffs.
Miami Heat-19/10 for NBA Championship, 10/19 for East Championship
Despite not having a banner year so far, the Miami Heat are sitting pretty atop the East standings with a record of 26-12. The defending champs are still the overall favorite to repeat, but they odds favoring them seem a bit generous. Even with improved Knicks, Nets and Pacers sqauds in the East, I think it’s safe to say the Heat will come out of their own conference, but the Thunder and the Clippers (who we will get to in a second) are just plain scary good out West and could easily knock off Miami with their balanced teams. Although it’s hard to bet against LeBron, who has now shown he can play in the playoffs, I wouldn’t invest all my cash in the Heat this season. We all know how hard it is to repeat these days with so many talented and capable teams in the mix each year. The Heat have also struggled a bit on the road this season (10-9), which could become a big issue come playoff time.
Oklahoma City Thunder-7/2 for NBA, 9/5 for West
The Oklahoma City Thunder have looked spectacular so far this season, winning of 32 of their first 41 games by scoring an average of more than 105 points per contest.
This team is an improved version of a squad that went to the NBA Finals last year, so there’s no question they are the favorites to take down the West title again this year. And they’ll come into this season’s playoffs with a little more experience, so that will only benefit them going forward. I really like the Thunder for a lot of reasons and feel like they are ready to take that next step. Of course, the Clippers will give them a run for their money in the West and the Heat will still be tough to beat, but at 7/2 you have a chance to make some decent money with the Thunder as opposed to the Heat. So, for value sake I like the Thunder over the Heat and with the way they are playing, I like them to beat the Heat come playoff time anyway.
Los Angeles Clippers-5/1 for NBA, 11/4 for West
Then we have the Clippers, a team that has transformed from a pleasant surprise into a true NBA powerhouse. In 2012-2013, we have learned a few things, one of them being that the Clippers are for real.
The Clippers seem to be in the exact position the Thunder were a year ago. They have made huge strides this year and definitely have the pieces to make a serious run at the title, but the fact is, they’ve never been to an NBA Finals before, so I’m sure if they’ll be able to make that leap this year. However, based on pure talent, they are more than capable. They’ve demonstrated this time and time again, but no more so than during their incredible 17-game winning streak earlier this season.
You are getting great value here at 5/1 and 11/4 on the Clippers, but as long as the Thunder keep playing like they are playing, they will be the favorite over the Clippers in the West.