With the 2018-19 NBA regular season winding down and the start of the ensuing postseason approximately two weeks away, now is a great time to offer up some expert insight into just which teams could meet in this year’s NBA Finals. While the Eastern Conference looks like a knock-down, drag-out brawl for it all between four almost evenly matched teams, the western Conference looks like a two-team race just waiting to happen.
Now, let’s take a fun-filled look at just who could meet in this year’s NBA Finals. And be sure to check out for the latest 2019 NBA Championship odds for these predicted matchups.
2019 NBA Championship Betting Predictions for Possible Matchups
NBA championship rings over the years: pic.twitter.com/tSb21uUGrz— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) 25 de marzo de 2019
Milwaukee vs. Golden State
The Bucks (55-19) have the best record in all of basketball for a reason NBA hoops bettors. Milwaukee ranks first in scoring (117.5 ppg) points allowed (108.1 ppg). The Bucks have a flat-out superstar in do-it-all forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.4 points, 12.6 rebounds, 6.0 assists) and they have great offensive balance with six players averaging double figures in scoring. Milwaukee has both, youthful exuberance and savvy veteran leadership that could very well carry them to this year’s NBA Finals.
Regular Season Meetings
- Nov. 8 at Golden State – Milwaukee 134 Golden State 111
- Dec. 7 at Milwaukee – Golden State 105 Milwaukee 95
Opposite Milwaukee, Golden State is looking like a rock-solid pick to be one of the final two teams standing in the west. Despite their well-noted struggles this season and the fact that their defense ranks 17th in points allowed (111.7 ppg), the Dubs still rank second in scoring (117.3 ppg) and they’ve still got five all-star caliber performers, including arguably the best player in the game today (Kevin Durant) and two of the best shooters in league history in Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. These two NBA Finals favorites split their two regular season meetings with both teams winning on the road. This NBA Finals pairing is my top pick.
Philadelphia vs. Houston
Believe it or not NBA hoops bettors, this is a hypothetical NBA Finals matchup that could actually take place even if no one really predicted these two title hopefuls meeting before the start of the regular season. Philadelphia is ranked a modest 18th in points allowed, but the Sixers also rank a stellar fourth in scoring (115.1 ppg). More importantly, Philly has been transformed into a dangerous team because of the trade acquisitions of veterans, Jimmy Butler (18.8 ppg) and Tobias Harris (19.0 ppg). Now, Philadelphia’s lineup features four all-star caliber performers that also includes homegrown draft picks Joel Embiid (27.3 points, 13.7 boards) and Ben Simmons (17.1 ppg). The Sixers have a decent bench that is headed up by veterans J.J. Redick, Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic, but I’m thinking their lack of quality depth could come back to haunt them at some point.
Regular Season Meetings
- Jan. 21 at Philadelphia – Philadelphia 121 Houston 93
- March 8 at Houston – Houston 107 Philadelphia 91
For Houston, the Rockets are again the biggest threat to Golden State’s conference and league-wide supremacy and the vast majority of their success this season has been directly tied to the jaw-dropping season that reigning league MVP James Harden has had in putting up a league-high 36.4 points per game to go along with 7.5 boards and 6.4 assists per contest. Harden however, isn’t Houston’s only dangerous player as future Hall of Fame point guard Chris Paul (15.6 points, 8.2 assists), all-star center Clint Capela (16.5 points, 12.6 rebounds) and veteran shooting guard Eric Gordon (16.4 ppg) can all do damage when called upon. The Rockets rank an identical 11th in scoring (113.1 ppg) and points allowed (109.7 ppg) and they’ve got a ton of motivation to get past Golden State after going the distance in last season’s Western Conference Finals.
Toronto vs. Denver
Toronto (51-23) has split their last 10 games at the time of this writing while Denver has won seven of 10 while beating playoff participants, Boston and Indiana along the way. The Raptors rank an encouraging ninth in scoring (114.1 ppg) and an equally impressive 10th in points allowed (108.8 ppg). More importantly, Toronto has six double-digit scorers on their roster and they’ve performed equally well at home (29-9) and on the road (22-14). The Raptors have some springy youthful legs (Pascal Siakim, OG Anunoby) and sage veteran leadership (Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka) and they could very well win the Eastern Conference.
Regular Season Meetings
- Dec. 3 At Toronto – Denver 106 Toronto 103
- Dec. 16 at Denver – Denver 95 Toronto 86
Denver (49-23) ranks an uninspiring 18th in scoring (111.7 ppg), but the Nuggets are elite at the other end of the floor in limiting the opposition to 107.1 points per game to rank sixth in points allowed. Denver is led by blossoming do-it-all center Nikola Jokic (20.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists) and they’ve got a pair of outstanding, if underrated backcourt performers in Jamal Murray (17.9 ppg) and Gary Harris (13.5 ppg). The Nuggets have a veteran leader in Paul Milsap, some springy length in the frontcourt in Trey Lyles and Mason Plumlee and a mind-boggling seven players that all average double figures in scoring. While I like Toronto’s chances a lot to come out of the east, I’m going to say that Denver now is my fourth pick to come out of the west behind Golden State, Houston – and now….San Antonio.
In the end, I believe that each of the aforementioned three teams in the Eastern Conference all have nearly identical chances of winning the conference with Boston just a bit behind their conference rivals because of a lack of chemistry this season. As far as the Western Conference is concerned, it’s a two-team race for first place between Golden State and Houston.