With the 2018-19 NBA regular season heading down the stretch run portion and teams in both conferences looking to improve their postseason seeding positions in the hopes of both, avoiding or upsetting a top title favorite early on, NBA hoops bettors everywhere need to know just which contenders, darkhorses and longshot title hopefuls could potentially surprise one or more of their higher favored teams to win it all this coming postseason.
Thanks to my expert analysis on a handful of teams that have the look of dangerous playoff participants, you’re going to have a great idea of just which teams stand the best chances of upsetting one of the top favorites to win it all this season. Let’s get started.
2019 NBA Championship Odds Favorites, Dark Horses and Potential Surprises
Two Top Contenders
Oklahoma City (38-21) ranks third in scoring (116.0 ppg) and a surprising 13th in points allowed (110.9 ppg) and they’ve got two flat-out superstars in Paul George (28.7 ppg) and Russell Westbrook (22.5 points, 11.3 rebounds, 11.0 assists). Three other players also average double digits in scoring for the Thunder, but after that, this teams gets pretty challenged as far as putting the ball in the hole. A glaring lack of quality depth looks like it will be Oklahoma City’s undoing this postseason.
I know Houston (35-25) isn’t the same team that took Golden State the distance in the Western Conference Finals a year ago, but the Rockets have the look of a dangerous team that is going to be super difficult for anyone to dispatch this postseason. James Harden is virtually unstoppable and both, Chris Paul and Clint Capela and all-star caliber performers. For me, Houston represents the biggest threat to Golden State’s dominance in the Western Conference for the second straight season.
Potential Surprise Contender!
- 2019 NBA Championship Odds: 55/1
The Nuggets (41-18) rank 13th in scoring (112.2 ppg) and seventh in points allowed (106.8 ppg) and they’ve got a legitimate superstar in versatile center Nikola Jokic (20.4 points, 7.7 assists, 10.8 rebounds) and an insane eight players that all average double digits in scoring. Denver lacks veteran leadership and experience, but that might be the only thing they’re lacking these days.
- 2019 NBA Championship Odds: 60/1
Utah (33-26) ranks a modest 20t in scoring (1101 ppg), but they’re one of the best defensive teams in the league in limiting the opposition to just 106.7 points per game to rank fourth in points allowed. While second-year shooting guard Donovan Mitchell (22.8 ppg) is undoubtedly a superstar in every way, a lack of quality scorers will almost certainly be Utah’s downfall come playoff time. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Jazz give some higher seeded team a really tough way to go this postseason – if they don’t pull off the outright upset that is.
- 2019 NBA Championship Odd: 300/1
Maybe it’s me, but I genuinely believe the Pacers (40-21) are capable of pulling off at least one big upset this coming postseason. If team leader Victor Oladipo was on court and healthy, I’d have even more belief in this underrated title hopeful. As it stands right now though, the Pacers rank 22nd in scoring (108.6 ppg) but a stellar first in points allowed (103.3 ppg). Even with Oladipo out of for the remainder of the regular season, Indy still has a whopping seven players that average double figures in scoring. The Pacers have a bunch of veteran leadership, mixed with some youth and athleticism. That makes them ‘scary’ even if they’re not quite capable of winning it all.
The Rest of the Field
- Los Angeles Lakers 60/1
- San Antonio Spurs 100/1
- Portland Trail Blazers 200/1
- Detroit Pistons 750/1
- Brooklyn Nets 850/1
- Charlotte Hornets 1000/1
- Dallas Mavericks 1000/1
- Los Angeles Clippers 1000/1
- Miami Heat 1000/1
- Minnesota Timberwolves 1000/1
- New Orleans Pelicans 1000/1
- Orlando Magic 1000/1
- Sacramento Kings 1000/1
- Washington Wizards 3000/1
- Atlanta Hawks 9999/1
- Memphis Grizzlies 9999/1