Odds to Win 2014 NBA ChampionshipThe 2012-13 NBA season went down to the final minutes in the seventh game of the NBA Finals, resulting in a second straight NBA Championship for Miami. While the Heat are overwhelming favorites to win a third straight title, there are plenty of contenders looking to knock them from their throne. With David Stern's tenure as league commissioner coming to an end during the just-completed NBA Draft, here’s an early look at the best wagers to win the 2014 championship.
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|Oklahoma City Thunder||7-to-1|
|San Antonio Spurs||10-to-1|
|Los Angeles Clippers||14-to-1|
|New York Knicks||30-to-1|
|Golden State Warriors||35-to-1|
|Los Angeles Lakers||40-to-1|
|Portland Trail Blazers||125-to-1|
|New Orleans Pelicans||150-to-1|
INDIANA PACERS (18/1)
The Pacers came within one game of knocking off the Heat and reaching the NBA Finals, and that was without their best player, Danny Granger. His knee is expected to be fully healthy by the time training camp begins, and team president Larry Bird announced that the club has no intentions on trading the 30-year-old. The biggest offseason issue is whether or not the team can lock down star power forward David West to a contract, but GM Kevin Pritchard is confident that will happen. With Paul George emerging into a superstar, Roy Hibbert dominating the paint, and the backcourt of George Hill and Lance Stephenson showing flashes of brilliance in the 2013 playoffs, this team has all the ingredients to capture the title. At 18-to-1 odds, the Pacers represent the best value on the board.
DENVER NUGGETS (40/1)
The Western Conference team with the greatest value has to be the Nuggets, who were the No. 3 seed in the West last season, finishing just three games behind the top-seeded Thunder. Denver led the NBA in scoring (106.1 PPG) and was an outstanding 38-3 at home. The big change here is Brian Shaw taking over for George Karl as head coach, so the Nuggets might not play at the same frenetic pace they did last season. However, Danilo Gallinari should return sometime in December from his torn ACL adding to what is arguably the deepest team in the NBA. Ty Lawson and Andre Miller are the best point-guard tandem in the league and former All-Star Andre Iguodala is still playing at a high level. If the talented frontcourt duo of Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee can add more offense in the paint, this team will be hard to knock out in a playoff series.
MIAMI HEAT (13/5)
The Heat were certainly dominant during the regular season with a dozen more wins than any other team in their conference. But they certainly had their problems in the postseason, winning their final two series in grueling seven-game fashion. The biggest questions with this team are the health of Dwyane Wade's knee, and if they can get tougher in the paint after finishing last in NBA with 38.6 RPG. However, as long as LeBron James is healthy, he's clearly the best player on the planet, and underrated head coach Erik Spoelstra certainly knows what it takes to get the best out of his players, reaching the NBA Finals for three straight seasons. The small odds aren't conducive to a hefty wager, but if you're putting money down on multiple teams, you can't forget about Miami.
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (7/1)
Last year's No. 1 seed in the West really struggled when Russ