THEY might have been on the wrong end of history when the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team to turn around a 3-1 NBA Finals deficit to beat Golden State to the title, but the Warriors have lost no friends in the punting world.
Back-to-back NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, his super splash brother Klay Thompson and proven finals performer Draymond Green have been installed as favourites to win the 2017 NBA title by the oddsmakers over at online bookie sportsbet.com.au.
Game 7 is barely over, but the bookie has already released 2017 odds, with the Warriors rated a very early $3.50 chance.
There is plenty of water to go under the bridge, with next week’s NBA Draft, trade period and free agency to be played out.
The Cavs – who became the first professional team from Cleveland to win a major sports title in 52 years – are the men most likely to challenge the Warriors again, on the second line of betting at $4.
Cleveland’s remarkable turnaround was led by their prodigal son and now all-time legend Lebron James.
3-1 down in the series, it looked like the Warriors had too much for the Cavs, just as they had 12 months earlier.
But James was not having any of it, going off for back-to-back 42 point games and then recording a huge triple double on the way to a 93-89 win over the Warriors.
James was completely unstoppable in Game 7, ripping the game away from the Warriors with a dominant 27 point, 11 rebound, 10 assist triple double, that went with three huge blocks on layups that proved the difference in the end.
Kyrie Irving capped off a fine series by coming to life in the third term and then draining the most important shot of his career – a three pointer over a desperate Curry that gave the Cavs the lead for good.
The Warriors simply had no answers, especially with Curry down on form and confidence.
The reigning NBA MVP copped his fair share of criticism, managing just 17 points on six of 19 shooting and four of 14 from down town in a close out game that he himself said called for “my best game of the year, if not my career”.
All round talent Draymond Green stepped up, draining all five of his attempts from down town in the first half to finish with a gaudy 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, but, for some reason, the Warriors stopped finding him down the stretch, even though he went 11 for 15 from the field and six for eight from the outside.
In the end, though, this was Lebron’s story, and he capped it off by being named the NBA Finals MVP, a title many believe he should have won last season in a losing effort.
Following the hysteria of Cleveland’s finals win,the bookie has obviously forgotten what Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook did to San Antonio, booking the Spurs at $7, ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder ($8).
The Big Three of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili is not getting any younger, but the bookie must believe that Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and company will reload for another tilt after they were murdered by the Thunder’s dynamic duo in the Western Conference semi finals.
No other team is in single figures for the chip.
The Los Angeles Clippers ($10) were ravaged by injury last season, but, depending on how the trade winds blow, are not without their chance, given they should have dynamic power forward Blake Griffin back for 2016, joining All NBA First team defensive tower of power DeAndre Jordan and second team point guard Chris Paul.
The improving Miami Heat ($15) might have made more noise, had star big man Chris Bosh not been ruled out of play for most of the season due to a heart condition that experts fear could have claimed his life.
It remains to be seen if the potential hall of famer ever takes to the court again, but that has not stopped sportsbet.com.au form giving it a title chance.
A young nucleus led by point guard Goran Dragic has the NBA buzzing, but there is work to be done if they are to re-sign boom centre Hassan Whiteside.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Philadelphia 76ers are a gaudy $501 and have been given no chance.
But they hold the number one draft pick and have the potential to draft a talent that could transform their organisation.
If the likes of Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram live up to the hype, maybe the $501 is worth a tiny wager.
Speaking of the draft, the the crew at CrownBet.com.au reckons the number one pick is a race in three between hot Aussie favourite Ben Simmons ($1.20), Duke forward Brandon Ingram and international hope Dragan Bender ($17). If any one else in the pool goes number one aside from those three, CrownBet will pay 30-to-1 odds.
Market: Who will win the 2017 NBA title?
Golden State Warriors ($3.50)
Cleveland Cavaliers ($4)
San Antonio Spurs ($7)
Oklahoma City Thunder ($8)
Los Angeles Clippers ($10)
Miami Heat ($15)
Boston Celtics ($18)
Toronto Raptors ($21)
Chicago Bulls ($26)
Atlanta Hawks ($26)
Memphis Grizzlies ($41)
Houston Rockets ($41)
Minnesota Timberwolves ($51)
Utah Jazz ($51)
New Orleans Pelicans ($61)
Indiana Pacers ($91)
Dallas Mavericks ($91)
Portland Trail Blazers ($126)
Detroit Pistons ($126)
Washington Wizards ($126)
Milwaukee Bucks ($126)
Charlotte Hornets ($126)
Orlando Magic ($251)
Denver Nuggets ($251)
Sacramento Kings ($251)
New York Knicks ($251)
Los Angeles Lakers ($301)
Brooklyn Nets ($501)
Phoenix Suns ($501)
Philadelphia 76ers ($501)
Odds provided by sportsbet.com.au
Market: Who will be the 2016 NBA Draft’s number one pick?
Ben Simmons ($1.20)
Brandon Ingram ($4)
Dragan Bender ($17)
Any Other Player ($31)
Odds provided by CrownBet.com.au
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