Not all favorites to win the 2014 NBA Championship are going to make it out of the first round of the playoffs alive.
It happens every year. Highly touted, regular-season dominant outfits are deemed favorites, only to be prematurely ousted by lower seeds and supposedly inferior opponents.
In no particular order, if you’re going to take a longshot on the NBA futures board, then bet on these NBA playoff underdogs to go the distance.
2014 NBA Playoff Underdogs To Bet On
The Chicago Bulls are +6000 to win the 2014 NBA Championship
Joakim Noah has gone from being one of the best players in the league to freaking elite. His infectious energy and work ethic has bulled Chicago in to the playoffs as one of the top-4 teams in their conference and with Noah leading a Thibodeau defense, it’s hard to not like Chicago.
The problem for Chicago is that great scoring teams can sometimes run right past them. That’s going to happen at least a couple times in a seven game series. But choosing which NBA playoff underdogs to bet on requires a leap of faith, and considering how many odds Chicago has overcome this year to get where they are – including losing their two best players to an injury and a trade – it’s hard not to envision this team going deep in to the post season. That’s the point of a longshot bet – it defies logic. Everybody is scared to play Chicago. And they should be. You should not be scared to lay down some faith with them at 60-to-1.
The Portland Trail Blazers are +5000 to win the 2014 NBA Championship
There is a lot to like on this team. From Damian Lillard to LaMarcus Aldridge to a fantastic bench, the Blazers could be the franchise that makes “the leap” that Indiana made in last year’s playoffs. The Blazers struggled with consistency at mid-season but when you bet on these NBA playoffs underdogs to go all the way, Portland should be at the top your list out west once you get past the favorites especially after they ripped off 9 wins in their last 10 games.
One of Oklahoma City’s legs (Westbrook) is always getting hurt at the worst time, the Clippers still have to prove themselves in the postseason, Houston can’t play defense and San Antonio…well I have nothing bad to say about San Antonio. Let’s just say that when you consider the strengths and weaknesses of all the teams in the west, Portland is right in the thick of things. This is a solid team with a great number in the NBA championship futures market.
The Toronto Raptors are +9000 to win the 2014 NBA Championship
There are a ton of reasons to forget about Toronto. They’re the team in Canada, they have the league’s worst team name and they’ve never done anything meaningful in the NBA playoffs except watch Vince Carter attend his graduation ceremony at Chapel Hill. The team also has no playoff experience to speak of unless you count Tyler Hansbrough being useless in the Eastern Conference Finals last year (which you shouldn’t).
Nobody is giving Toronto a flying pig’s chance in a frozen hell.
So why should you? For fun, of course. This is a prime “nobody cares about us except us!” team.
They don’t have a lot of playoff experience on the floor, but they have Dwayne Casey who was a pivotal coaching component of the 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. He’s done a magnificent job with his lineups and cultivated reclamation projects like Patrick Patterson, Amir Johnson and Gervais Vasquez in to significant contributors. I think people also wildly underestimate how volatile the DeRezon-Lowry combination is, or how much of a pace changer Terrence Ross can be on both ends of the floor.
When you bet on the se NBA playoff underdogs before the first round starts on Saturday, keep in mind that young teams almost never win the championships without taking lumps in recent seasons beforehand. It’s basically the rule in the NBA. Can Toronto buck that trend? I have a $50 chip shot that says “maybe”.
The Brooklyn Nets are +4000 to win the 2014 NBA Championship
The team is stacked, the experience is there and the weapons are obvious. The biggest problem is that Jason Kidd is the head coach and there have been long stretches where I’ve just assumed he has no idea what the hell he’s doing. Kevin Garnett getting injured was actually the best thing that happened to Brooklyn because The Big Ticket aged in dog years between this year and last season. Now that he’s back, who knows?
The one thing we do know is that talent usually rises to the top in basketball. The success of these Nets depends on how much a true, veteran team has in the tank and ultimately if Kidd is smart enough to just get his best players on the floor and stand out of their way. I don’t love Brooklyn overall (as you can tell) but I can’t ignore that they’re a team you should consider if and when you bet on these NBA playoff underdogs.