The Miami Heat are seeking their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance and third straight NBA title, but it looks like LeBron James and company are going to have a much tougher road to winning a title than they’ve had in each of the last two seasons.
Despite being the odds on favorite (+200) to win the 2014 NBA Championship, the Heat have had more than their fair share of ups and downs recently and simply don’t look nearly as powerful as they have the last two seasons.
From where I’m sitting, it looks like at least half-a-dozen teams could potentially win it all this postseason and cash in on the stunning 2014 NBA Championship Futures Odds.
Here’s A Look At Who Should You Bet On To Win The 2014 NBA Championship?
Why You Should Bet On The Miami Heat (+200) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
The Heat are favored to win it all, but I don’t believe they should be, particularly seeing how competitive the Western Conference is this season and how much they’ve struggled in recent weeks. With just one game remaining in the regular season at the time of this writing, Miami had dropped four of its last five games while recording a shocking 11-13 SU mark over its last 24 games dating back to March 4. Miami topped the century mark in just three of their wins while allowing at least 101 points in eight of their 13 losses during the stretch. I know the Heat have a bunch of experienced players, but this team can really struggle to score the ball with increasing frequency it would seem. As usual, Miami’s success likely will depend on the health of quickly-aging superstar shooting guard Dwyane Wade. If you didn’t know, no player outside of the Heat’s Big Three averages double figures.
Why You Should Bet On The Indiana Pacers (+600) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
The Pacers may have managed to nab the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but this team struggled badly down the stretch. The good news for NBA bettors that think the Pacers can advance to the Finals is that the Pacers went 2-2 SU and ATS against Miami during the regular season. At +600, the Pacers almost have to be bet on here.
Why You Should Bet On The The Brooklyn Nets (+2800) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
After underachieving for the majority of the first half of the regular season, the Nets got their act together in a ‘New York Minute’ as soon as the New Year began. KG and company have gone 33-15 since the start of 2014 and are the only team in the league not to lose to Miami this season. As ludicrous as it sounded earlier this season, the Nets could be the one team in the Eastern Conference that Miami does not have an answer for. I know one thing…at a whopping +2800, Brooklyn definitely warrants a wager here. I love the Nets’ genuine hatred for Miami – thanks to the arrivals of former Boston Celtics and bitter Heat rivals – Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Why You Should Bet On The Chicago Bulls (+4000) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
The Chicago Bulls may not have superstar former league MVP Derrick Rose suiting up for them and no, they don’t have a boatload of offensive talent on their roster. What the Bulls do have however, is a ton of fight in them – a defensive genius for a head coach and a superstar center that can make Miami pay where it’s most vulnerable – on the low block. Maybe it’s me, but I think it sure would be nice to see Chicago catch a break after losing Rose for the better part of the last two seasons.
Why You Should Bet On The Washington Wizards (+15000) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
Just stop laughing right now! I agree that the thought of Washington beating Miami in a postseason matchup – and advancing to the Finals – sounded ludicrous to me – until I looked at two important aspects of the game. First, Washington’s head-to-head record against Miami is a solid 2-2 SU and ATS – and Washington has one of the most underrated frontcourts in the league. Miami also doesn’t have anyone on its roster that can stop John Wall (19.4 ppg) and Washington’s frontcourt of Nene, Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat, Drew Gooden and even Al Harrington is pretty solid.
Why You Should Bet On The San Antonio Spurs (+300) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
I won’t waste a lot of time telling everyone a bunch of useless things they already know about the experienced Spurs, but what I will say is that if San Antonio advances to the Finals – against whomever – I like them to finish off the task they came so agonizingly close to completing a year ago when they fell to Miami in seven grueling games. Let’s be for real people and just admit that San Antonio should have beaten Miami a year ago. The aging Spurs will need to have enough gas left in their collective tanks to navigate their way through what looks like a treacherous Western Conference playoff journey, but I think we all know by now not to count out the Hall of Fame-bound trio of Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan.
Why You Should Bet On The Oklahoma City Thunder (+400) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
Oklahoma City clearly has the best scorer on the planet on its team in unstoppable forward Kevin Durant (31.9 ppg), one of the most explosive point guards ever in Russell Westbrook (21.8 ppg) and a still-blossoming power forward in Serge Ibaka (15.2 ppg, 8.7 rpg). If the addition of veteran forward and renowned locker room leader Caron ‘Tough Juice’ Butler helps this mostly young team to improve its overall mental toughness, the second-seeded Thunder could take down the Spurs out west – and whomever they meet in the Finals.
Why You Should Bet On The Los Angeles Clippers (+900) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
At a whopping +900, the Clippers have absolutely bankroll-boosting NBA Futures odds to win it all. The Clips also have one of the game’s best head coaches in Doc Rivers and two sure-fire all-stars in Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Clippers have an overabundance of brain power – unless you believe in reserve ‘head cases’ like Matt Barnes and Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis that is.
Why You Should Bet On The Houston Rockets (+2000) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
While most basketball observers know that the Houston Rockets have a bunch of talented players on its roster, not many are expecting them to advance out of the Western Conference. Nevertheless, I love the Rockets’ ability to score the ball from anywhere with their plethora of three-point shooters and ability to score inside with Dwight Howard (18.4 ppg) and the blossoming Terrence Jones. Let’s not forget, the Rockets also have one of the game’s elite scorers in shooting guard James Harden (25.4 ppg) and a top-five, do-it-all small forward in Chandler Parsons (16.6 ppg).
Why You Should Bet On The Memphis Grizzlies (+6600) To Win The 2014 NBA Championship
Last but not least, I believe the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies have a much better chance of cashing in against the 2014 NBA Championship Futures Odds than most people think. Remember, this franchise is coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance just a year ago – and they’re healthy at just the right time after losing multifaceted center Marc Gasol for a large chunk of the regular season. I’m not sure if Memphis has enough offense (again), but the fact of the matter is that Gasol and Zach Randolph are arguably the best 1-2 low post tandem in the game today.