Clippers' odds of winning title improve

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers' impending acquisition of coach Doc Rivers in a deal with the Boston Celtics not only made the Clippers the talk of the town in Hollywood but vaulted them into championship contender status in Las Vegas.

After word spread that Rivers, pending league approval, would be going to L.A., the Clippers moved from 15-to-1 odds to win the NBA championship next season to 10-to-1, according to R.J. Bell, founder of PreGame.com.

The Clippers are only behind the Miami Heat (3-to-1) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (7-to-1) as favorites to win the title next season. The San Antonio Spurs are also 10-to-1. Bell takes a consensus of the sports books in Las Vegas for his odds.

“It’s a significant move,” Bell said. “There are only a handful of coaches in the NBA that would affect the odds to that degree, with Doc Rivers being one of them. Going from 15-to-1 to 10-to-1 is a pretty big move for a coach.”

If the Clippers were also able to land Kevin Garnett and/or Paul Pierce in addition to Rivers, they may be able to give the Thunder a run for their money as the favorites in the Western Conference to face the Heat in the Finals next season.

“If they were able to add Garnett or Pierce without giving up much, it would be significant,” Bell said. “I think Pierce is worth more than people think. He’s probably underrated. As it is, at 10-to-1, only the Heat and Thunder have clearly better odds than the Clippers.”